About

Our Story

Your Journey to a Fulfilling Life

Kelly and Michele have combined their unique knowledge and expertise to bring you a one-of-a-kind path to health and healing: Wellness Outside the Box.

About

Our Story

Our Story

Kelly and Michele have combined their unique knowledge and expertise to bring you a one-of-a-kind path to health and healing: Wellness Outside the Box.

Dr. Michele Kinderman

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Michele had left a hospital-based system where her attempts at improved patient care and staff safety were consistently thwarted by organizational restrictions and budgetary constraints. She returned to her work conducting therapy with physically ill and disabled residents in long-term care facilities only to realize a year later, “I was feeling depressed, ineffective, and all around miserable. I constantly felt like my wings were tied. Then I got the text from Kelly, the text that would not only change my life but would lead to a potential revolution in the world of psychotherapy.”

Dr. Kelly Yanek

Certified School Psychologist

“I was exhausted with red tape and menial tasks that felt meaningless. I spent my days putting out fires and managing endless complaints from teachers, parents, students, and administrators. How could a school psychologist career result in pushing papers and arranging transportation? I felt let down. I was hoping to be a changemaker. I wanted to help make the world a better place. I wanted to impact the lives of children.”


From corporate restrictions to leading a revolution
:
the incredible journey of two visionary therapists

When Dr. Kelly Yanek and Dr. Michele Kinderman established Wellness Outside the Box – Therapy Redefined, they weren’t setting out to revolutionize the mental health industry. They were simply frustrated with school and corporate settings that restricted their ability to truly connect with clients and provide life-changing care.

Kelly, a certified school psychologist, recalls: “I was exhausted with red tape and menial tasks that felt meaningless. I spent my days putting out fires and managing endless complaints from teachers, parents, students, and administrators. How could a school psychologist career result in pushing papers and arranging transportation? I felt let down. I was hoping to be a changemaker. I wanted to help make the world a better place. I wanted to impact the lives of children.”

Meanwhile, Michele, a licensed clinical psychologist, had left a hospital-based system where her attempts at improved patient care and staff safety were consistently thwarted by organizational restrictions and budgetary constraints. She returned to her work conducting therapy with physically ill and disabled residents in long-term care facilities only to realize a year later, “I was feeling depressed, ineffective, and all around miserable. I constantly felt like my wings were tied. Then I got the text from Kelly, the text that would not only change my life but would lead to a potential revolution in the world of psychotherapy.”

The revolution would come with their Dual Therapist Model, in which they see an individual client, couple, or family together, combining their respective skill sets in a collaborative treatment environment. Their innovative approach enables them to model communication, humor, connectedness, trust, and genuineness as they work as a team toward emotional health.

The Dual Therapist Model’s built-in support system for therapists prevents burnout, which has been tearing through the mental health industry since the pandemic. The DTM puts a premium on spending time outdoors, having fun at work, and playing to the strengths of your partner.

While not exactly part of their initial business plan, the Dual Therapist Model was a natural extension of Wellness Outside the Box, a nature-based operation Kelly and Michele began in 2019 with hiking trails, ropes courses, rock climbing, and a fire pit. The business, in turn, was a natural extension of Kelly and Michele, who met about 10 years earlier when their sons were in daycare together. With similar interests, not to mention busy husbands and wicked senses of humor in common, they had become fast friends.

Kelly, who has specialized training in adventure-based counseling and the technical skills of high and low ropes/adventure courses, also is a certified RYT-200 yoga instructor. Michele combines more traditional therapies with music, movement, and nature and enjoys rock climbing, high and low ropes courses, dancing, and mindful hiking.

Together, they planned outdoor retreats, workshops, and yoga classes, harnessing the healing power of nature. The timing seemed perfect — until COVID-19 hit, and group activities were no longer realistic.

So when a client asked if Wellness Outside the Box offered individual therapy, the doctors agreed to counsel her together, outdoors, and the Dual Therapist Model was born. Since then, they’ve refined their innovative approach, and through word of mouth, their practice grew. They have recently completed curriculum to train other professionals for certification to practice the Dual Therapist Model. The doctors have found that the DTM shortens treatment times, as rapport is built faster than with traditional therapeutic models, and the two comprehensive sets of skills push treatment along at a more rapid pace.

The doctors still see clients outdoors, but now have a home base in Princeton, New Jersey, with 20 bucolic acres that feature a historic farmhouse, a rustic cottage, pastures, and farm animals. Sessions might include a walk with clients along hiking trails or down to the barn to feed apples to Twerp the horse. Kelly and Michele can sometimes be found by the pond catching up on paperwork or doing yoga under a tree.

Those relationships with nature and each other also demonstrate another key discovery the doctors made while practicing the Dual Therapist Model: bringing joy into everyday life through connection. It’s a message they promote for therapists as well as people in other walks of life.

“We wake up happy to go to work each day ,” Michele says. “We walk the walk and talk the talk, and we are teaching our clients to do the same. We have fun, and we try to help our clients connect with things that bring them joy. We’ve been known to take them outdoors in nature, to rock climbing gyms, and even ice cream shops. And we get to experience the joy, and the ice cream, right alongside them.”

In addition to the fun factor, being able to immediately process a session — and each therapist’s role during it — is invaluable, they have found. These discussions include constructive criticisms as well as triggering incidents that must be addressed, wins to be celebrated, and Aha! moments to be shared. It’s all part of the Dual Therapist Model.

During downtime, they might hold an impromptu dance party or enjoy coffee on the cottage deck or a nap on their hammocks with therapy dog Zippy on a sunny afternoon.

“One of the most notable benefits of the Dual Therapist Model has been the prevention of burnout,” Michele says. “We have so much fun together. This isn’t an easy field. It can be very emotionally draining, emotionally taxing. We are able to recharge our batteries just by having each other around, by coming to work here every day.”

“One of the most notable benefits of the Dual Therapist Model has been the prevention of burnout,” Michele says. “We have so much fun together. This isn’t an easy field. It can be very emotionally draining, emotionally taxing. We are able to recharge our batteries just by having each other around, by coming to work here every day.”

Why an industry leader is on board with the DTM revolution

Seth Gillihan, a clinical psychologist, author, and podcast host, calls Drs. Kinderman and Yanek a special team for a variety of important reasons.

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