An Interview with Celleste Schnellbach

MAMFT Greater MN Spotlight Interview


Name: Celleste Schnellbach

Credentials: MS, Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical Trainee

Education: Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Capella University

Place of employment/What do you do?

I work at the Human Development Center in Duluth, MN. I’m a therapist at HDC working primarily with children, families, and couples. I also have a few single adults; my caseload is a healthy mix of all of the above.

Why do you do what you do?  What motivates you?

I’ve always had such a drive to help others. The ways in which I have wanted, and actually do, help others has changed over the years and right now I’m focusing on exploring this new chapter of my life where I’m no longer a student and instead am a full-time therapist.

A lot of my motivation comes from being so excited and passionate about marriage and family therapy as a field, and also from the couples and families in which I come into contact with through personal and professional means. Everyone has a family and exists in relationship(s) with others, and helping a wide variety of people through an even greater variety of challenges and celebrating triumphs over those challenges is really fulfilling. I just completed the DC0-5 training to be able to diagnose and conceptualize early childhood mental health issues, and I’m going to start working more with children ages 0-5. I’m trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) which is an evidence-based approach for treating trauma in children ages 3-18. I’m also trained in Sex Therapy for couples which is really fun, and it incorporates elements of Emotionally-Focused Therapy which couples seem to really enjoy. I have a huge interest in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, so working with parents who experience postpartum depression and anxiety is an area that I plan to continue being an active part of and I hope to help continue bringing light to these issues in the Northland part of Minnesota.


How did you get into this field?

When I started at HDC I primarily worked as an ARMHS provider and Targeted Case Manager with parents who have children under the age of five. I worked closely with therapists on our team who all contributed to my growing interest in becoming a therapist myself. The program director at the time was a LMFT, and she initially sparked my interest in choosing the MFT field over other disciplines.


What do you know now that you wish you had known as a beginning therapist?

I just graduated in March 2018, so I’m still a beginning therapist. Check back in 5 or so years… One thing I have been working on is being gentle with myself, and (repeatedly) reminding myself that I’m competent; I know a lot already; and I still have a lot more to learn. Thankfully my supervisors are good at reminding me of these things, too!


How has a client impacted you?

Helping me to remember that everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got, including myself, and that people can do better when they know more.


How do you practice self-care and keep balance in life?

Naps are key in my world. I go the gym a few times a week, play with my dogs (Calvin, Pembroke Welsh Corgi & Wrenley, Australian Shepherd), watch movies/TV shows, cleaning/organizing my home, hang out with friends and family, and try to read a book for fun every once in awhile. Having great, supportive people in my life is really important and I have date night with my guy two nights a week!


If you weren’t a therapist what would you do instead?

I’d probably be an interior designer. I wanted to be a veterinarian growing up but I’m pretty terrible at math, and chemistry is really cool but also really tough for me, so that pretty quickly rules that out as an option.


What are people surprised to learn about you?

I graduated high school in a class of 17 students in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota. Our school was in the middle of a dirt field, in between five small towns. I also have six tattoos, my nose is pierced, and my earrings are actually ½ inch plugs.


What are some of your hobbies:

Napping (ha!); shopping clearance/sales; playing board/card games; playing volleyball, softball, and basketball; listening to music and going to concerts; and searching for agates and beach glass along the shores of Lake Superior.


Favorite quote?

“No mud, no lotus.” – Thich Naht Hanh


Ultimate bucket list item?

Visiting all 7 continents- yes, even Antarctica.


Best book recommendation? 

Supernormal: The Untold Story of Resilience and Adversity by Meg Jay. The Harry Potter series is a close second.


What is your involvement with MAMFT and why do you choose to be involved?

I’ve been a member for a couple of years now. I choose to be involved to be connected with Minnesota’s MFT family, stay current on Minnesota-related news and events, and also to get access to local trainings that are offered by MAMFT. I’m also interested in being a part of the Greater MN Committee!