Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. And according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it's not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. And certainly those statistics are much higher due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects. Enter The Collective. With a combination of western psychology and eastern philosophy, founder and owner Courtney Grimes and her team have created a unique, integrative and healing way to living every day life.
Tell us about yourself. What is your background?
Courtney Grimes: I have a pretty eclectic background! I am a trained opera performer and classical pianist and my first career was in the music industry. I moved to Nashville from Atlanta in the late 90's and fell in love with the city! I spent about 10 years moving around the entertainment world and learned so much about life and so much about myself. I became very sick with an eating disorder and went through an amazing (albeit very difficult) recovery process. After that journey I realized I wanted to go back to school so I could help heal others around depression and anxiety, addiction, trauma, relational trouble, etc. - and I will joyfully do this for the rest of my life!
What prompted/inspired you to start The Collective?
I have been in private practice since I left the music industry, and have met the MOST amazing people as clients - people who are smart, creative, kind, generous and fun. And everyone always talked to me about the same thing - how lonely they were. I couldn't believe that all of these incredible people didn't have a supportive network of friends to do life with!
Additionally, I worked with clients who would come home from treatment centers and they were clean and sober. They were ready to come home and tackle their life and their recovery. And within WEEKS, many of them were right back to using their old coping mechanisms (drinking, food, shopping, drugs, etc.) to continue to manage the very life, the very environment that had made them sick in the first place.
And it began to dawn on me - what we are leaving grossly unaddressed in mental and behavioral healthcare in this country is social health, especially as it relates to depression and anxiety which are primary drivers for the maladaptive coping techniques. For several years, I tried various ways to help change my clients' environments outside of my office - in their homes, their schools, their places of work, but nothing seemed to ever really stick. I continued to watch these lovely people, who I cared very much about, fall victim to the same old devices and patterns, the same old self-destructive behavior because their environments were not changing to support all the inner work they had done.
After a LOT of planning, organizing, reorganizing and prayer, I developed the idea for The Collective - a comprehensive, 8-week program (one for adults and another for adolescents 13-17) that is scheduled around your life, to heal depression and anxiety at its core, while addressing social health. We move small groups of people through the program, with no one new joining the group and no one leaving until everyone in the small group graduates together at the end of the eight weeks. Then after graduation, the small group is introduced to all the groups that have graduated before them, as well as all the groups that continually graduate after them, in order to continue creating an evolving community of healthy, well-minded people to be friends with and do life with! This has finally given space for people to change their environment, to feel loved and to truly connect with others. Human beings are pack animals and we are designed to be in communities and in relationships. When we are separated from each other, or isolated, we get sick. The pandemic this year has truly reinforced this truth as well.
Tell us a little about how your approach to healing differs from other treatments of depression and anxiety?
Depression and anxiety are often times the root of so many other maladaptive or self-destructive behaviors. Many of us use alcohol, drugs, food, exercise, shopping, etc. to manage these feelings, give us some semblance of control or maybe just numb out completely. By addressing the root issue, these behaviors often cease to return, and we are free to live a life we actually enjoy. Our approach to healing at The Collective is unlike anything in modern mental or behavioral healthcare. We believe we have something truly special. We are watching clients graduate from our programming, connect with others who have graduated as well, and they now all have the same language to use, they have the same relational tools, they've discovered empathy or boundaries, etc. We are watching relationships bloom and depression and anxiety slither away. Not one of our graduates has relapsed, and all report a better quality of life.
Why is it important to include things like yoga and nutrition in a healing plan?
Our program is entirely customized for each client and includes therapy, group work, a private nutritionist, a private nurse practitioner, yoga and massage. Depression tends to live in the past, while anxiety tends to live in the future. Staying present in your body in the here and now is essential for healing, and our program components like yoga, nutrition and massage help to connect the brain with the body so it can become much easier to stay present. Nutrition plays such a large role in mental health and we help clients find healthy relationships with food and their bodies. Additionally, clients receive full access to a private nurse practitioner who can help clients with any concerns they may have including medical concerns, sleep hygiene and even medication implementation. We also offer Gene Sight Testing which is a simple cheek swab test, giving us rapid results as to which medications would be the very best fit.
Explain how rewarding your work can be.
I cannot begin to describe how incredibly fulfilling my work with The Collective is. To see how lives are truly being changed for the better is the most amazing gift I could ever witness. To ever begin anything that is a brand new idea - something that isn't being done - is terrifying. There is so much at risk, especially in the beginning, and to see how The Collective is actually creating sustainable, healthy change for people is overwhelming.
1101 17th Avenue South