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Benji Elson, LMSW

Benji Elson, LMSW is a clinical trauma specialist with over a decade of experience in the mental health field with a focus on trauma, addiction (substance abuse and other), anxiety, depression, co-morbidity, and other psychological, personality, and behavioral issues.  As a caring professional with an extensive background in counseling, therapy, and self-transformation, Benji uses his diverse therapeutic skill set, colorful life experiences, and practice wisdom to help those who are suffering and in need.


It has been Benji’s immense privilege to devote his professional life to helping people in their times of need, a mission for which Benji has spent well over a decade training. Benji’s success as a therapist is also founded on his studies at Yeshiva University and Touro University, as well as his extensive training in various cutting-edge therapeutic clinics and agencies in both the US and Israel.


In addition, Benji's diverse and colorful life experiences - including his “going off the derech”, hanging out with the "wrong crowd", “dabbling in substances”, and just "not fitting into" the mainstream as a teenager and young adult - have given him a unique ability to understand and meet each client "where they are at" on their terms.


Benji holds an MSW from the Wurzwieler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University and is currently completing his Ph.D., researching cultural intergenerational trauma and its influence on young people’s defection from the Orthodox community (going 'O.T.D').

Benji also holds a B.A. in Psychology from Touro University where he helped found and also served as the Lead Editor for two separate Journals of Psychology (the Journal of Experimental Psychology and the Journal of Theoretical Psychology). 


Benji’s clinical therapeutic approach and practice have also been honed by his time working in various prestigious mental health clinics and organizations, which have included working as a therapist in the streets, homes, and schools of South-Central LA; managing a residential addiction treatment center in LA that utilized a holistic mind-body-and-soul approach to recovery from addiction, substance abuse, and various other psychological ailments; serving as the director of educator and trip leader for transformational expeditions into the deserts and jungles of the world that facilitated participants' encounters with themselves, others, and local indigenous communities, allowing them to encounter the beauty in their own lives, each other, and the World; and most recently, serving as the primary therapist and lead group-facilitator at Genesis, an addiction treatment center in Jerusalem. 


Yet, Benji's most profound teachers have been his clients. Each client is truly a unique world unto themselves, with their own challenges and needs, and requires an entirely individualized touch, treatment plan, and skill set. This continuously challenges Benji to learn more, understand deeper, hone his skills more sharply, and continuously strive to become a more and more skilled therapist.


Qualifications and Training:


  • Ph.D. in Social Work, Wurzweiler School of Social Work (Ongoing)

  • MSW, Wurzweiler School of Social Work

  • BA of Psychology, Touro University

  • LMSW Licensure, New York State

  • EMDR Training and Certification, EMDR Institute of Israel and Europe

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Certification

  • Substance Abuse and Treatment Course, New York

  • Psychodrama Practitioner Certification, New York

  • Crisis and Trauma Intervention Training Course, New York

  • Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner Certification, Jerusalem

  • Or HaLev: Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation Training, Israel

  • Landmark Forum Self-Development Seminar Trainings (Basic and Advanced Courses), Los Angeles       

  • Call of the Shofar Self-Transformation Seminar, New Jersey

  • Monoc EMT School (EMT-B Certification), New Jersey

Benji's Theraputic Approach

Benji's holistic therapeutic approach works with the mind, body, and soul together to bring a client back to a promotive harmonic state.  

Each person is an entire world, and so each client needs a process plan that is tailored to their unique makeup. 

To accomplish this, Benji utilizing a toolbox of diverse therapeutic models including CBT, SE (Somatic Experiencing), IFS (Internal Family Systems), EMDR, Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodrama, and NLP.


Benji's approach is also highly inspired and informed by Jewish philosophical and spiritual thought and teachings about the mind, body, and soul.

Image by Spacejoy

Benji's Past Research and Papers:

  • Cultural Intergenerational Trauma and its Influence on 3rd Generation Defection from Orthodoxy (Ph.D. Dissertation – Ongoing)

  • Current Challenges of Environmental Law, Policy, and Ethics (2020)

  • Abortion: Religious, Ethical, and Legal Concerns (2019)

  • Soloveitchik, Buber, and Rosenberg in Conversation: Communication and the Nature of Humankind (2019)

  • The Ethical Decision-Making Process: A Case Study (2019)


PAST ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE:                                                                              

  • Lead Researcher and Lead Editor for Touro University's two research Journals of Psychology:

    • The Journal of Experimental Psychology and

    • The Journal of Theoretical Psychology

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