Focused on training therapists in trauma recovery, education and play therapy for children.

Starbright Training Institute in Northern Virginia runs relevant, practical and integrated training programs related to play therapy and childhood trauma.


Play Therapy

Expressive therapies allow children and adults to broaden their communication by externalizing worries and concerns through symbols and metaphors. The use of expressive approaches in therapy encourage the release of creative, resilient energy in clients, which can be a powerful agent for insight and change. When families in pain begin to play together, perceptions of each other are changed, communication is accomplished in less direct ways, and individuals experience a decrease in resistance. Through laughter and play, endorphins are released and feelings of wellbeing emerge.

More About Our Training Programs

Play Therapy Training Programs in Fairfax, Virginia


Each program led by our experienced faculty last either 1, 2 or 3 days, with each day consisting of 6 hours of learning. Cost is $150 a day.


Limited Group Size

We limit the size of each class to give you a better opportunity for experiential learning, networking and long-term learning and retention.


Experiential Participation

Each of our programs is experience-based, giving you real life opportunities to practice the principles and approaches learned in training.


Clinical Skill Building

We offer programs that emphasize conducting comprehensive assessments, focusing on children’s nonverbal communication, and designing plans to achieve therapeutic goals.

"The child's work is to gain the courage to go back to the frightening thoughts and images of the trauma and explore them in a safer environment when there is a better sense of control. The child must then gain the skills necessary to cope with what may be seen as a frightening world in which to grow up as a healthier adult."
-Karp & Butler, 1996

Explore our Programs

About Dr. Eliana Gil, Director of Starbright Institute

Dr. Eliana Gil is a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, Registered Art Therapist, and a licensed Marriage, Family, Child Counselor who received her doctorate in family therapy from the California Graduate School of Family Psychology in San Rafael, California. She has served on the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the National Resource Center on Child Sexual Abuse. She is also a former President of the Association for Play Therapy. In the last two years, Dr. Gil completed a two-year individual certification process in the Neurosequential Model of Therapy. Dr. Gil is also a Certified Parent Educator for Circle of Security ( and a Level 2 Theraplay provider (

In 2012, Dr. Gil received the Association for Play Therapy's Lifetime Achievement Award and has received honors from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children as well as the American Academy of Family Therapy.

Dr. Eliana Gil

Contact Us

Do you have a question about Starbright Training Institute or our training programs?
Give us a call or enter your information using the contact form below.


8626 Lee Highway, Suite 200 Fairfax, Virginia 22031