Holistic Mental Health and Development
By Clementina Verge
Whether caused by traumatic events, significant life changes, an accumulation of stressful situations, or our increasingly complex society, mental pressure is mounting in people of all ages. For some, the tension becomes unmanageable, resulting in overwhelming thoughts and emotions. Help, however, is readily available.
With locations in Bantam and Torrington, Challenging Minds LLC was established in 2019 by Andrew Matusiak, a licensed clinical social worker. After working in human services with various mental health organizations for 12 years, Matusiak failed to see many clients improving. The reason, he explains, is that while traditional treatments help some people, most need a holistic approach that does not treat symptoms in isolation. Motivated by the desire to integrate various coping methods, he opened Challenging Minds.
While providing therapeutic support for a variety of mental health conditions, the Wellness Center also offers homeopathic alternatives for those who prefer to avoid allopathic medicine. Some of the treatments include Reiki, massage, reflexology, and an infrared sauna by Sunlighten.
“When a client’s whole self is considered, the outcomes are always better and more sustainable,” remarks Matusiak, who is also certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART). “Through a holistic approach to mental health needs, clients often feel more empowered, especially as they learn techniques that they can practice on their own, such as meditation and breathwork. Complex anxiety features and chronic conditions involve the body, mind, and spirit, and if we leave any of those elements out, we’re incomplete, so the healing is incomplete.”
The clinical group includes a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed professional counselors, and licensed clinical social workers—who are all proficient in diverse treatment specialities. Three clinicians are trained in ART, one of the best treatments for anxiety, depression, trauma, and phobias, Matusiak informs.
“Each of our providers has years of experience and provides the treatment options in a setting that was designed to be very relaxing,” he assures.
Clients represent all stages of life, whether new parents or aging adults, and the group is highly committed to working with teens, especially as the community rebounds from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, many teens are already “in a desperate phase when someone finally listens. We want to be proactive,” he explains, noting the group’s recent involvement with Litchfield High School students and participation in an upcoming mental health day at Torrington Middle School. “We want to teach them how to take care of their mental health, how to meditate, how to identify problems and correct what’s happening. There is no need to go into a state of fear as a default state.”
“It used to be that trauma only existed in war time or after a terrible event, but we now know that this is not true,” Matusiak informs. “It can feel and look like anxiety, like depression, and neither makes people feel good. But it’s important to know that trauma can be dealt with, and no one is destined to live a life of endless suffering. We also promote healing methods that can minimize the need for medication-only interventions. Individuals can achieve healing and personal freedom.”