Business Beat – New at Corners on Main – The Mindlight Collective: Helping to Shine a Light on Patterns of the Brain

Lorne Abugov

Guessing is a game of the mind, and many minds within Old Ottawa East seem to enjoy guessing at the identity of new businesses poised to launch their affairs in new commercial storefronts on or adjacent to Main Street. One of the tougher guessing challenges confronted by locals in recent months is the case of the new MindLight Counselling and Trauma Therapy Collective which has occupied offices at 5 Oblats Avenue in the Corners on Main since last November.

Beneath the MindLight Collective business sign, with its distinctive and symbolic logo (more on the logo below), is an exterior front door emblazoned with the words “By Appointment Only” and “Intake Forms Inside”. A bright yellow “Caution automatic door” sticker completes the puzzle for local residents. Interesting indeed, but admittedly not many clues for the sleuth in all of us to work with.

Enter The Mainstreeter (with big-time help from Google!)…

MindLight Collective – the Business Beat has learned– “is a fee-based service group of provincially licensed clinicians offering a range of specialized services, backed by the best science.” According to its website, MindLight maintains “the highest standard of skills-based approaches by our commitment to reliable and consistent education and consultation with leading experts in the field of psychotherapy. Each of our clinicians particularly specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and trauma-related conditions, including complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders.”

Specialized psychotherapy services are now available in our community. Photo by Lorne Abugov

Specialized psychotherapy services are now available in our community. Photo by Lorne Abugov

Mining the Collective’s website, we learn further that “each member of the MindLight Collective works from their own location throughout Ottawa”, and that the main office in Corners on Main houses the practice of MindLight owner and founder, Fatina Elkurdi, a Clinical Social Worker trained in Canada and the United States with more than 19 years of practice in a range of hospital and clinical settings. Elkurdi specializes in applying research to practice, “teaching her clients innovative skills to treat depression and mood disorders, emotion regulation, anxiety disorders, interpersonal problems, substance dependence, chronic pain and medical conditions, often co-occurring”.

Curiousity piqued, The Mainstreeter contacted Elkurdi to learn more about MindLight Collective, how it came to be, and the services that she and her four Collective colleagues plan to make available to clients in the OOE community.

She explained that the collective came together as a result of the practitioners conducting clinical work together and sharing experience in the treatment of anxiety and trauma-related conditions, as well as more general counselling needs.

According to Elkurdi, much of what the MindLight Collective aims to provide to its clients and to the public is educated about responses to stressful events. “Often people will hear the word “trauma” and think, “that’s something serious that doesn’t apply to me.” That may not be the case,” she observes. “The loss of a loved one, a relationship crisis, or a chronically stressful work environment can have similar effects on the nervous system as what is traditionally thought of as traumatic. We hope to help people make sense of their symptoms and come up with a path towards healing.”

“The threshold of what is considered traumatic is far lower today than what has been previously understood,” Elkurdi explains. “In fact, we know that it is unlikely for anyone to be prevented from exposure to traumatic material now. Especially in today’s information age, exposure to world events, proliferating images, stories and experiences on news and social media are affecting many, in ways people feel ill-equipped to cope with.”

She is confident that the MindLight Collective will offer real help to people, working with them to normalize their experiences, realize they are not alone, and come to know that help is available. Although they are still undergoing some finishing construction touches, the MindLight office in Corners on Main as well as the distinctive MindLight logo, have been designed with – no surprise here – some pretty deep thought!

“Psychotherapy is not like going to the spa…For some, therapy may be the hardest work they will ever do. Through the skills you learn in psychotherapy, you can learn to turn towards pain and the harder, sharper aspects of your life you may have been avoiding or are afraid to confront. The strong lines and sharp edges of the logo reflect this, as well as the strong walls within which the therapeutic relationship can contain what people feel is too difficult to hold on their own,” Elkurdi says.

“The offices on Oblats Avenue were also designed with this in mind. They are simple and comfortable but have polished concrete floors, an almost industrial feel, high ceilings, representing the boundaries within which difficult material can be safely explored or “held” with your therapist. This is what we feel reflects the hard work that happens in psychotherapy. You may feel drained after therapy, but this is often part of the path towards healing and growth.”

In the future, Elkurdi hopes to possibly add other qualified clinicians at the Oblats Avenue offices and to consider ways in which the Collective can best integrate into the Old Ottawa East community. She is considering a plan to make the office space available to community groups for meetings and small events. In addition, one of the goals of Collective members is to facilitate treatment through reduced fees for some community clients who might otherwise find the costs of psychotherapy and complex treatment counselling to be prohibitive.

At present, prospective new clients, or members of the public who have general inquiries about MindLight Collective, are encouraged to contact the organization through a website submission form at www.mindlight.ca, by e-mailing: contact@mindlight.ca, or by leaving a message by phone at
613-518-1577.

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