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A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

Sisters Open Teletherapy Clinic to Help People Feel Better

Sisters, Alexis Bennett and Leah Pillsbury have always had two dreams: opening up a business together and helping people. In August of 2021, the Minnesotan duo turned their dreams into reality when they launched Orka Health and Wellness, a teletherapy clinic.

“We both wanted to go into mental health because we enjoy working with people, learning about them and hearing their stories,” Leah says. “Our goal is to get our clients feeling better and living their best lives.”

Both sisters are licensed independent clinical social workers and have a combined 28 years of experience in the mental health field. Leah holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California and Alexis attained hers from St. Catherine University.

“Leah and I thought about opening a practice together for years, but it felt like such a faraway dream for a while,” Alexis says. “We just knew we wanted to help people. Finally, around 2019-2020, we decided to go for it and started building our business.”

The sisters’ original plan involved a physical office, but once the pandemic hit, they changed focus to virtual care.

“During COVID-19, people became more comfortable with teletherapy,” Leah says. “People realized, us included, that you really can make a connection over the screen.”

They decided to name their practice Orka Health and Wellness in honor of their Swedish and Norwegian background.

“Orka means to have the physical or mental energy to move forward or to be bothered enough to do something about it, " Leah says. "We want to give people the support they need to create change and move forward."

The clinic officially opened as an online operation in August 2021 with just Alexis and Leah as therapists at first.

"The need is apparent,” Alexis says. “So many people are wanting support services. The need is high, and we quickly learned we couldn't keep up with just the two of us. We wanted to offer a variety of services, so we decided to bring on contractors.”

The practice now has five therapists and four other professionals who specialize in many areas including talk therapy, nutrition coaching, ADHD testing, parent coaching and spiritual direction.

“We do a lot here,” Alexis says. “We have a licensed psychologist who provides comprehensive individualized evaluations for children, adolescents and adults. Our registered dietician provides healthy meal ideas for picky eaters and ways to fuel athletes of all ages. She also provides virtual cooking classes to help get your kids involved in the kitchen.

“Our parent coach works directly with parents to deal with challenging behaviors and equip you with the skills for success to enjoy your kids. Our spiritual director will walk alongside clients as they seek to explore their relationship with God. Her understanding of spirituality is expansive as she works with clients to make sense, meaning and purpose in challenging life experiences."

By offering so many services, the sisters aim to provide a holistic approach to what mental health looks like.

“A therapist's job is to help support a person process through their past, current and future hopes,” Alexis says. “We work with preteens to adults of all ages. We believe everyone has a story that's worth listening to. A perk about Orka is that we are able to connect with clients from all over Minnesota from the easy access and comfort of their own home.”

Orka clients don’t have to worry about traffic, transportation or other limitations that would cause a barrier between them and health care. Every service that Orka offers is completely virtual.

As the clinic continues to grow, the sisters hope to take on more clients and help as many people as they can.

Those interested in becoming a client can schedule a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your goals, preferences and types of issues you are dealing with. During this meeting, you will be matched with the right therapist for you.

Appointments are available during weekdays and nights. For more information, visit orkahealthandwellness.com.

“A therapist's job is to help support a person process through their past, current and future hopes. We believe everyone has a story that's worth listening to."

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