Historic Home Becomes Healing Center


When licensed Master and Clinical Social Worker Penny Navis-Schmidt moved her practice to the historic home turned business at 700 W. Main St., she hoped to one day own the property and create a healing center.

"A healing center has been my dream since I have been in Payson," said Navis-Schmidt who moved here in 1979 to begin her counseling career.

In April 2005 her dream came true.

She and husband, Joseph, have been carefully remodeling the 1918 "Hilligas house."

Families and firefighters have lived and worked in the house, she said.

"The stonework in the house is really phenomenal," Navis-Schmidt said.

Rocks were apparently hauled from the river to build parts of the house and the fireplace in the living room.

"We discovered a second stone chimney when we were insulating the attic. One day we would like to uncover it and put a wood-burning stove back in the kitchen. We've heard many different things about the cellar. We've heard that they bootlegged down there and that before Julia Randall Elementary School was built they taught school in the cellar."

The cellar is empty now.

Decorating the offices with just the right pieces has been fun for Navis-Schmidt.


Penny Navis-Schmidt has moved her practice to the historic home at 700 W. Main St.

"I've had this great six months of yard-sale-ing and consignment shopping looking for great finds, old pieces of furniture and things. It was kind of a hodge podge before, and I wanted to get it back to that old homey feeling," she said of the property, which is part of the Main Street restoration project.

Navis-Schmidt wanted a place where licensed therapists could offer their patients a variety of mental and physical health options.

Currently there are six other therapists working out of the center.

"I love being a part of their dream," Navis-Schmidt said.

M. Joan Munley, a nurse psychotherapist, started holding a women's empowerment group last summer, based on the book "A Year By the Sea." She will start another group in January.

Marilyn Kieffer-Andrews is a psychiatric nurse practitioner with more than 16 years of experience and a doctorate in clinical psychology. In addition to counseling individuals and couples, she provides mental and health medication management services.

Selene Lee is a massage therapist and Reiki master. She does corporate chair massages and Reiki bodywork.

"I became interested in the healing arts when I went through a series of health issues in which Reiki, combined with traditional medicine, helped me heal faster," she said.

Dr. Lorraine Sumegi is a nurse practitioner and naturopathic medical doctor.

"The biggest challenges facing all medical professionals in today's world are to identify and treat persons with chronic illness due to ... toxins," Sumegi said.

Her two professions give her a unique perspective that allows her to combine the best from both worlds of medicine, she said.

Lori Martinez is a personal and independent substance abuse counselor who said she has provided behavioral health services to youth, adults and families for the past 20 years. She offers home-based and office services.

Shannon K. Spellman is a clinical social worker, independent substance abuse counselor and marriage and family therapist with more than 25 years of clinical experience.

"What I love about this, is that I can offer people just a huge range of services from bodywork to alternative medicine," Navis-Schmidt said.

In addition to the office and home-based counseling and social work she offers her clients, during summer, Navis-Schmidt will be able to teach the breath and movement exercise modality Qigong in the back yard of the property. Qigong is a great way to increase vitality, balance and overall well-being, she said. People can benefit from the exercise even if they must do it seated, she explained.

Although it is impossible for one client not to see another, client confidentiality is of the utmost importance to Navis-Schmidt.

She said, "I've been here 25 years; at Rim Guidance Center for 13 years, then in private practice since then. I know how important confidentiality is. I wouldn't be in practice now if I didn't honor that with my clients, especially because the town is so small."

Protecting and respecting that confidentiality is one of the reasons there is not a sign out front with the center's name on it.

For appointments with any of the therapists, contact (928) 474-8628.

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