Two new mental health counselors have recently brought their practices from the Seattle area to Twisp, bringing a diverse skill set and styles to a topic they are both passionate about.
Molly Filer and Nick Crimp met in graduate school while training to be mental health counselors. The couple began their practices just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Filer said she was inspired to pursue mental health counseling through yoga.
“I was teaching yoga. I had started doing some trauma-informed yoga teaching and was volunteering to teach women in a prison in Gig Harbor,” she said. “I found myself working with people in the prison and wanting to be able to help them in a different way.”
Now, she works with adults and teens 13 years or older, and the majority of her clients struggle with anxiety — a problem that has only increased during the pandemic.
“I come at working with anxiety from a mindfulness based perspective, and that’s been a nice way to weave in my history with yoga,” she said. “I also work with people with ADHD. I guess I sort of consider myself a bit of a generalist, but those are the things that I tend to focus on.”
In March, they moved back to the Methow, where Filer grew up and where her family has deep roots, and were married a few months later.
“I had wanted to move back for a long time,” Filer said. “I kind of had it in my mind ever since I left to go to Seattle. I knew I would be going to school but I kind of imagined myself back here.”
Crimp began as a substance use disorder counselor in 2011, but after getting his master’s degree has broadened his offerings to clinical mental health counseling.
His practice is rooted in dialectical behavior therapy and radically open dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
“That involves working with people that have trouble with emotion regulation and it does include a lot of people who have self-harming behavior or suicidal ideation or behavior,” he said. “DBT is, even as an outpatient model, really effective and heavily researched in terms of positive outcomes for that kind of population.”
Practicing in a pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the beginning, both Crimp and Filer had to adjust the way they met with and treated their clients at a time when everyone was experiencing anxiety, or at the very least serious stress.
“The bulk of my practice time … has been during the pandemic, which is a wild, wild time to be a mental health counselor,” Filer said.
Both had to adapt to meeting with clients through telehealth appointments. While neither was enthusiastic about virtual appointments before the pandemic, both said they’ve been happy with how well it’s worked out.
“I’ve been really pleasantly surprised,” Filer said. “I was of the camp — ‘I will never do that.’ But I have found there’s not actually that much of a difference in my ability to form rapport with people and I was shocked by that.”
Virtual meetings also can help alleviate stress regarding traveling to an appointment, or meeting in an unfamiliar place, Crimp added.
“Before moving here I was working Bellevue, eastside of Seattle, and people would come in so stressed out, teens were being brought in by their parents who had to take time off of work, they’re stuck in traffic for hours, and I was too, stuck in traffic, and so that was a great relief,” Crimp said. “I would say the biggest challenge to me is just adapting to so much screen time.”
In general, they’ve both seen clients struggling more during the pandemic, and have seen more strain and tension in relationships. Coping mechanisms that worked before COVID-19 restrictions suddenly went out the door, and people needed new ways to practice better social skills or ways to find outlets for stress.
“I think any challenges that people already had are highlighted,” Filer said. “People’s baseline of stress and anxiety is so much higher so I think people have been kind of forced to deal with things.”
Virtual appointments have also eased the transition from the Seattle area to the Methow for Crimp and Filer. Both have been able to retain a portion or a majority of their past patients, while building a new client base here.
While still providing telehealth visits, Crimp and Filer are based at the North Glover Healing Center in Twisp. Crimp provides treatment on a sliding scale in some cases for people who might struggle to pay his rates, and can also prepare bills for clients to submit to their insurance. Filer works with insurance available to Methow residents and is pursuing the ability to bill for Medicaid patients.
“I think for me this is such a unique place and the struggles that people have here are so different than in the city that I’m hoping that my experience growing up here and having really long roots here will be helpful with connecting with some of the issues that people have here,” Filer said.
For more information on Molly Filer and Nick Crimp’s practices, go to their websites at: