January 4, 2021 Uncategorized 4 Comments

jessica-rios-flores-8

Drawing on her rich experience as a Social Work intern at Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House, Jessica Rios-Flores turned her love of journaling into a publishing venture in 2020.  A life-long believer that writing can help us “uncover truths” Jessica put out “My Self Healing Journal” on Etsy. We caught up with Jessica this month to talk about her time at Freedom House and her latest adventures (she also owns a group private practice called WomenMix, PLLC.*)

BFL: What led you to work at Barrier Free Living’s Freedom House domestic violence shelter? (Virtual tour film of Freedom House)

Jessica: I was always drawn to the helping profession with a passion for helping women and families. In June 2007, I was fortunate to begin my work as a Case Manager in the Housing & Entitlement department at Freedom House (FH). I was accepted to graduate school and had the opportunity to also be a Social Work Intern at FH. I was able to implement and facilitate a discharge planning group called, Beyond Freedom, co-facilitated housing/entitlement workshops for residents and provided counseling to Domestic Violence survivors. Being on staff for two years was a rewarding experience. I was able to work with a team of professionals that were just as dedicated and passionate about helping others. It felt more like a family. Every resident was treated with respect, and love. The entire team went above and beyond for each resident to assure safety.

BFL: What inspired you to write the book (described as a self-guided interactive journal to help you start the healing process) and how did you accomplish that?

Jessica: Journaling has been a powerful tool for me throughout my life. It was a tool I shared with each resident at Freedom House and with the many clients I’ve served throughout the years. It helps you uncover your truths, fears, and experiences without worrying about what others think of you. I’ve always been inspired by helping others see their full potential. Creating this self-guided journal has been a team effort and a labor of love! I hope with “My Self-Healing Journal” (available on Etsy) others can reflect on their experiences, both good and challenging. It is a form of self-expression.

BFL: Did your work at Freedom House contribute to what you share in the journal?

Jessica: Absolutely! I touch on my own experiences growing up to witnessing domestic violence and how journaling helped me. Studies have shown that journaling has the potential to reduce effects of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illness. It has profound healing effects and is a great way to find clarity into your thoughts, emotions and experiences. I’ve worked with many resilient women and families at Freedom House who benefited from journaling. They’ve empowered me to continue my work.

BFL: What do you hope the book achieves?

Jessica: My goal is for others to thrive, despite any challenges along the way. I trust this journaling guide will help others nurture and care for themselves with a holistic approach. A kind reminder that the community we serve is resilient!

Jessica will be donating a portion of book sale proceeds to Barrier Free Living. 

*Jessica owns a group private practice called WomenMix, PLLC. The mission of WomenMix is to “empower women of color and the LGBTQ+ community to overcome trauma grief and old wounds.” WomenMix “blends urban therapists with different expertise who share a common goal of healing and also provides business coaching to therapists.”

4 Comments

  1. Josephine Vasquez 2 weeks Reply

    Dearest Jessica,
    So touching how Freedom House had this impact on you. I miss you dearly as your previous Supervisor at Freedom House. I always told you the potential that I saw in you and the need for you to continue to grow. God Bless with your journey.

    • Barrier Free Living 2 weeks Reply

      A wonderful story!

  2. Wm.R. 1 week Reply

    I will order two copies of your book. One for a friend, a survivor of Domestic Violence, and the other I would like for myself. (Autographed, if you wouldn’t mind.)
    Journaling, as you described, is what I thought I did. However, I don’t know that I could have asked myself the clinical questions, so I look forward to reading your thoughts.
    I’m sure the book is for men to read as well? If not, you better get started on a 2nd edition soon.
    FaceBook post led me to your story, and I knew you had a calling when I heard you give a Eulogy many years ago. You gave me courage and inspiration to write my father’s eulogy, and for that, I am grateful, Thank You

    • Barrier Free Living 1 week Reply

      Thank you so much. We will make sure Jessica sees this!

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