The first time I ventured into private practice (back in 1991), no one talked to me about what a counselor’s office should look like – not a peer, not a professor, and not a supervisor. Over the last 30 years in mental health, I’ve worked in a dingy old office in a building that also housed a variety of rodents, a beautifully appointed office in an upscale building that overlooked a manicured pond, an short-on-space office that required sharing a desk with a colleague, an office that consisted of just my own lap, and a home office. I suspect that many of you more seasoned therapists have had your professional lives housed in a variety of spaces, too.
It occurs to me that psychotherapists still in training and those who have only recently ventured outside of academia may not be familiar with the locations, furnishings and decor of “real” therapists. With that in mind, I thought you might find it interesting to read this article from The New York Times (back in 2008) called “What’s in a Chair” by Penelope Green. It’s a fun and interesting glimpse into the ideas, assumptions, and possible blind spots of psyhotherapists and the possible implications of choices we make related to the spaces we choose to work in.
And, in a more visual format, I’ve started a Pinterest board specifically related to Private Practice from the Inside Out. It’s still in the beta phase of experimentation but the idea is to provide visual representations of information and inspiration for you as you build your private practice. With that in mind, I’ve posted images of different therapists’ offices. If you are curious about my experiment with Pinterest or want to peek in on your colleagues’ worksites, . . . you can take a moment to check out my Pinterest board here.
If you find Penelope’s article and / or my Pinterest board for Private Practice from the Inside Out to be useful, I hope you will drop back in here to share your thoughts about (and photos, too) of your own work settings.
And, for those of you who have been around for a while, how about sharing some of those lessons learned along the way about how your work spaces affect both you and your client . . . .