Some studies refer to how people perceive their environment as “non-conscious.” They may be aware of their surroundings but not realize how their surroundings affect how they feel or behave. Depending on their practice, a therapist may want to create a space that connotes openness and healing. Others may wish to convey more structure and security.
Either way, research indicates that decor should promote the right level of arousal. It should not over- or understimulate. You may be opening your first office or moving into a new space. Regardless, how you decorate and arrange your office could influence the therapeutic relationship before anyone begins speaking. Keeping these tips in mind when you decorate your office may help maximize your productivity and enhance the benefits of therapy for the people in your sessions.
CHOOSING AN OFFICE
One recent study found that a blue-teal combination was most comforting to people. Another study found that color can help bring out introversion and extroversion. Consider the color of the walls and what color may invoke in tandem with the structure of the space. Dark colors may feel suffocating, while neon colors may be overwhelming. Warm colors may stimulate and invigorate, while cool colors can invoke relaxation and subtlety. Cool colors may also inspire fatigue or sadness. Balance is key! If you cannot paint your walls, color can be incorporated through other means. Rugs, art, furniture, and other decor may help adjust the mood.
Think about the effects of shape and size when selecting your office space. Does it have many small nooks, or is it open with less barriers? Sitting in a confined space can feel safe for some but bring on feelings of claustrophobia for others. Studies have found that an open space and high ceilings may be more conducive to emotional exploration. But too large of a room can negatively impact how people interact. This could actively discourage people from opening up during a session. In addition, a small office with big windows that look out over a beautiful view will have a much different effect than a larger
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