Holistic mental health practice weathers the pandemic, expands to Williamsville

Licensed mental health counselor Nicole Chumsky opened her first mindful living and yoga studio in Clarence in early 2019 and her second in Kenmore the summer of the same year, seven months before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the region.

A lot had changed by this summer, when she closed the Clarence location and moved it into a space twice the size in Williamsville.

A lot also remained the same.

Be Embodied continues its holistic approach with clients who understand that counseling, good nutrition and regular exercise promote better well-being.

The pandemic generated more clients in touch with that mindset.

“A lot more people were seeking services than before, which in a way also helped destigmatize mental health,” Chumsky said this week during a tour of the new location.

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She owns the site at 2790 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. She and Bridget Rippe, a licensed clinical psychologist, co-own the Williamsville site at Main and Rinewalt streets.

“Our business volume sustained throughout the pandemic,” said Rippe, who previously worked in the Clarence location and also works in the Center for Cancer Care at Erie County Medical Center. “Telehealth quickly became a blessing.”

Some clients continue to gravitate toward it, Chumsky said, “but a lot of our clients really like to come in because we spend a lot of energy focused on making sure the environment is not only trauma-informed, but also aesthetically healing and cleansing. We’re mindful, so people get to wear slippers while they’re here. They kick off their shoes. We have scents. We have music. Even with the visual effects in every room, we’re keeping it very minimalistic and yet warm and comfortable.”

The new site features nine offices for counselors and two mental health nurse practitioners, both of whom can prescribe medications if needed and help patients manage them. One of them can see patients as young as 13; the other can prescribe medical cannabis. Both also can order bloodwork and recommend vitamins, minerals, exercise and other steps toward better health.

Practitioners in Kenmore can work with those 3 and older.

The counseling side of the Williamsville operation opened in July. The yoga studio opened last month.

“Anything that happens in the yoga studio is open to the general public,” Chumsky said. “We have yoga, Qigong, meditation. We also run workshops.” An upcoming program will focus on ways to address seasonal affective disorder.

“When you’re in the waiting room, you don’t know if you’re sitting next to somebody who’s going into a yoga class, or somebody who’s going into a nutritional appointment or going into a psychiatry appointment,” Chumsky said. “It doesn’t matter. They’re all there getting help.”

Be Embodied will host a grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Williamsville location, 5872 Main St. It includes tours, snacks and refreshments, raffles and free yoga classes. Learn more at bemindfulliving.com or by calling 716-906-3770.