My Professional Experience
I received my Masters of Arts in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. I have been practicing as a psychotherapist since 2001 and in private practice since 2005.
As part of my practice, I supervise interns and therapists-in-training through the auspices of the California Institute of Integral Studies, Marina Counseling Center and Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center, where I also serve as the Director of Clinical Services and Programs. I participate in professional training on a continuing basis to refine my skills and knowledge as a therapist and to help ensure that I am aware of the latest developments in my field.
Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, I worked for twenty-five years with a variety of social service organizations in San Francisco, including with agencies with specialties in assisting women and persons with disabilities and chronic physical and mental illness. I also worked for more than a decade at McAuley Neuropsychiatric Institute, as a Health Educator/Client Advocate with the San Francisco Department of Mental Health and in the management of a grant sponsored by the California State Department of Mental Health that provided affordable housing and related services to persons with histories of chronic homelessness. Prior to obtaining my license as a Marriage Family Therapist, I supervised volunteer counselors at the TALKLine Family Support Center/San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center.
I work eclectically, and draw from a variety of therapeutic approaches to best meet the needs of each of my clients. I tend to resonate most closely with psychodynamic, relational, developmental, humanistic, existential and transpersonal orientations to psychotherapy, and also employ processes that focus more on somatic experience and the role of cognition and thought on psychological well-being.
I am adept at crisis-oriented and solution-focused strategies that focus on the more practical needs of persons with crises or experiencing conflicts or psychological and social stresses, however, I am most “at home” in the more intensive process of depth psychotherapy.
In addition to my experience responding to the needs of persons with histories of trauma, I gained invaluable training as a family therapist while at the TALKLine, especially with parents and families with histories of child abuse and with sons or daughters with special needs. I also have considerable experience with single-parent and blended families, and responding to situations in which there has been divorce, separation, chronic or severe illness, disability, difficulties related to education and employment, responsibilities for care-giving and questions and conflicts regarding personal identity. I also have experience working with veterans and military families through my involvement with The Coming Home Project and the Military Family Life Consultant Program.
I have a special interest in assisting adoptees and children and adults who have lost their parents in early life, and families who have experienced or are contending with the physical or mental illness of a one of their members. I have also helped many couples, some uncertain of the viability of their futures together, to begin to understand one another and their vulnerabilities as a couple, cultivate new and more compassionate ways of communicating, mediate their conflicts and develop more closeness and open-heartedness, and enjoy this process immensely.
In addition to excellent training and mentorship, involving a variety of exemplary clinicians, I have been actively engaged in my own personal growth for many years, and bring a keen and passionate interest in the processes of human learning and transformation to my personal and professional development.
As part of this ongoing process, I completed a two-year intensive study program in the supervisory process at The Psychotherapy Institute in 2014. I also participated for more than a decade in a bi-weekly consultation group with Dr. Robert Carrere, a training analyst at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC), and for five years in a weekly group consultation with Cindy Sachs, also a PINC alumni. I engage in ongoing continuing education on contemporary psychotherapeutic processes, this year focuing on training on areas such as trauma and disassociation.
Although I believe ongoing study and practice of this kind is crucial for my ongoing development as a clinician, I understand that the therapeutic endeavor is, at its heart, fundamentally a human one, created mutually by client and therapist in tandem, and that the potential of this endeavor is magnified by the capacity for genuine and empathic regard for the experience of others and a commitment to integrity, whatever our orientation.
Through my own life experiences, I have gained both a profound regard for persons who have experienced tragedy, loss or hardship and a sensitive understanding of the many challenges they may encounter in their lives. One of my strengths as a therapist is an ability to convey this respect and understanding and create an atmosphere in which even persons uncertain about or mistrustful of therapy can begin to safely explore their psychological lives. I have found that accompanying my clients in this process, and creating a reparative experience of relatedness, often provides them with a broader sense of possibility for their lives, which can be in itself tremendously healing.
I remain in awe of the reparative process that is ignited in those who sustain injuries. I am rewarded daily by the trust placed in me to witness and accompany clients on their healing paths. - Eliana Gill