Ilene Kastel
Pic for extended bio


Additional Educational Experience & Interests

Animal Welfare

Ilene is also a graduate of The Kerulos Center for Non-Violence where she completed an extensive internship studying Trans-Species Psychology (the science of sentience) and Animal trauma recovery. Ilene, when able to, spends time volunteering for animal welfare issues and has been lucky enough to work directly with Asian Elephants. 

Ilene conducts presentations on Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, and Coping Skills to animal organizations in need. Most notably, in 2017 Ilene provided a three part webinar series for the Global Federation for Animal Sanctuaries. GFAS is a non-profit group that provides certification for animal sanctuaries, rescue centers, and rehabilitation centers through verification and accreditation around the globe. 

Ilene is a board member, Elephant Care Unchained, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating cruelty and improving elephant welfare in their native countries. 

Additional Entrepreneurship 

Happy Daze Sports Bar, a small and enjoyable dive bar in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Ilene Kastel, M.A., LCPC, & Reiki Master

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

“My years of professional training and clinical experience as well as my life experience led me to focus Next Step Counseling, Inc specifically on working with those I can relate to and have a passion for working with, adults going through life and relationship transitions.”

Clinical Psychology and Counseling

Ilene has been conducting therapy since 2005, began her private practice in 2007 and founded Next Step Counseling, Inc in 2011. Over the years, Ilene has worked with a diverse range of adults struggling with various life and relationship challenges including depression, anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, grief and loss, relationship difficulties, and life development. She also has provided supervision and training to graduate students and evolving licensed professionals to aid in their clinical development and expertise.

Ilene’s passion and specialty niches include counseling and coaching with entrepreneurs, animal welfare workers and advocates, grief and loss and those seeking to find their life purpose. Ilene provides counseling, coaching as well as presentations to organizations and offers consultation to animal rescue centers and sanctuaries.

Ilene’s professional experience began providing supportive and effective counseling to adults at a community mental health center. Following this, Ilene gained experience providing individual and group counseling to those struggling with mood disorders, disordered eating and weight concerns while working at a high school residential boarding school, Wellsprings Academy, in California with adolescents and young adults. Here she helped clients understand their emotional triggers, develop and gain coping skills, increase self-esteem, identity development and live healthier lifestyles both physically and mentally. Through Wellsprings Academy, Ilene also assisted in the creation and implementation of the first family weight-loss summer program in Michigan and provided counseling services to parents, children and adolescents. At Argosy University, Ilene worked with graduate students in various capacities including supporting students in their graduate clinical training and aiding those that struggled with balancing school, clinical professional responsibilities and life. Ilene also has experience as a volunteer clinician in a college and graduate school counseling center assisting with various mood disorders and phase of life transitions.

Spirituality and Energy Healing

Ilene is an intuitive healer and supports clients with energetic wellness. She is an experienced manifester and a certified Reiki Master Practitioner and Teacher in Usui Reiki. She also is an Animal Reiki II Practitioner trained by the International Center for Reiki Training. Intuitive healing and Reiki Energy can be used as a complementary treatment upon clients’ requests.

Outside of Next Step Counseling, Ilene enjoys live music, sitting by the ocean, sunshine, Pilates, and living a plant based lifestyle.

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