Paige Keisler Collins, 37, founder and owner, Mind Body Knox
Paige Keisler Collins already had a successful marriage and family therapist practice. She’d seen the need to expand her services to include yoga and meditation and breathwork, but there was something missing.
Three years ago, with help from family and friends, Keisler Collins put it all together, opening up Mind Body Knox. The business recently expanded into a new space in Hardin Valley.
The space and the method may be different than when she started, but the goal is the same: improve her clients’ mental and physical health.
When you reflect on your career so far, which achievement stands out most?
Over the years working as a licensed marriage and family therapist, I noticed clients recognized the need to better manage stress and take care of themselves but had difficulty integrating and applying coping skills in their lives. In 2019, I created Mind Body Knox to provide a variety of evidence-based practices focusing on a mind-body modality to help improve clients’ mental and physical wellness. After three long years of effort, my dream came to fruition when we opened our doors to a beautiful new community resource offering psychotherapy, counseling, EMDR, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, breathwork and more all in one location.
What is the greatest professional obstacle you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
Self-employment and the struggles that come with it. I have a master’s in mental health counseling, not in business. There is a steep learning curve to figuring it all out. In my case, that includes contracting with and billing insurance companies, navigating marketing and all things technology. It also includes financial decisions, from retirement to taxes.
While it can be time-consuming and overwhelming at times, I absolutely love getting to follow my passion and have a flexible work schedule (I have worked part-time since having my son). I am also incredibly grateful for wonderful mentors throughout my journey.
What will you focus on in 2023?
I plan on continuing to expand! All our services and classes are backed by science. Research shows that what we are doing at Mind Body Knox helps people better regulate emotions, manage stress, maintain rational thinking and improve self-control. We want you to care for your whole self, and we offer multiple avenues to support you. We currently have a fantastic team of licensed mental health therapists, yoga instructors and wellness teachers for breathwork, meditation and mindfulness working out of our space. We plan to add a dietitian, holistic chef, massage therapist and a variety of workshops and trainings.
What is your biggest professional dream?
I truly feel that I am living my dream. After many years of planning and preparation, my business partner, Lynn Smith, and I built our wellness oasis space in 2022. Before expanding my private practice into Mind Body Knox, I knew that sitting in a chair, session after session, for another 30+ years was not the healthiest lifestyle for myself. I now have two studios across the hall from my office where I can share coping skills practices with clients and community members.
The studios also offer me the opportunity to move my body and relax my mind throughout the day.
What mistake did you learn the most from?
Our commercial build came with many obstacles and several mistakes were made along the way. Between delays, rising costs and managing all the moving pieces, my business partner and I had to remain steadfast and advocate for ourselves many times. As a clinical therapist and yoga teacher, it felt like I had to learn a new language to keep up with construction. It was challenging, time-consuming and definitely a learning experience. We came out over budget, but wiser in the end. Despite the issues, we now have the perfect space for our needs that I am very proud of.
What motivates you?
My family is incredibly encouraging and supportive. My clients inspire me to do great things.
What is the most overrated piece of business advice you’ve heard?
Work harder, faster and longer. Hustle culture surrounds us and is often seen as the path to success. It is normalized and even praised by our society: being busy, working long days and weeks, not getting enough sleep, disregarding health, no work-life balance and not prioritizing family and relationships. We humans can manage short-term stressors but not chronic stress. It will hinder you, not help you, in the long run. The people who say they do not have 10 minutes a day to stretch and practice deep breathing are the ones who should do it for 20 minutes a day.
What trait do you most want in a co-worker?
Someone who values teamwork, communication, and positivity and a willingness to learn and grow.
What about Knoxville would you like to improve?
The U.S. Surgeon General declared a national mental health crisis last year, and Knoxville is not exempt from this harsh reality. The pandemic magnified increasingly concerning struggles especially in our youth. In Knoxville, community mental health centers and school counselors are overloaded, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find clinicians who accept insurance and have availability.
There are many layers to this issue, and I do not claim to have the answers. However, we are trying to do our part at Mind Body Knox. We aim to destigmatize mental health and demystify holistic health by making evidence-based coping and relaxation skills practice affordable, accessible and inclusive.
Everyone is welcome at Mind Body Knox, and all classes are beginner friendly. I continue to be in awe that I have the honor and privilege to help others who are struggling, stressed, hurting and marginalized.
What don’t people know about you?
My children are my world! Being a mom is my absolute favorite thing on the planet. I met my daughter when I was 18 and she was 2. This soon transitioned into a parenting role and adoption! For many years, it was just the two of us (plus my parents who are always eager to help). During that time, I made the leap into private practice and never looked back. I met my husband, who is originally from Ireland, a couple years later. We started Mind Body Knox together and had our son last year when our daughter turned 18!
- Family: Husband Liam Collins, daughter Kymberli Hensley, son Finn Collins, parents Greg and Rhonda Keisler, grandmother Elizabeth Radford and grandfather Charlie Keisler
- Years worked at current company: Three
- Degrees and certifications: Master of science degree in clinical mental health counseling and bachelor of science degree in applied psychology with an emphasis in child and family studies, both from Carson Newman University; Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider (certified through Evergreen and PESI); Certified Mandatory Pre-Screening Agent by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) through Yoga Alliance; Certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor, Certified Prenatal Yoga Instructor and Certified Aerial Yoga Instructor, all through Yoga Alliance
- Community involvement: Board member of Resilience Wellness Association
This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.