My name is Elena Solano Bennett and I live and work in Austin, Texas as a psychotherapist in private practice. Feel free to call me Elena.
I practice psychotherapy with training and experience in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Modern Psychoanalytic Theory, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) and Somatic Experiencing integration techniques. While therapy is tailored to each individual client, these are the main guiding principles under which I practice.
I work with individuals, families, couples and groups toward connection, communication, growth and healing.
CLINICAL TRAINING & EXPERIENCE
Since graduating from the University of Texas at Austin's Master of Science in Social Work program, I have worked as a staff psychotherapist and began my post-graduate work at Sol Associates, PLLC in 2011. I opened the doors to my private practice, formally known as the Psychotherapy Practice of Elena Solano Bennett, PLLC, in July 2014.
During my time at UT Austin as a graduate student, my academic training focused on trauma, grief and loss, neurobiology and attachment, social and political oppression, and evidence-based treatment modalities in psychotherapy.
Since becoming a practicing therapist, I strive to educate myself continually about new and emerging treatment options. Below are some of the areas in which I feel competent, experienced, and knowledgeable:
TRANSITIONS & ADJUSTMENTS
going to college
adjusting to young adulthood
depression, anxiety, insomnia
FAMILY OF ORIGIN STRUGGLES
healing from childhood wounds associated with abuse, neglect, or substance use in family of origin
re-parenting & restructuring toward specific wants, needs & challenges
uncovering hereditary depression, anxiety & mental illness along with ingrained beliefs about the self that stand between you and your desires
supportive counseling for adult children of abuse & adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) and those struggling to manage relationship and boundaries with loved ones
GENDER IDENTITY & SEXUAL ORIENTATION
I work to facilitate and create safety around all sexual and gender identities and examine the impact of our culture's portrayal of "traditional" masculine and feminine expressions of sexuality and sexual orientation; learning coping strategies and self-esteem enhancing techniques; cisgender ally to the LGBTQIAP+ community.
Many of us struggle to express our feelings and needs in relationships. In addition to the enormous difficulties we all face in vulnerably opening our hearts and minds to another person, we now manage the complexity of online dating, texting, social media, and the pressures of being in constant yet distant contact with potential romantic partners.
Whether you are in a committed relationship looking for greater fulfillment or searching for a partner, I offer supportive coaching and direction toward love, connection and more fulfilling relationships.
SELF-EXPLORATION & SELF-AWARENESS
Self-exploration refers to the process of learning about yourself, the people around you, and the choices you make without judgment, shame, or abandonment.
THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF SHAME, ANXIETY, AND POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS/TRAUMA
recognizing interpersonal relationship patterns, fears, and disconnections that stem from traumatic incidents
psychoeducation about trauma & mind-body connection of symptomology (i.e. panic attacks, panic disorder, depression, anxiety, insomnia)
RAISING HEALTHY CHILDREN & SURVIVING PARENTHOOD
defining and setting appropriate boundaries between parents and children
addressing children's emotional needs
providing structure for children & adolescents
RACISM, SEXISM, HOMOPHOBIA, misogyny & OTHER DISCRIMINATION
I have a strong background in advocacy for social justice and equality and an understanding of power and privilege in society and therapy. I am trained in the Relational-Cultural Model to validate and explore the suffering of oppressed people, to ally toward healing, and to understand every person's unique experience with oppression.
HIgh sensitivity, empathic burnout & other challenges associated with being human
Bring on your weirdness, your individuality and what others may have labeled “crazy” or impossible. Because of our primitive need to belong, many of us feel devalued by our surrounding culture and our loved ones because of our unique way of being in the world. We do not have to be the same to understand and love one another. My goal is to help people fully own who they are, imperfections and all, so that we can change what we want to change, accept what needs accepting and keep our true selves in the process.
What is an LCSW?
As you may have noticed, there are many different credentials under which a licensed practitioner may practice psychotherapy. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and social workers in our state are regulated by the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE). The TSBSWE is a state agency which is administratively attached to the Department of State Health Services.