Therapist Spotlight: Ellen Schnelle, MSW, LSW

Ellen is a psychotherapist at Wildflower. In her clinical practice, Ellen draws on psychodynamic theory, acceptance and commitment therapy, relational therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. She aims to create a safe and accepting space regardless of identity. Ellen’s clinical interests include anxiety, self-esteem and body image issues, disordered eating, life transitions, relationships, trauma and burnout. She obtained her master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Missouri. Read Ellen’s full bio here.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a psychotherapist?

When I started my social work journey I didn’t know that it would lead to becoming a psychotherapist. Through working with people and communities that challenged my own perspectives, it became clear to me how vulnerable the human experience is. Connection and community are the greatest thing we have, and I discovered that through psychotherapy, people find a deeper understanding of themselves as well as empathy for others.

As a psychotherapist, what part of your job is most satisfying?

The most satisfying part of my work with clients is when they express gratitude over feeling seen, heard, or validated for the first time. Every person is worthy and deserving of being loved and accepted as their authentic selves. I feel honored to partner with my clients, and to move at their own pace to explore life experiences.

How would you describe your therapeutic approach?

My therapeutic approach is first and foremost centered on authenticity and acceptance. It could be described as relational, strengths-based, and psychodynamic. My background in clinical social work has allowed me to understand the importance of person-centered work, and the uniqueness that comes with each individual.

Why do you believe that psychotherapy can help?

Therapy isn’t always easy; it can be tough, leaving us feeling exposed and uncertain. But through those struggles comes a chance to truly connect with ourselves and others, finding deeper layers of understanding and meaning in life.

What are some of your specialties and what drew you to them?

I find deep meaning in supporting clients facing challenges related to self-esteem, body image, and disordered eating, as well as women navigating anxiety and significant life changes. My passion for this work stems from personal experiences and interactions with clients, revealing how pervasive societal pressures, particularly those perpetuated by diet culture and media, can deeply impact individuals, especially those in larger bodies. Embracing a fat-positive approach, I aim to empower clients to engage in work that leads to embracing their bodies as they are.

What is one thing about psychotherapy you wish everyone knew?

One aspect of psychotherapy that often goes unnoticed is its capacity for both depth and lightness. While the process delves into profound and real issues, it also creates space for moments of levity and laughter, which can be equally transformative. Additionally, the connection between client and therapist is paramount, if you’re not feeling that connection, it’s okay to seek out someone who truly understands and supports you.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

“This too shall pass” Nothing is permanent. We are all forever changing, adapting, learning and growing.

What are your favorite self-care activities?

My favorite self-care activities include traveling as much as I can, taking my roommate’s dog on long walks, creating and cooking a meal for friends, and losing myself in a good book.