Get to Know Our Therapists: Ellen Stockhausen, PT, DPT, OCS
See how Luna is reimagining physical therapy with a behind-the-scenes look at our team of physical therapists.
By Lily Beltran
Where are you located?
I’m in the East Bay area, mostly working with patients in Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill.
Tell us about your personal/professional background.
I’ve been a physical therapist going on eight years now. I graduated with my husband from the University of Kentucky’s PT school back in 2011. From there, we both got outpatient orthopedic jobs and I pursued my OCS. We were feeling a bit held back by all our PT school debt, so we started traveling as a way to earn a little extra money. Travel PT has opened a lot of doors for us and given us the opportunity to earn more money, be challenged clinically in a variety of settings, and learn more about ourselves. We’ve been in the Bay Area on assignment for almost a year now. It started out as a three-month contract, but we’ve extended it two or three times since then.
What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled so far?
We spent time in Anchorage, Alaska and fell in love with it up there. We’re hoping to go back one day.
Why are you a PT? What about it inspires you?
I first became interested in physical therapy as a teenager when I got some physical therapy for a condition I had in high school. A lot of people don’t realize the power of PT, and I love spreading the message. I really enjoy teaching people to be more healthy, take care of their bodies, and heal themselves through natural means so they don’t have to rely on medication and surgery. It’s amazing to watch someone heal themselves, live more fully, and get back to participating in the things they love.
What about the greatest challenge?
Choosing the right treatments that will get you buy-in from patients. Physical therapy is a very active treatment, and you need participation for patients to reach the results they want. You could give two people with the exact same injury the same treatment plan, and the results will entirely depend on their willingness to participate.
When you aren’t helping patients, what do you like to do for fun?
My husband and I are trail runners and also run ultra marathons. I spend a lot of time running and hiking. We have two dogs, so we’re usually outside and staying active. The Bay Area is great because there are so many trails and places to go. Ridge Trail at Tilden Park is one of my favorites because you can see across the Bay once you make it to the top.
Any advice for PTs out there who might be struggling?
Try to gain experience in a variety of settings. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into orthopedics. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the full spectrum. It will give you greater insight into the full picture of where a patient is coming from and where they are in their recovery.
What’s the best aspect of being a part of the Lunaverse?
The patient population—getting to see orthopedic patients in their homes. My husband and I have both worked home health jobs before. We loved the schedule flexibility and getting to see patients in their homes, but we were typically working with an older population that wasn't as active. Luna gives us access to a younger orthopedic population. It’s a fun challenge to work with patients who have higher levels of activity.