INDIANAPOLIS — The pandemic has given many of us the urge to get outside.
Whether it’s hiking, kayaking or just taking a walk, Kelsee Keitel, a local counselor, is taking her clients out of the office setting and helping them heal and grow in the great outdoors.
“The traditional office setting isn't optimal for everyone,” said Keitel, a licensed mental health counselor-associate. “Some people, when they're emotional, they work better with movement incorporated or just being out in the fresh air, and there's a lot of powerful work that can be done when you're standing side-by-side rather than sitting across from each other (at a) desk.”
That’s why, through her business, Hemlock Counseling Services, she offers both in-office and outdoor sessions.
“I can meet with people all throughout the Indianapolis and the greater Indy area at different parks, and so depending on your physical fitness level and your comfort in the outdoors, that could look like more of a rugged trail out in a state park or it could be something a little more casual and comfortable and paved like the Monon Trail, for example," Keitel said. "So I work together with the client to find a location that works for both of us.”
Throughout the pandemic, Keitel and others have realized the beauty of being outside and what it does for the mind.
“People really are flocking to the outdoor spaces,” Keitel said. “People are really recognizing that the outdoors are healing and it's accessible to a lot of people."
Her goal is to give her clients and others the tools to heal on their own.
“I think everyone is capable of ushering in their own healing," Keitel said. “They just sometimes need support and guidance to get started.”
Keitel has made these resources available on her podcast, Fresh Air Meditations, which has brief meditations you can work through on your own.
She also works with communities for outdoor mental health programs and will host a free hike on Nov. 7.