What do you think of when you hear “therapist office?” Maybe it’s a wall full of book shelves or a plush leather chaise. It’s certainly not “Dang, where’d you get that pendant lamp?” Until now, that is.
Alma is a startup that’s giving therapy the high-design treatment. The company, which is designed to make it easy for therapists to start their own practice by providing them with space, technology, and business infrastructure, recently opened its first center in Midtown Manhattan, and it looks more like a hotel lobby than a doctor’s office waiting room.
Taking a page from WeWork’s membership model, Alma allows therapists who are part of its vetted network to book time in one of the office’s 16 soundproof session rooms. The rooms are outfitted with modern furniture, patterned rugs, and stylish art and pillows. They’re painted in a saturated hues that were chosen by interior designer Lauren Spear for their calming properties.
All of the rooms have the same furniture and artwork—the idea, according to Alma’s founder Dr. Harry Ritter, is to make sure patients feel like they’re in a familiar place no matter what room they end up in during their visit.
It’s a small but thoughtful detail that’s echoed across the space, from the meditation pods that feature Headspace guidance to the waiting room where seating is arranged to give patients maximum privacy.
The designification of therapy is a smart move. As we’ve seen with concierge medical services like One Medical, people are willing to pay for a nice waiting room and a little extra attention to detail. Alma is positioning itself as a stylish, convenient alternative to the messy process of finding a therapist, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.