Our sense of smell, our sense of self.
Neuroscience makes clear that scent, emotion, and memory are intertwined. Just take a look at our brain’s anatomy.
Smells are handled by the olfactory bulb, which starts inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. Odors take a direct route to the limbic system, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, key brain regions involved in emotion and memory.
Scientifically speaking, fragrance has the power to evoke emotions and transport us back in time. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, we delve further into this link between memory and smell, exploring the unresolved emotions of our past experiences.
WILA’s collaboration with candle maker Flores Lane
This inextricable link was the inspiration between our collaboration with Flores Lane, a local candle company in West Hollywood, CA. Together we created a collection of customized candles that not only provide the immediate calming benefits of aromatherapy, but also some education around psychotherapy.
Flores Lane was founded by Trish Baden. In 2010, Baden was diagnosed with late-stage neurological Lyme disease. Unable to leave the house, the diagnosis left her feeling “alone and sick”. In this state of isolation, Baden realized burning candles became a way to self-soothe. The experience inspired her to launch Flores Lane, a candle company founded on the idea of sustainable luxury.
In 2020, Baden and WILA’s very own Dr. Aimee Martinez launched a line of candles, Making Scents of Mental Health, aimed to provide a source of comfort and olfactory joy to individuals interested in psychological themes and looking for some psychological relief. That line of candles turned out to be a popular go-to gift to self and others, thanks to its nod to mental health along with the practical use that candles carry.
This year, in honor of 2021’s End of Year Give, WILA collaborated once again with Baden to create a new line of candles inspired by defense mechanisms. The limited-edition series includes “Stay in Your Head” (intellectualization), “It’s Not Me, It’s You” (projection), “Burn This Instead” (sublimation), “I Hate You, I Love You” (splitting), and “Everything’s Fine” (denial).
“Stay In Your Head” will fill your space with scents of black tea and gingered bergamot. Intellectualization wards off intolerable feelings through a whole lot of abstraction. Distance yourself from unwieldy emotions by conceptualizing and philosophizing. This candle caters to thinking, not feeling.
“It’s Not Me, It’s You” emits aromas of carnation and Egyptian amber. Burn this candle and disavow painful emotions by projecting them on to someone else.
Inspired by sublimation, “Burn This Instead” is a fragrant medley of rose, French lime blossom and black pepper. Sublimate potentially damaging impulses (burning the house down) by redirecting them through a socially acceptable alternative (burning this candle instead).
Splitting attempts to protect the bad from ruining the good, as it can feel too terrifying to hold both together, too difficult to feel “Both/And.” “I Hate You, I Love You” will have you basking in scents of lemon and sea-salt; you’ll be transported to simpler times, no grey area, no in-between.
As a defense mechanism, denial aids us in avoiding the pain of what is. “Everything’s Fine” will have you taking in an aromatic bouquet of Palo Santo and lavender. Go ahead, buy those rose-colored glasses on your maxed out credit card. Sign that lease in La-La Land. A percentage of each purchase of candles is directly donated to WILA and its ongoing efforts to provide affordable mental health services to our community here in Los Angeles.
Your nose knows – get the benefits of aromatherapy along with the knowledge that your purchase will directly impact mental health services to our community members.
The loss of smell has become a hallmark symptom of the Coronavirus. Perhaps now, more than any other time in recent history, our collective attention has been turned towards the gift that is our sense of smell.
This year, as a part of our campaign for our End of Year Give, please join us in our collaboration with Flores Lane and browse our limited series here. With every purchase for yourself or for others in your life during this holiday season, you will know that you are both celebrating our precious sense of smell and helping WILA in continuing to provide quality mental health services in our community.