Bantam Location



– Andrew Matusiak, MSW LCSW, Owner and CEO

Andrew started Challenging Minds LLC with the motivation to integrate a holistic approach to treating mental health. Andrew focuses on a “bottom up” and “top down” approach to counseling; supporting clients with different mindfulness, breathing, and grounding approaches that reduce anxiety overtime. Andrew is certified as an ART therapist, which specializes in treating anxiety, phobias, and trauma disorders.

By the coping methods taught in therapy, Andrew believes that clients can be brought to their full agency; leading to a compassionate, self-directed, and organized perspective, allowing for emotional and mental freedom.

HeatherWellness Center Manager

Heather Allen CPC, CPB

Heather Allen is a Certified Professional Coder & Certified Professional Biller. She completed the Medical Coding and Billing certificate program through Eastern Connecticut State University’s continuing education department in early 2021. Shortly after she became nationally certified through the American Academy of Professional Coders.

She remains dedicated to staying current with the constantly evolving coding and billing guidelines through webinars, workshops, and conferences.



As a dancer, student of life, R-D/MT, and RYT, Amy Motson is continually investigating the mind and body from a holistic perspective in work with groups and individuals. She uses movement, dialogue, and music to support connection to self and others in creative and communicative ways with a wide spectrum of populations.

Amy has over 20 years of dance training in a variety of dance forms such as classical ballet, Graham and Limon techniques, improvisation, and Gaga Movement language and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from the Hartt School of Music. Spent spent several years in NYC working closely with the acclaimed Dance for PD program at the Mark Morris Dance Group, which offers dance classes for people in the Parkinson’s community. Inspired by the restorative power of dance, she went on to earn her MFA in Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Dance/ Movement Therapy from Lesley University where she did her thesis research on individualized Dance/Movement Therapy for people with Parkinson’s.

She is currently on staff at The Devereux Glenholme School, a therapeutic boarding school for students with diverse emotional and behavioral needs, where she has developed Glenholme’s first Dance/Movement Therapy program.  Amy is excited to continue her work with adolescents, the Parkinson’s population, as well as other individuals who are seeking to strengthen their mind-body connection.



Amber Lively

Amber Lively is a LMT specializing in a holistic approach to help you through your health and healing process. She believes that the combination of nutrition, exercise, and soft tissue release, are integral aspects for the maintenance of optimal health and balance to the body and mind. Through personalized treatment plans she can help you with chronic pain, long term injuries, trauma, and posture correction.

She has over 5 yrs of massage therapy experience. She has worked with people with disabilities for over 20.  She enjoys yoga, skiing, dancing, and healthy cooking. Benefits of massage: reduces stress, increases relaxation, decreases pain and muscle soreness, improves circulation, energy, alertness, and immune system. Lowers heart rate and blood pressure.


Linda Marie

Linda has been a massage therapist since 2011, when she graduated from the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in Newington. She is also an occupational therapist and a certified hand therapist, a credential which designates one who holds it as an expert in the field of upper extremity rehabilitation. She has extensive experience with clients who have upper extremity issues, in addition to her general orthopedic massage experience. In addition, Linda has interests in energy healing techniques, and is currently studying polarity therapy and craniosacral therapy, in order to help people to heal through the use of these modalities. Linda offers various modalities of bodywork currently, including Swedish/gentle relaxation, pain management, deep tissue, hot stone massage, migraine/headache specialty massage, Reiki, reflexology, and Himalayan Salt Stone massage. She is also available for corporate chair massage events.



Regina Spano

Regina is an experienced Reiki Master/Practitioner with keenly developed intuitive abilities with her clients. She is kind, uplifting and thorough in her explanation of Reiki to her recipients. She is quick to establish trust with her clients and brings a feeling of ease to the experience. Regina specializes in helping people manage stress, anxiety, heartbreak, and grief through the calming practice of Reiki. As a result, she is confident all people will benefit from this gentle, noninvasive form of energetic healing. She also loves to laugh and share her sense of humour with others. Regina has a good heart, and has the sincerest of intentions to help every person she can with her abilities.


Noelle Grieco

Noelle is an Usui Reiki Master Practitioner and Teacher, Karuna Reiki Practitioner ®, Sound Healer in Gemstone Singing Bowls, and Rigpa Shamanic Sound Master. She is a Medical Assistant and the Reiki and Sound Practitioner with the Ears for Peers Program at Connecticut Children’s Hospital. She is also certified by the American Red Cross-BLS (CPR, AED and first aid: infant, Children and adults).

Noelle has been doing spiritual healing her entire life and, in more recent years, specializes in Reiki and Sound healing. She comes to us with a variety of different modalities that she offers to children, adults and animals. She also specializes in end-of-life care. Every session is tailored to meet the recipient’s needs and session lengths vary. The number of sessions can depend on what a recipient is working on for a particular issue.

She has a passion for healing and continues to educate herself in other healing modalities. She is focused on helping you deal with whatever issues life brings you. She creates a safe sacred place with her heart and her soul listening. Bring your mind, body and soul back into balance.


Vivian Jimenez-Rijo

Vivian is a Reiki level 1 & 2 practitioner who has interned and advocated for Western Connecticut State University student body including staff, about achieving mental wellness with Holistic modalities. She specializes in EFT tapping, Guided Imagery, Guided Meditation. Vivian is also a passionate cinematographer/editor and Award winning documentarian. She is a Native Spanish speaker whose goal is to bring joy, awareness , and emotional support to clients with Holistic philosophies. Her contagious optimistic attitude empowers her clients to thrive rather than just get by in their lives.


Tara Cornish is the owner and founder of Holistic Hands.  She is a Certified Reflexologist and Reiki Master/Teacher.  After applying her education and working in the healthcare field since 1990 she has seen the amazing benefits of using holistic approaches to help heal, relax, renew and rejuvenate.

As a young child Tara had been exposed to the powerful healings of Reflexology and Reiki; however, she was not aware of this at the time.

Since 1990 Tara has worked in the healthcare field.  She never felt completely satisfied because she found that this only involved the physical part of the body.  Tara wanted to work not only with the physical, but with the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of her clients.

Only after receiving her first life changing healing session did Tara realize that this was her life’s calling.  This could only be done by studying and learning alternative healing modalities such as Reflexology and Reiki.  She has always been in tune with life energy so these choices were a perfect fit.  Tara has witnessed, and continues to see, the powerful innate ability the body has to heal itself.  She feels blessed to be able to assist people in their unique journey!  Tara is passionate about her work and the health and well being of her clients.

Certifications include:

Certified through The International Institute of Reflexology in the Original Ingham Method® of Reflexology. | Reflexology and Meridian Therapy 1 & 2 with Lillian Tibshraeny-Morten. | Reflexology and Cancer; Symptom Management and Contraindications with Memorial Sloan Kettering Oncology Nurse and Reflexologist Susan Berenson. | Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master/Teacher, mentored under Anne Malley RN,RM and Barbara Gaski RM,QHP. | Ancient Hawaiian Huna Healing,  Oahu, Hawaii | Quantum-Touch, Richard Gordon. | Doula/ Birth & Post Partum, ALACE. | CT Nursing Assistant * Hospice  & all aspects of Elder Care |EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique

Professional Memberships include: Reflexology Lymph Drainage, Reflexology Association of CT (Past President), International Institute of Reflexology, Reflexology Association of America, Association of Labor and Childbirth Educators , The Distant Healing Network

Insured through: Insurance Plus

Telehealth Therapists


Diane S. Ack-Mitchell, Ed.D., LPC
Dr. Ack-Mitchell is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who will be providing 100% Telehealth support for a variety of mental health conditions for individuals across the spectrum. Guided by genuine respect and compassion, Dr. Ack-Mitchell seeks to develop a positive rapport with clients and safe space where clients can be themselves without fear of being judged. Dr. Ack-Mitchell holds a Doctor of Education from Nova Southeastern University. Moreover, while attending graduate school, Dr. Ack-Mitchell completed a degree in Counseling in conjunction with an Ed. S. in Mental Health Counseling. As well, Dr. Ack-Mitchell holds Standard Certifications as a School Counselor and Director of School Counseling Services. Her most recent acquisition has been becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in Connecticut. Dr. Ack-Mitchell is committed to helping those in need of counseling services.



Ed Bacigalupo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over fifteen years of contributing to the human services industry. He finds it a distinct honor and pleasure to now be collaborating with Challenging Minds LLC to bring highly innovative and ethical Mental Health Care to the Greater Torrington community. He is a graduate of both the SUNY New Paltz and Albany Psychology and Social Work programs respectively and has extensive experience in managed care, administrative and direct care roles in both the public and private sector. In his career, Ed has taken great pride in his strengths-based and humanistic perspectives; treating his clientele with respect and dignity, along with encouraging each individual to achieve their true potential in life.

Torrington Location

Melissa Clinical Supervisor

Melissa Hurley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over ten years of working in the field of human services. She graduated with my Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2006 from Southern Connecticut State University’s Advanced Standing program and has been licensed in the state of Connecticut since 2009. During her time in the field, she has had many opportunities that have granted her the tools and knowledge that allow her to support clients in diverse ways, and to meet them where they are at.  Some of these experiences include working with Children, Adolescents and Families in In-Home Therapy models. She has also worked in educational settings, as a Psychiatric Clinician, a Medical Social Worker for children/adolescents and adults, and provided end of life support to clients and families while working in hospice. She has a particular strength in working with children through a variety of treatment options, including play and art therapy. She has a reputation for helping parents to improve parenting strategies and for providing couples therapy with the use of evidence-based psychotherapy techniques to set goals and make progress.

Melissa uses a personalized approach to help clients learn to cope with life circumstances. She is committed to creating a caring, accepting, and non-judgmental environment in which you will feel understood, valued, and safe. She specializes in working with child and adolescent populations, psychiatric assessments, couples/family therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Bereavement/Grief Therapy, and Solution Focused Brief Therapy.



Skylar Sandel is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has spent the past ten years serving individuals, children, and families in various capacities within the human service field. For the past four years she has worked as a crisis intervention clinician working with children and families in the school, community, home, and hospital setting. She takes a responsive client-focused approach to treating trauma exposure allowing her to establish strong therapeutic alliances with clients in their most vulnerable moments.

Prior to entering the crisis field Skylar worked with at risk youth, survivors of domestic violence and families in transitional periods. Skylar is highly adaptive and tailors her therapeutic approach to best meet the needs of the client. Her approach encourages healthy boundary setting while simultaneously identifying individual strengths and positive coping skills.



Stephen Hurley is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years of experience in Human Services. He has worked with people of all ages in educational settings, crisis work, residential programs, outpatient therapy and in managerial roles. During this time, he has acted as an advocate for parents and children while providing direct care and consultation to best meet their needs. He takes a proactive, strengths-based approach to help others manage their anxiety, depression, trauma, family and interpersonal relationships. Steve often employs cognitive behavioral and mindfulness strategies with a non-judgemental approach to further develop confidence and self esteem, so that individuals he works with can better self advocate.


Cathy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over ten years of working in the field of human services spending the last 11 years working with families in crisis in the Torrington, Waterbury and Danbury areas. For 3 years she worked with women and children who have experienced family violence, educating and leading groups promoting healthy relationships. Cathy also holds a degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling.

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Cathy’s focus is on strengthening the family unit by meeting with individuals and sometimes whole families. Family therapy emphasizes each family member’s unique and important role in the family, improving relationships and building a strong supportive family unit. Assisting you to achieve these goals at your own pace can bring positive change in relationship interactions.

Cathy uses a creative approach to develop a plan that will yield positive results in your life and your family. Therapy can be just traditional talk therapy, or it can include creative activities such as games, drawing, painting and crafting. Don’t hesitate to call so we can begin to establish the path that is right for you and your family.