Bridge Counseling and Wellness co-founders antini-Cprek and Owens

Bridge Counseling and Wellness co-founders Nicole Sartini-Cprek and Jennifer Owens | Photo from Facebook

Maybe you’re having a rough time of things lately. Or maybe you have chronic mental health problems and your current self-care plan (or lack thereof) isn’t working. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go to a beautiful place where you can get the help you need, not just for your brain, but for your whole body?

This holistic take on mental health care is gaining popularity in places like Los Angeles, but Nicole Sartini-Cprek and Jennifer Owens don’t know of another center like theirs in Kentucky. Bridge Counseling and Wellness is a center for all things good for your mental wellbeing.

“Nowhere else is using the same philosophy and offering all the services under one roof,” says Owens.

Owens and Sartini-Cprek not only shared an office when they were both in private practice as therapists, they shared a passion for holistic mental health care. They talked about starting something like Bridge for years, but they finally started the business in April of this year and moved to the new building they’ve rented on Baxter Avenue in September. Currently there are five employees, and they’re growing.

There are other holistic, integrative centers in Louisville, but not for mental health.

bridge 3Owens calls Bridge a “one-stop shop” for mental health from the neck up and neck down. The office offers counseling services both in one-on-one and group settings, yoga, massage therapy, movement classes, fitness classes, personal training, mind-body bootcamps and workshops. All of these classes and offerings are to the purpose of building better mental health through whole body work.

Not only that, but clients of the therapists are offered yoga and movement classes for free, each taught by a yoga teacher who is also trained in mental health. So, if you’re feeling a little down during your downward-facing dog, the teacher is trained to talk you through it, and your classmates will be sympathetic. You’re all in the same boat.

Likewise, if your therapist notices during your session that you seem a bit tense or closed off, she (they’re all women thus far) can run you through some movement exercises, breathing techniques or yoga.

Owens and Sartini-Cprek also know a lot about nutrition and its impact on mental health, and they stay current in research about supplements and vitamins.

“We’re both very science-based people,” says Sartini-Cprek.

“We also do all the work we tell our clients to do,” adds Owens.

If your therapist “prescribes” yoga or movement classes, it’s up to you to take the initiative to find a studio, find a class you like and go. At Bridge, free yoga is offered Wednesdays at 6 p.m., and Move for Your Mood classes are Tuesdays at noon.

“People respond well to accountability. There’s value to that,” says Sartini-Cprek.

“People seeking counseling are worn out,” Owens says. “Taking control gives you a sense of power.”

Bridge Counseling and Wellness at 540 Baxter Ave.

Bridge Counseling and Wellness at 540 Baxter Ave.

Mental health, she explains, is governed by emotions, thoughts and behaviors. And behavior is the one thing a person is truly empowered to change. Changing behaviors can lead to changing your thoughts and emotions.

New clients can sign up and check available appointments online. During new client screenings, one of the therapists and the client decide which therapist in the practice is the best fit.

Sartini-Cprek says the clientele at Bridge is about 70 percent women and 30 percent men. They do not do counseling for children under 8, and they do not offer addiction counseling.

The partners made a conscious choice to locate the office where it is, in a beautiful brick building at 540 Baxter Ave. They knew that typically something like this would pop up in the East End first, but they wanted to be close to downtown, and many of their clients come from Southern Indiana.

The office is tranquil, with huge windows, gorgeous crown molding and exposed brick walls. The waiting room has a mini kitchen so you can make yourself a cup of tea or get a glass of water.

Unlike so many mental health practices in Louisville, Bridge takes most health insurance plans.

What’s in the future for Bridge, besides growing the staff? They’d like to partner with or have a resident psychologist who also shares their integrative philosophy. Ideally they’d like to land on a model they can re-create and expand and add more locations. Sartini-Cprek and Owens plan to share what they’re doing with other practitioners and teach others.

Upcoming workshops include:

  • “Mindfulness Through the Holidays”: Dec. 6, 13 and 20 — 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • “Good Mood Food”: Jan. 9 — 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Check out their offerings here.