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Meet Kaitlin and Paul Kindman of Kindman & Co. in Echo Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaitlin and Paul Kindman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Kaitlin: It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I worked in fashion for a while and tried some other gigs, before realizing that it felt important to do something where I could have an impact and make a small difference in the world. I realized that one of the things I have always enjoyed and felt I am good at is holding space for people and having curiosity and empathy for peoples’ experiences. I went to school in NYC, but decided to come back to LA-which is home for me-when I was thinking about where I’d want to build my career and stay for a while.

Paul: Growing up in Los Angeles, I had no clue what I wanted to be and how to possibly choose a profession in a country where I was constantly told: “anything was possible.” In college, I gravitated toward psychology as a major because I was (and continue to be) fascinated by human beings and our ability to change, adapt, and cope. I’m certain that being raised by a single mom in an immigrant Jewish family from the former Soviet Union was a big contributor to this fascination. We got a lot of help when we arrived in this country, and I knew that I wanted to give back in some way. I continued to study psychology in graduate school and learned how to apply what I learned on a community level at the Relational Center. I worked for non-profit organizations for the entirety of my professional career until Kaitlin and I started our practice – which I still see as my way to give back and contribute something positive to my community.

We were brought together through a local non-profit community counseling center, The Relational Center, where we both spent time training to be therapists and gaining our clinical hours for licensure, though at different times. We met almost a year before we started dating and I (Kaitlin) thought he was super cute. He maintains that he didn’t think anything about me at first, but after running into each other a number of times, I slowly wore him down!

After a brief long-distance relationship from opposite sides of Los Angeles, we moved in together and began raising a furry family of cats (and eventually added a dog, Weezie). From the very beginning of our relationship, we fantasized about one day creating something together and blending our professional lives, which up until recently, were spent separately working for non-profit community organizations. A week before our marriage, we officially founded Kindman & Company, our group psychotherapy practice.

Starting our own business has felt very risky and we weren’t sure if we’d get any clients! Instead, we’ve been lucky enough to quickly build our practice and it has been affirming to get feedback from many people about how they had been looking for a long time for therapists who are transparent about their values and stand up for social justice. Though it’s a more radical approach, it seems like speaking openly about who we are and what we stand for has served us to get where we are, because people want to know who their therapist is!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Have you ever been married to your colleague or business partner? If so, enough said. If not, you can probably imagine how it’s really cool in some ways and incredibly challenging in others. The beauty of running a shared practice is that we get to spend a lot of time together and that we enjoy each others’ company. We also are pretty different and have diverse skills that complement each other well. But it also means that when we inevitably have a conflict, it’s hard to get space away from each other!

Over time, we’ve started to get better at delineating what role each of us plays in running the administrative aspects of the business and the tasks and responsibilities each of us holds, rather than both of us trying to do everything. Plus I’m (Kaitlin) the CEO, so I get to be the ultimate boss! 😉 Another challenge is that because we run the business just the two of us, when things are happening in our personal life (family stuff, pet stuff, additional stresses, etc.), we both get pretty burnt out because we also support each other emotionally as life partners. That often means neither of us has much capacity for the business stuff and there’s no one else to step in and lean on to make things run. We’re still figuring this part out and right now, it often means lots of pizza (because it provides all kinds of nourishment)!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kindman & Co. – what should we know?
Kindman & Co. provides therapy to individuals, couples/intimate partnerships, families, and groups. Informed by our training at The Relational Center, part of our mission in creating our practice was to set out to offer a new, more radical form of therapy. We want to move away from the traditional idea of the therapist as a “blank slate” to one where the therapist is a real person with real values and real humanity. The industry standard has been that clients don’t get to know much about their therapist-what they care about, their relationships, etc. As relationally-informed therapists, we recognize that it’s uncomfortable and even unsafe to share vulnerably about yourself when you know very little about the person sitting across from you. We believe that the most powerful avenue for healing and growth in therapy is the relationship between the therapist and client itself, and thus our approach emphasizes building trust, vulnerability, and connection within this relationship. In real life, most of us would caution against relationships that feel one-sided, right? Why have we been okay with this in therapy?!

We are LGBTQ+ affirming therapists welcoming of clients with creative relationship structures and experiences, as well as blended families and families-of-choice. We are feminist-identified therapists who pride ourselves on being values-forward, outspoken against discrimination and systemic oppression and promote empathy and curiosity about experiences different from our own. We teach our clients to do this as well and encourage them to take up leadership to help change our culture.

What’s something that sets us apart? Co-Therapy! When we were falling in love and started dreaming about having a practice together, this was the aspect we felt most excited about. Co-therapy involves both of us (Kaitlin & Paul) working together with couples/intimate partnerships in the same room at the same time. We’ve only been offering this service for a few months, and we’re definitely still learning, but it’s the area where we get to best make use of being two therapists who are also married. We believe that the format of co-therapy helps us to combat some of the fears people have around traditional relationship therapy. It creates more balance, promotes the feeling that someone’s on your side, and gives us opportunities in real-time to model effective communication and tools for deepening connection.

Despite working in private practice, we strive to provide access to therapy for those who might otherwise be unable to afford our services and are thrilled to have recently hired three associate level therapists to join our practice. Putting the “& Co.” in “Kindman & Co.”, Shaina, Tamala, and Tina help us to offer services to more people seeking social justice-informed and relationship-driven therapy.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
When I was eight years old, my mom and I immigrated to Los Angeles from Ukraine in the former Soviet Union. We left my grandparents and uncle behind and saying goodbye was incredibly challenging and painful because our family was (and is) so tightly knit. It took two and a half years to finally get them through the immigration process, to join us. I remember going to pick them up at LAX, standing and waiting for what seemed like hours for them to appear at the end of the long hallways at Tom Bradley International Terminal (I’m not sure if it was called that yet in 1995). I remember finally seeing their figures from a distance and my heart filling up with incredible joy and excitement. Running into their arms and hugging them, tears of joy all around, has to be one of my favorite memories. – Paul

Pricing:

  • We offer therapy for individuals at $175 per session, and therapy for couples/intimate partnerships starting at $200 depending on session length and therapist. We work with our clients Monday-Thursday at our Echo Park office.
  • Our group therapy offerings generally cost $50 per session, and vary throughout the year. Paul is currently screening potential participants for his “Detoxing Masculinity” group, slated to begin next month on Wednesday evenings. Tamala is also planning a Trauma Process Group for LGBTQIA+ individuals to start in June!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All photos by the immensely talented Wanderlust Creatives (https://www.instagram.com/wanderlustcreatives/)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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