SonalSonal Patel has always had a passion to work with children. “I was naturally caring and empathetic and wanted to somehow be involved with promoting healthy lives for children. I always knew I wanted to work with kids.”


With a specialization in infancy and early childhood, it was a natural fit for Sonal to come to SCAN. She joined SCAN’s Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in November of 2014 as a Mental Health Therapist, and works with children from age 3 to 18. Although she mainly works with children, she occasionally works with adults and strongly believes in family therapy.


“We offer parent support groups and family therapy to help parents deal with the process they are going through. They often have a history of abuse and family therapy can help promote recovery and healing.” said Sonal.


Sonal is from Richmond, but has spent the last 9 years in Northern Virginia.  She worked on the Fairfax Community Services Board for Youth and Family Community Mental Health. She was on a multidisciplinary team that collaborates with the juvenile court system, schools, and the Department of Social Services.


In 2013 Sonal spent a year training with Dr. Eliana Gil in childhood trauma recovery. Play therapy is integral in her work, using art, play and sand therapy along with other evidence based techniques. These beliefs are in line with the work at the CAC, and made the transition easy for Sonal.


Sonal’s goal was to work with families and children within the community, gaining her graduate degree in Clinical Psychology from Missouri State, and a graduate degree from Virginia Tech for Marriage and Family Therapy. In her work at the CAC, Sonal meets with children and families after forensic interviews to assess what the child needs, history of abuse, and then offers appropriate outpatient services. The CAC has served 275 children so far this fiscal year.


“The Child Advocacy Center provides a safe place for children and families to heal while promoting trauma informed recovery.” said Sonal.

For more information on resources and tools for Trauma Informed Care, click here to watch informational videos featuring SCAN staff members.


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