Heather Benak, LICSW
“Every person has strengths and unique abilities. My aim is to help clients tap into their inner resources, learn new skills, strengthen their sense of purpose, feel more at ease in the world and build meaningful connections with others”
Background & Qualifications
Heather Benak has over 10 years of experience as a therapist treating a variety of different conditions including mood and anxiety disorders, personality disorders and behavioral issues. She also specializes in the management of stress, chronic health conditions and adjustment to life transitions.
Her approach to therapy is empathic, non-judgmental, and responsive to the unique needs of each client. Heather utilizes science-validated treatment to help clients address specific issues and alleviate symptoms. She understands the importance of consistency, confidentiality and collaboration in treatment, which will be discussed in more detail upon the first appointment.
Heather started her career at the Institute for Family Health in the Bronx, NY, a busy community health center. She received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused CBT, play therapy and family systems therapy. Heather facilitated anger management groups for adults and adolescents and ran a multiple-family therapy group (developed by NYU McSilver Institute), a pilot program aimed at children exhibiting disruptive behaviors and helping their families manage stress.
Heather continued her career as a counselor when she moved to the South Shore, at Aspire Health Alliance (formally South Shore Mental Health) for eight years. She received training from the Linehan Institute in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and was part of a DBT consultation team in Marshfield. Heather facilitated multiple skills-training groups for adults and adolescents. She taught clients and their caregivers DBT techniques to manage emotional dysregulation and to reduce ineffective, harmful, and life-threatening behavior. Heather is also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) through the EMDR International Association. She incorporates techniques such as mindfulness, grounding, and cognitive restructuring in work with her clients. She has extensive experience treating adolescents, families, adults and seniors addressing many presenting issues such as grief/loss, chronic health conditions, chronic pain, postpartum depression, academic issues, work-related issues, stress-management for caregivers and parenting concerns.
Heather received her BA in Psychology at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri (where she also received a BA in Spanish and a minor in Philosophy). She received her MSW from Columbia University, with a specialization in Health, Mental Health and Disabilities. She completed clinical internships at an elementary school and a community health clinic in NYC.
Heather believes in the importance of self-care as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys reading, cooking, swimming, cycling, travel, and spending time outdoors.