Kelsey Engel, Ph.D., L.P.

Therapeutic Approach

I believe that therapy is an opportunity to build a secure connection and explore new ways of being with ourselves, with others, and with our emotions. Our unique experiences and identities shape how we interact with the world, and spaces that allow us to be wholly ourselves can be rare in everyday life. Honoring that change begins with a non-judgmental and accepting connection, I work to create a space where individuals feel safe to express themselves authentically, deepen their emotion and understanding, and have new experiences.

Clients will find that I am eager and curious to get to know them fully, and that I value warmth, creativity, humor, and genuineness. I take a strengths-based approach focused on processing emotions and practicing skills related to acceptance, connection, and self-compassion. In session, I “zoom in” with clients to process and honor how they feel in the here-and-now with me, and also ”zoom out” to explore familial and cultural influences and the complexity of important past experiences. My therapeutic style is guided by interpersonal process, acceptance and commitment, relational-cultural, and dynamic therapies.

I celebrate your willingness to consider psychotherapy – what a big step! Change is inherently vulnerable, and therapy is a unique, often unfamiliar, experience. I care deeply about meeting individuals where they are at in their process of change. I see my role as a therapist as a partner and guide in empowering each person I work with to feel more capable of approaching life’s challenges until they feel ready to continue the rest of their journey on their own.

Clinical Areas of Interest

My training is as a generalist. I enjoy supporting individuals across a variety of concerns, including: anxiety; depression; body image and eating concerns; identity exploration; perfectionism; anger and irritability; and, work or school stress. I am particularly passionate about treating individuals with relationship concerns, shame and self-criticism, and trauma recovery.

Professional Biography

I am a Licensed Psychologist and Health Service Provider in the state of Iowa. I was born and raised in northern Minnesota and earned Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and English Literature from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I moved to Iowa in 2015 to attend graduate school and have practiced as a therapist in central Iowa since then, primarily in university and private practice settings.

I received my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Iowa State University (ISU). While at ISU, I provided individual, career, and group counseling and outreach programming at Student Counseling Services and with the Psychology Department. I also completed my predoctoral psychology internship at ISU’s Student Counseling Services, with an emphasis on trauma recovery, disordered eating, couples counseling, and supervision and training. I completed my post-doctoral training at Central Iowa Psychological Services in West Des Moines, IA, where I received training in psychological assessment and provided therapeutic and assessment services to individuals of all ages with emotional and trauma-based disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and learning disorders.

Personal Hobbies

My hobbies include listening to true-crime podcasts, taking pictures of my cat (Hemingway), and getting third place at trivia each week. I also love video games and going to the movies. Traveling is such a gift and my partner and I try to visit a new city each year. Last year we visited Las Vegas, and next we hope to visit Portland and the Florida Keys!

3510 Lincoln Way, Suite 300, Ames, IA 50014 | Phone: (515) 292-9251 | Fax: (844) 895-6179 |