While society has come a long way with normalizing discussions surrounding mental health, there’s still a deep-rooted stigma, as well as a general lack of knowledge surrounding treatment, that prevents people from seeking the help they need. In 2019, the desire “to play a part in expanding the conversation about mental health in a playful, creative, open way” drove Jennifer Flores to create Interior Design Firm: A Psychotherapy Practice. Located on Riverside Drive, the firm helps adults, teens, couples and families work through trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship issues and more. Flores and her team of professional therapists “join with patients to carefully explore their own minds, interior lives and inner worlds with great care, curiosity and attention” to help people improve themselves, their relationships and their lives.
“We listen and observe carefully to explore people’s unique stories and ways of organizing their minds and sense of self in conscious and unconscious ways and bring those to the forefront in the therapeutic relationship,” Flores says. “When we bring those thoughts, experiences, emotions and ideas about ourselves into a non-shaming space, we can explore them together and figure out what’s true, what’s not, what should be discarded and what should be held onto and strengthened.”
With years of clinical experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist, Flores previously practiced in Pasadena but quickly discovered that Toluca Lake was the “perfect Goldilocks of locations — it’s not too far for my Pasadena-based patients, it’s closer to home for me and it’s easy access to Studio City, Hollywood, several local studios and surrounding locations that many people frequent,” she says. “It wasn’t until I relocated my practice to this area that I realized it had far more to offer beyond its convenient location. There are great restaurants, shops, kind people, safety and a sense of pride in the community. It has big-city offerings with a small-town feel.”
Since putting down roots in the heart of Toluca Lake over two years ago, Interior Design Firm has been a source of hope and inspiration for countless residents in need. “We handle each situation with extreme care, respect and a type of listening that you don’t get from friends or loved ones,” Flores says. “We listen to what patients say and what they don’t say. We think about the state they’re currently in, what they might have been like as babies, what their parents might have been like and what their underlying hurt or need may be.”
In a time when the effects of the pandemic have caused Interior Design Firm to receive more inquiries from first-time patients than ever before, Flores believes the firm’s role in the community has increased exponentially.
“Couples and families’ work, school and personal lives all got consolidated into one location, and that was for the lucky people who could keep working,” Flores explains. “With the increased isolation demanded by COVID-19 and the associated safety protocols, we lost the typical healthy ways of coping with stress, such as connecting with friends, exercising and being outside in nature.”
Whether someone is struggling with anxiety, managing life transitions or just wants to speak confidentially with a trained professional, Interior Design Firm wants community members to know it’s here to help. “We engage in a uniquely close relationship with patients with the aim of helping them understand themselves more fully, locate where they may be stuck and engage in the process of developing a sense of self that is mostly positive and based in reality,” Flores says. “Our role is to be a resource for all Toluca Lake residents, so we want to build connections one-on-one with each and every patient who walks through our office door.”