Clinical therapy rooms

My Sacred Space blog

As I laid on the couch during my acupuncture session, I was struck with a disconcerting feeling of weightlessness, followed closely by panic. This isn’t unusual when you suffer with dissociative symptoms, but my gut was telling me I just didn’t feel comfortable in the room.

Looking up from my position, all I could see was a vast white ceiling and a chandelier that looked like it should be in a dining room. There was nothing that made me feel I was in a healing, therapeutic space.

It was as if the white ceiling seemed to be drawing me in, and I was staring into an empty abyss. The couch had been raised up fairly high, reminiscent of those terrifying trips to the dentist as a child. I was laying there with my anxious thoughts. Nothing in the environment either distracted or soothed my senses.

I totally get that working from home as a therapist means that we must often set up our treatment rooms in an existing area of the house. But we often neglect to think about how it could be designed differently, to create a welcoming, grounding, and zen-like ambience for the benefit of our clients.

When you think about the difficult mindset some clients enter with, it’s important they feel they’re entering a space of comfort. Sure, some of those elements regarded as comforting may be personal to the individual, but there are universal factors we can consider.

Take counselling for instance, the client already arrives into the room with a sense of unease. Researching agencies, I’m struck by how bare and uninviting these therapeutic spaces can be; bright white fluorescent light, an uncomfortable sofa or a “school-like”
chair, commercialised artwork, cold and hard floors, no plants, and no soft furnishings. Through my own experience of counselling, it can feel like you and the counsellor are two islands floating in space, and that’s not a good foundation on which to build a therapeutic relationship.

Now, I know a lot of this has to do with money. Many agencies are charity-based, meaning that they simply do not have the funds to dedicate to anything other than the premises and the skeleton team. There is nothing left for spatial design.

And I personally want to bridge the gap here. Interior design doesn’t have to be costly. At My Sacred Space we love to reuse and repurpose what you already have and get on a hunt for bargains. Not only that, but we are passionate about fundraising for mental health, and shining a light on the unmet needs of these valuable therapeutic professions.

Whether you are a self-employed therapist working from home, or a struggling charity with little spare, we will find a way to achieve it.

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Nichola Hayler

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