"Oh, it wasn't so scary!" or "Wow, it's so bright in here" are common reactions of people who step into my office for the first time. It's not easy to get to your first consultation - figuratively (and literally - it depends on whether you decide to take the elevator or climb the stairs). Expectations and attitudes range from "Man, I sure am going to regret ever going!" to "I'm worried, I don't know where to start. And I don't feel like talking anymore!" to "Come on, let's get started so it'll be over faster!"
BUT, once one gets comfortable on the soft couch, in a cozy atmosphere filled with light and beautiful, handcrafted details, the sigh of relief comes somewhat naturally. The therapist's smile is also not to be underestimated. We are used to seeing the couch as a symbol of therapy, but in fact, the overall décor in a therapist office is extremely important to the client's experience. Research shows that having a personal element of the therapist in the space influences the positive attitude of the person seeking support. Perceiving the psychologist or therapist as a human being actually helps a lot in the work. In my office, there are a few more personal details - drawings of my children and decoupage-decorated crate-stands for books and other decorative items. More than once people have asked me questions about these decorations - it's a pleasure to share what I like to do in my spare time, and to talk, if it comes up, about my children's drawings.
BUT, once one gets comfortable on the soft couch, in a cozy atmosphere filled with light and beautiful, handcrafted details, the sigh of relief comes somewhat naturally.
The personal vinyls on the wall also pique curiosity, and the themes around childhood and the stories that were part of growing up, for some of the clients as well as mine, always bring interesting information. Even teenagers have something to share - vintage vinyls are for them :). The bird painting was a very precious gift from a creative and unconventional teen - a former student of mine who painted it especially for my office.
It is clear that every detail carries information - is it tidy, is there chaos, is it dark, is there anywhere to leave one's bag, is there a clock, are there unnecessary and stressful sounds, how does the study smell. This space lays the foundation for an interaction between therapist and client on which to build with therapeutic work. Is it nice to have a clock? There is one in my office for my convenience - it is placed so that mainly I can see it. But again this is a detail that is up to the therapist.
Wall color may be a point of discussion among professionals, but so far there hasn't been anyone who has reacted negatively to the soft orange. In any case, it is better to avoid colours that remind people of institutions, hospitals and unwelcoming places. This will generate negative feelings in a large number of customers.
It is clear that every detail carries information - is it tidy, is there chaos, is it dark, is there anywhere to leave one's bag, is there a clock, are there unnecessary and stressful sounds, how does the study smell.
Depending on whether you are counseling an individual, a couple, or a family, it is a good idea to provide ample space for clients and the freedom to choose where to be accommodated.
When we think about the interaction between client and therapist, we must not forget about the setting in which it takes place. Everything matters. Clients also develop an attachment to certain details in the office and this provides good grounds for exploring current emotions, issues, problems.
I allowed myself to put one message on the wall with a favourite thought: "Mistakes are the proof that we are trying" We are only human, right?