As a therapist, you should know that your office decor sets the tone of the therapy session, and it also affects the way your clients feel. You don’t need to be an expert at interior decor, all you need are a few knick-knacks to help create a clinically friendly environment. Here are some tips you can use to make your space welcoming to potential and existing clients.
Ensure your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) is in good repair.
If you’re renting your office space, figure out how long the building’s HVAC system stays on beyond regular office hours. Do this to make sure the building has a working air-conditioner during the night and the weekends. Alternatively, if you’re using an old thermostat, replacing it or upgrading to a smart thermostat can also help to improve the indoor air quality at your practice. Other benefits you can expect when you replace your thermostat include lower energy bills, accurate thermostat readings, and easy-to-use features that make it easier for you to regulate temperatures (as with newer programmable thermostats).
Expand the range of services that you offer.
As a therapist, you probably have a niche area of practice. If you specialize in couples therapy, for instance, take some time to evaluate how inclusive your services are. Inclusive therapists offer a culturally conscious and responsive approach to therapy that extends itself to center the needs of people of color, the LGBTQ community, and other minority groups. To offer more inclusive and impactful therapy services, consider amplifying the voices of LGBTQ couples by offering gay couples counseling and gay-friendly care.
Gay relationships face unique challenges, and gay-friendly therapists can help same-sex couples work through these unique relationship issues. Even though same-sex marriage is legal in all states across the United States, gay couples still face stigma and homophobic intolerance from society. Because of this layered stigma, gay and lesbian couples may need extra care for the trauma and mental health disorders that develop from this treatment.
Beyond this, elements of domestic violence and addiction are issues that can trouble same-sex couples. With empathy and care, gay-friendly psychologists can offer same-sex couples a safe space to work through their issues and create positive change and fulfilling relationships for those concerned.
Pick a plant that’s easy to maintain.
Indoor plants create an environment that allows people to relax and feel comfortable. Understanding this, adding some easy-to-care-for plants in your office can help create a calm and safe space for your clients. Plants are also a great conversation starter and can help increase an individual’s comfort level, especially during a first-time session. If you’re not so great at caring for plants, consider easy-to-care-for plants like succulents. Succulents require minimal attention, and their unique shapes can offer patients something to focus on during a difficult therapy session.
Sprinkle the room with soft design elements.
Soft design elements like throw pillows can instantly make any space feel more welcoming. Luckily, most home improvement stores have affordable soft pillow options, so you needn’t feel like you’re spending too much on decor. When choosing pillowcases, remember to avoid fabrics that may feel scratchy or uncomfortable to the touch.
Find creative ways to incorporate comforting props.
Even if your therapy practice doesn’t offer animal-assisted therapy, including a bit of animal interaction in your practice can help with improving your office’s ambiance. An easy option for this would be to incorporate a fish tank. Fish tanks produce soothing ambient noise, and studies show that watching live fish can improve an individual’s mood by reducing their heart rate. Knowing this, consider adding a small fish tank to give your patients something relaxing to ease them through the difficult process of doing their emotional work.