Eliana Gil – Therapist

Eliana Gil. Ph.D. Class of 1980. California Graduate School of Psychology. Therapist.

Eliana’s family was originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador. In 1948, Eliana’s father was working in Manhattan, New York. Her mother came to visit him that same year, and Eliana was born in the Big Apple before her mother’s return trip with her to South America. It was the first of many trips back and forth. So it’s no wonder Eliana grew up bilingual and bicultural.

Since Eliana spent most of her early childhood in Ecuador, the tradition and expectation was that she would marry young and have children as most of her friends and cousins did. But growing up with two older brothers gave her a different perspective, which also may have had something to do with her return to the U.S. to attend high school.

Once Eliana experienced education in America, she was inspired and determined to further her own – but only after working as a secretary for a few years, getting married, and having children.

While juggling all of these exciting new elements of her life, Eliana found time to earn her M.A. in Psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1977. She followed that feat by earning a Ph.D. in Marital and Family Therapy in 1980 from what’s now known as the California Graduate School of Psychology – with help from a federal student loan.

For the last twenty-nine years, Eliana has dedicated her professional life to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. She is currently Director of the Abused Children’s Treatment Services at Inova Keller Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

Eliana’s motto is, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” which captures her basic belief in people’s resiliency, particularly the resiliency of children. She considers her own children to be her greatest achievement.

To this day, she treasures several original paintings from Ecuador that trigger fond memories of her own resilient childhood.