Live Happier Loft Wants to Help You Do Just That

Michelle Sullivan
Nancy Jane Smith

There's a stigma around mental health therapy, and Nancy Jane Smith doesn't understand why.

"It's OK to get Botox, and it's OK to dye the gray hairs, but it's not OK to see a therapist if you need a little help getting back to your happiest self?" asks Smith, a licensed professional counselor. "We're human, and this stuff is hard."

Enter Live Happier Loft. In her cozy, second-floor studio in Grandview, Smith and a small team of counselors, coaches and nutritionists offer classes and group discussions (tailored for, but not limited to, women) on topics ranging from reducing anxiety and stress management to relationships and healthy cooking. Smith, who has been in private practice as a counselor for nearly a decade, opened the loft last year. She had been hosting occasional wine nights at a local restaurant for her clients, during which, she says, "I'd talk about a topic, and everyone would enjoy a wine tasting. I saw how much women need that interaction-just to meet and talk about things." Her loft space-chicly decorated with soft lighting, cushy chairs and mint-green walls-serves that purpose.

Some of Live Happier's classes could be considered group therapy, but don't get the wrong idea. "Some places are super touchy-feely, pour-your-heart-out," she says. "Mine has a spa energy, without the find-your-spirit-animal vibe." And don't hear "therapy" and think she'll try to fix you, either.

"The typical thinking in the psychology world is, 'You're broken, so let me fix you,' " Smith says. "We're all a little dysfunctional. I help people realize they can do it themselves."