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Inception: A new mental health gym in metro Detroit uses therapies to help with anxiety, grief, and trauma

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 06:00:03-05

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The majority of Americans believe the US is facing a mental health crisis and the resources for those struggling are proving insufficient to meet the demand.

That’s why one local facility is getting quite the fanfare.

It bills itself as a mental health gym, a first-of-its-kind concept that uses a combination of therapies to help those struggling with anxiety, grief, and trauma by addressing the nervous system.

Today, you’re coming with me to the gym, but no need to change into workout clothes or weight train because this is a gym for the mind.

“We have a tool kit for people who can come in during times of suffering,” said Inception Founder David McCullar.

Welcome to Inception, the facility nationally recognized as an alternative way to take on life’s stress, grief, and trauma.

“It’s a magnetic therapy, really helpful with inflammation, helping the nervous system go into rest and digest,” said McCullar. "This is the next 30 min of neurofeedback. Next is floatation therapy, aka sensory deprivation, aka digital detox.”

Much like a regular gym here, you rely on circuit training, but for your nervous system. Science- supporting its ability to reduce the fight or flight stress response which, if unaddressed, can significantly impair your health.

WXYZ’s Ameera David asked, “How did you get pulled into this?”

“Panic attacks,” said McCullar.

David McCullar founded Inception out of necessity after a back injury sent him into a spiral of anxiety and depression.

“There’s a real demand for this therapy. Currently, because people are starting to get awareness that they have mental health issues,” said McCullar.

A recent CNN poll shows more than one in five adults now describe their mental health as only “fair” or “poor.” For Inception that is meant a boost in interest.

“Our schedule became packed,” said McCullar.

“Is this the future?” asked David.

“Yeah, this is the future and you guys have finally caught up with me,” said McCullar.

Long before our 7 Action News cameras “caught up” Jason Wilson did.

“Trauma was a major issue with so many of the boys I was working with,” said Inception visitor Jason Wilson.

Wilson is the founder of the Theyunion a non-profit helping young boys through martial arts and other therapies. In 2014, he began finding it difficult to lead as he dealt with his own internal challenge: his mother’s worsening dementia.

“Really the first love deteriorating right before your very eyes,” said Wilson.

But in an unexpected place, he says he found healing.

“Dealing with my own trauma I was able to help the boys that I work with,” said Wilson.

The concept of healing the mind is catching on. Look at this here in Southwest Detroit, it’s become another tool in the fight to help at-risk youth.

Inception now has a reset station at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation aiming to help inner city & immigrant communities.

“There’s a lot of violence, substance abuse, fear of immigration, deportation,” said Lex Zavala of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC).

Today, the DHDC, through a grant from the Skillman Foundation, offers neurofeedback, magnetic and red-light therapy for kids and young adults.

“We have to address these traumas before they enter the workforce, college, so they can build healthy relationships,” said Zavala. “And avoid coping by using drugs and alcohol.”

“That’s how you’re self-soothing and all we’re saying is here’s some better coping strategies to help you regulate,” McCullar.

Inception has plans of expanding into other cities. In the meantime, the DHDC will be broadening its services to returning citizens, former prisoners transitioning back into communities.