Catalyst Mental Health makes a move

Catalyst Mental Health founder David Townes and therapist Theresa Crawford at Catalyst’s new office on Lyndale.

 The founder of Catalyst Mental Health can explain why their new building at 1915 Lyndale Ave. S. was vacant for so long. It once housed retailers like Dunn Bros, Quiznos and a tattoo parlor before it entered foreclosure and funding fell through on a subsequent sale.

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“They were trying the wrong kind of businesses,” said David Townes, citing the one-way street. “This is great for us.”

Townes said patients at Catalyst often don’t fit into a particular “box” or diagnosis, and his therapists can handle complex cases. They treat issues ranging from anxiety and mood disorders to chemical dependency, eating disorders, attention disorders, relationship conflicts, and issues related to gender identity and post-traumatic stress. (Some of Catalyst’s therapists have appeared on “The Doctors” and “Dr. Phil” to treat clients on-screen.)

Therapists also see clients with obsessive compulsive disorder and adults with autism, areas where Townes said there is a shortage of providers.

“A lot of people in this neighborhood are open to therapy,” said therapist Theresa Crawford, whose specialties include working with multicultural families.

Catalyst was previously based in a mansion at 22nd & Dupont, and when the mansion went up for sale, Townes decided to look elsewhere to avoid becoming priced out of the neighborhood.

That problem appears to be solved now that Catalyst owns its own building, which can hold double the number of offices.

Before Townes started his practice in 2011, he had seen burnout and organizational dysfunction in the industry. He set out to create an environment that was hospitable to service providers, allowing them to work on flex hours, and reduce tension between the clinical and business sides of the practice.

Catalyst’s therapists earned long wait lists and opened a second location in Bloomington. But that didn’t shift the Uptown caseload.

“It turns out people who live in Uptown don’t want to leave Uptown,” Townes said.