Office decoration is vital to the therapeutic process. The environment that you create in your office has a much larger impact on your clients than you might realize. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of tactful office design and ideas for how to create the right therapeutic atmosphere.
Seeking help from a mental health professional can be an extremely emotional experience for clients. No matter their background, personality, uniqueness, or history, each person faces emotional issues in their life when they go to therapy.
Clients that make the decision to seek professional help are brave for getting the attention they need in order to take care of their mental health.
The way your office is designed has an impact on the emotional experience of your clients. Different settings can evoke different emotions and responses that ultimately impact their experience.
Using tactful therapeutic office decoration can be a tool to help you client feel comfortable and at ease when they sit in your office. While therapists might want to decorate their office in a way that reflects their own personality, they must always put the needs of the client first in this setting. Clients need to feel comfortable in your office so that they know it is a safe place to open up and discuss their lives.
Different kinds of designs can evoke different responses from patients. For example, a room that is colorful, busy, or loud can evoke more anxious or distracted responses from patients. There is a psychology in interior design that is supported by research. Studies show that human environments can influence emotions.
Elements that impact mood include:
There is an art to therapeutic design that providers need to take into consideration when structuring their office environment. For example, some of the most calming and comfortable environments for mental health clients include cool, calm colors, lots of light, and clean/uncluttered space.
Think earth tones and light shades of the colors you love. Your office can still reflect you as a therapist. Just take the color you love and find lighter, toned-down versions of those colors to use in your office.
If you are not sure where to start, cool tones and earth tones can both be used to create a calming effect in your office. Providers should lean toward these color pallets when creating a therapeutic office environment and stay away from too many harsh colors like reds or neon colors.
Think about it this way, when your papers were graded in school, what color pen did the teacher always use to show that you got the answer wrong? Red. Colors like these can unintentionally bring out certain responses in clients that disrupt the therapeutic process.
Natural light can be a great way to brighten up a space and make it feel more approachable. Not all therapists are blessed with windows and good lighting in their office, unfortunately. For this reason, providers need to be intentional about the amount of light they have in their room. The goal is to create a comfortable and inviting space that your client can thrive in, not make them feel like they're in a dark and scary dungeon.
Providers who do not have natural light or maybe the light is too harsh in their room should invest in lamps. Lamps placed around different areas of an office can make it feel homey, cozy, and inviting.
Tie in Nature:
For a lot of people, being in nature inspires a unique sense of peace. Tying in nature around your office can be a fantastic way to replicate this kind of peace.
This does not mean therapists need to try and create a forest in their space, but there are some creative ways to bring nature indoors. For example, having plants around the office, pictures of outdoor scenery, or even scents that smell like the outdoors can all help a client connect to the peace that nature inspires.
Nothing is worse than trying to have a conversation with someone and not being able to engage because you are uncomfortable. While it might be tempting to find the most affordable couch or chair for your space, comfort is more important for the client.
Any furniture that your client will use during a session should be comfortable for them so that it does not distract from their experience. Comfortable couches or chairs along with comfy decorative pillows can help them feel like they are talking to you in the comfort of a home rather than in a clinical setting.
Therapeutic office design has a huge impact on the client experience. With the right environment, your client won’t be distracted by their environment and will feel comfortable enough to open up about their lives.