AASECT New Member Spotlight - Ellie Ganzerla Wells
New AASECT Member, Ellie Ganzerla Wells, answers a few questions for the New Member Spotlight:
1.Can you give me a quick rundown of what keeps you busiest these days?
I am currently a full-time graduate student in the Couples and Family Therapy program at Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. Along with school, I am currently fulfilling my training hours as a MFT trainee at The Center for Mindful Relationships. The Center for Mindful Relationships (CFMR) is a private practice owned by two incredible licensed therapists, Laura and Daniel Carr. I am also facilitating group therapy at a local high school with at-risk youth ages 16-19 and I love it!
2.Why was it important for you to become an AASECT member?
The field of human sexuality is constantly evolving with an extensive amount of new and upcoming research. Becoming a member of AASECT was important to me because I feel my responsibility as a therapist in training is to remain informed and seek education regarding all aspects of human sexuality.
3.What are your main areas of interest within the field?
Overall human sexuality with individuals & couples, LGBTQ+ population, unconventional marriages & romantic relationships, gender identity, sexual identity issues, and at-risk youth.
4.What obstacles have you faced over the years, and how did you overcome them?
Having the confidence to apply for graduate school, getting into a school, and balancing school and personal life has been an obstacle in itself. Over the years I’ve learned helpful time management skills and the importance of self-care :)
5.What has been the most exciting project you've worked on, and why?
The most exciting project I’ve worked on was creating an event in my undergraduate program called Men Against Violence. The event highlighted issues surrounding sexual violence awareness and prevention such as the effects of sexual assault on victims, how rape myths help entrench the cycle of violence, and the issues behind masculinity being tied to sexual assault. The event was created for the men on campus to create a safe place for sexual assault awareness that institutionally very few spheres exist for men to understand the complexities of this issue.
6.What has been the most challenging project you've worked on, and why? What helped you get through it?
The most challenging project I’ve worked on was creating an 8-10 week group therapy curriculum for LGBTQ+ adolescents. With the unique challenges that this population directly encounters, the purpose of this group was aimed to achieve measurable goals towards decreasing suicidality, increasing positive coping skills, and developing a strong identity formation and identity synthesis. This was incredibly challenging because it was the first time I had to create a group curriculum, with an outcome that showed an improvement in measurable goals. I found that my passion for this population helped drive me to invest an excessive amount of time and energy thoroughly researching effective interventions.
7.Where do you see your career five years, or even 10 years, from now?
In 5-10 years from now, I see myself hopefully owning a private practice!