FP fans, meet Kristi Patterson, a therapist in Spring, TX!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
The building I lease my space in is ultra modern, so I tried to keep a similar modern, yet somewhat cozy feel.
I purposely did not choose plastic toys, feminine colors and I tried to choose items that matched my color scheme. I chose slate blue and white, with silver accents as my colors so that my male clients would feel as comfortable as my female clients.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
My main goal was to create a space that feels safe, serene and inviting to all ages. I always have soothing meditational music playing and will often light candles when I see adults.
The harsh overhead lighting is turned off and I have multiple lamps that offer soft, relaxed lighting.
When I facilitate play therapy, I will often make the room brighter for a more energized and kid friendly feel.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
I offer bottled water to all clients, and I always have gum handy for the stress reducing effect the chewing provides if nervous clients need help relaxing.
I have a soft blanket and plush pillows for clients to place behind them or embrace as they sit on the couches.
For children and adolescents, I pull out relaxation toys to fidget with, or I will bring out Playdoh, Silly Putty, and craft/art materials during “talk time.”
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
I designed my office and my handy husband painted the walls and put together furniture.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to utilize the space with the amount of stuff I wanted to have in my office. Since I am a family therapist, I want to make sure I have enough seating when I see multiple family members.
Because I also see children, I needed furniture that moves. I purchased cube file/storage cabinets that double as seating that rolls and my sand tray is on wheels. I made sure that my sand tray has a lid so that I can also use it as a table for game or art time.
Because I am a play therapist, it is imperative that I have all the toys that would be expected in a play therapy office. So again I had to really plan how to use my space wisely.
I have toys, therapy games, and art/craft supplies in every nook and cranny. I also have a wide selection of sand tray miniatures for my sand tray that I use with all ages.
It was really important for me to be able to “hide” the miniatures so that my office does not appear cluttered and chaotic. In my mind cluttered surroundings can make your mind feel cluttered. When I facilitate play therapy, I spread toys all over the room.
5) ANY ADVICE FOR THERAPISTS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT AND DESIGNING THEIR OFFICE FOR THE FIRST TIME, OR SEASONED THERAPISTS LOOKING TO REDESIGN THEIR OFFICES?
My advice for therapists considering how to create or update their space is to create a space that reflects who they are and to create a space they would feel comfortable being in for hours at a time.
Spending a little extra money to make my space how I wanted it (for now) was well worth it. Not spending too much was well worth it for my bank account.
On a personal note, one of the decisions I spent hours agonizing over regarding my space was whether I could handle not having a window in my office. Because I see all ages and facilitate play therapy, I needed a space that was large enough to hold my stuff, yet affordable enough that I can still work part time and lead the balanced life I crave for myself and family.
Thus, I chose the affordable, larger space with no windows versus the more expensive office with windows. I purposely had pictures framed that show water and nature to reduce the stuffy feel a windowless office might emanate.
At this point, the windowless office works well because of the amount of furniture that touches my walls. I have had clients tell me they prefer no window as they reported the closed space feels more confidential than an office with a window.
I had one person state that he would not want to get a therapeutic massage in a space with windows and he would prefer his talk therapy to be in a similar, darker setting.
Having said that, I may or may not splurge for the windowed office some day. For now, I am happy – and happy is a good place to be!
Kristi Patterson is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) & Registered Play Therapist in Spring, TX…
You can learn more about her practice at:
Kristi Patterson Family & Play Therapy, PLLC on Facebook