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

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
CEO & Clinical Supervisor

“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.”

Ilene has been conducting therapy since 2005 and over the years has worked with a diverse range of young and older adults struggling with various life and relationship challenges including sadness, anxiety, self-esteem, grief and loss, relationship difficulties, life development, and weight concerns. Ilene’s professional experience began providing supportive and effective short and long term counseling to young and older adults at a community mental health center in Chicago, IL.

Following this, Ilene gained experience providing individual and group counseling to those struggling with mood disorders, disordered eating and weight 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, feel “happier” and live healthier life styles 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 placements and aiding those that struggled with balancing school duties and life. Ilene also has experience as a volunteer clinician in a college and graduate school counseling center assisting with various concerns, struggles, mood disorders and phase of life transitions.

Ilene is a certified Reiki Master Practitioner and Teacher. Reiki Energy Healing can be used as a complementary treatment upon clients’ requests.

Ilene is also a graduate of The Kerulos Center for Non-Violence where she completed an 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 is a board member of a non-profit, Elephant Care Unchained, that helps teach more cruelty-free treatment towards Asian Elephants who work/worked in the tourism industry to reduce stress and trauma symptoms in their native countries. Finally, Ilene conducts presentations on Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, and Coping to animal organizations in need. Lastly, Ilene is a co-owner of a small but very fun bar called Happy Daze in Lake Tomahawk Wisconsin.


Outside of Next Step Counseling, she enjoys live music, sitting by any body of water, being in sunshine, practicing yoga, Reiki and working out.

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