Samatha Benigno Orpaz has garnered a lauded reputation as the chief executive officer and founder of Mynd Mvmt LLC, a company using an innovative approach to the treatment of mental health and substance abuse issues. Their primary mission is to help others realize their power to live the lives they want most. Specializing in biopsychology, which is how the mind and body work together to create our experience, her company helps people make lifelong changes by effectively changing how the body and, as a result, the mind operates. “We help people create new neurological habits and patterns in the brain that stand up under stress and over time,” Ms. Benigno explains. Run by career mental health professionals and employing a team of experts in health and wellness, Mynd Mvmt is unique in that it truly integrates the mind and body in its approach to health, healing and change.
Ms. Benigno is also genuinely excited about the imminent opening of a sister Mynd Mvmt project that infuses mindfulness principles with different forms of exercise creating what they call “Myndful fitness.” Mynd Mvmt launches its Mindful Fitness & Lifestyle Studio at 37 West 26th St. in New York in March 2020. This new venture embraces a whole new way to think about fitness. As Ms. Benigno explains it, “I’ve taken what I know works from studying mindfulness-based modalities in clinical psychology and behavioral neuroscience, and infused them into fitness. We spent the last year training skilled fitness instructors on how to think differently about the mind and body relationship and how to infuse these principles into what they do best (CrossFit, MMA, various types of yoga, strength training and cardio work). By bringing focused intention and effort into the body on purpose, people see much greater results in far less time. The best part is by learning how to be mindful, it trickles into all aspects of one’s life. Classes are designed to create positive changes, not just to the body, but to the mind, and also to our lives.” Mynd Mvmt’s Mindful Fitness & Lifestyle Studio will also be offering drop-in style lifestyle courses on topics such as intimacy and relationships, nutrition, meditation and holistic health.
Before embarking upon her professional journey, Ms. Benigno pursued a formal education at the University of Montana, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2001. She subsequently continued her studies at Antioch University, earning a Master of Science in management science in 2004. Ms. Benigno continued her academic efforts with a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from the New School in 2010, and has since been trained and certified in a variety of specializations including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, motivational interviewing and yoga. She is also a credentialed drug and alcohol counselor.
Ms. Benigno previously served as a senior clinician at the Dorm in New York. She was a supervisor and a recovery coach at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation from 2011 to 2014, and a clinical counselor at Inter-Care between 2009 and 2011. Ms. Benigno began her counseling career with Phoenix House in 2001.
In accounting for her success, Ms. Benigno credits an inexhaustible desire to help people. Having overcome her own battles with mental health and substance abuse and helped so many do the same over the years, she desperately desires to help people realize there is another way. Having watched her father, WFAN sports radio talk show host Joe Benigno, go from a salesman to a talk show host into his 40s, Ms. Benigno doesn’t believe in luck or having to “know the right people.” She knows that anything is truly possible if you want it badly enough and are willing to work for it.
Looking towards the future, Ms. Benigno aspires to bring her company to the national stage, in order to see fundamental changes in the way we systematically approach mental health and substance abuse treatment. “The relationship between the mind and body has been systematically ignored in our current health care system, rendering us inefficient at best and arguably irresponsible at worst,” she explains. “It’s truly time for a major overhaul of our system. It’s time for a change.”