How to Create a Therapy Office Your Clients (and You!) Will Love
By Cynthia Blake
As mental health professionals, we invest a great deal of time and energy into ...
selecting the right educational programs,
becoming familiar with licensure requirements,
completing thousands of hours of practice as interns,
pursuing extended, specialized training in our areas of interest,
and staying current on the latest developments in our fields through continuing education.
The space where all that vast knowledge and training are implemented on a daily basis? Not so much.
How our therapy spaces are decorated tends to be little more than an afterthought. Oh sure, most therapists’ offices have the basic sofa, table, chair, desk setup but here are some essential elements that can easily be added to transform your space from basic to A PLACE YOUR CLIENTS (AND YOU!) WILL LOVE!
Form, function and feeling
- Think about how you want clients to feel during their time spent in your office because this will likely influence the colors you choose.
Do you want clients to feel empowered? Confident? Inspired? Relieved? Reassured? Calm?
Don’t be afraid to use bold colors if they fit your personality and approach to therapy!
- When choosing décor for walls, include images and textures that appeal to you. You’re going to be spending a lot of time here and you want to
feel inspired too.
- Arrange favorite books neatly in a bookcase or on wall-mounted shelves.
- Include both soft and firm surfaces when choosing seating. That soft sofa that you sink into might be great for some clients but could be hard for others to get up from.
- Have some soft, huggable pillows available. Many clients tend to grab a pillow and hug it close, others put them behind their backs for greater comfort. Pillows with something for clients to fidget with such as fringe or tassels can be very effective for reducing anxiety during sessions.
Sight, sound and smell
- Create a cozy spot by adding some plants for interest and a natural element.
- A small fountain adds soothing sounds and can help mask outside noises.
- Consider adding a rug, even over carpet, to help absorb sound.
- Since privacy during sessions is vital, a white noise machine placed outside of the therapy room is a good investment.
Soft music playing in the waiting area can also offer privacy by masking voices from sessions.
- The right lighting can help create a feeling of safety and comfort. Natural light from a window or soft lighting from lamps is best.
Avoid using fluorescent overhead lighting if at all possible.
- When it comes to scent, the lighter the better. Some clients are very sensitive to smells, especially from candles or incense, which tend to produce stronger fragrances.
Comfort for all
- Make sure boxes of tissue and a small trash can are within easy reach for clients.
- Having bottled water available to clients in the waiting area or your office is a warm and welcoming touch that is usually greatly appreciated.
Even the smallest of offices can feel like a retreat with some or all of these elements in place. Look online for ideas but be sure to add your own personal touch as well. Most of all, HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE PROCESS of creating a space your clients and you will love to be.
MSBHC seeks to connect military spouses with their peers in order to gain and give support and to share knowledge and best practices with each other. What is your key ingredient for a welcoming office?
Having lived the life of a military spouse for 21 years, Cynthia Blake is passionate about helping military spouses navigate the unique challenges of military life. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC) in private practice, serving the El Paso/Fort Bliss, Texas communities.