Dr. Heather Bender is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has provided child, adolescent, adult, and family therapy for over 15 years. She has a warm and empathetic therapeutic style that draws upon cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal approaches. Through her clinical work, she is dedicated to helping children and adolescents relate better with their families and feel confident in navigating the challenges of school and their communities. Dr. Bender is equally passionate about helping her adult clients achieve a healthier level of functioning through the development of self-awareness, communication skills, and stress management. Her treatment approach is flexible and takes into consideration the unique needs of each patient. Areas of expertise include:

Depression and anxiety
Family and marital relationships
Parenting support and consultation
Child and adolescent concerns such as bullying and academic stress
Adjustment to major life transitions such as divorce and bereavement

Dr. Bender grew up in Maryland and received her undergraduate degree from Haverford College. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally recognized medical center for children and young adults with neurological and developmental disorders. During this internship, she provided cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychological assessments in the inpatient medical setting. She also received specialized training in family therapy at Kennedy Krieger’s Child and Family Therapy Clinic. Subsequently, Dr. Bender completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children. Her fellowship consisted of work with children and adolescents in outpatient, inpatient psychiatric, and day treatment settings. She also served on the Consultation-Liaison Service at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and provided interventions for children in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic. Prior to opening Lantern of Hope, Dr. Bender worked in private practice at Commonwealth Counseling Associates where she provided therapy to children, adolescents, and adults. In addition, she serves as the consulting psychologist for the Cleft and Craniofacial Team at St. Mary’s Hospital.

When not at work, Dr. Bender loves spending time with her husband and two children. She also enjoys playing the piano, running, and traveling to the beach and mountains. For the past two years, she has been proud to volunteer as a coach for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization that promotes self-esteem and supportive relationships among elementary school girls.