FP fans, meet Jennifer Varley, a therapist in Queens, NY!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
I would say it feels light and fresh. I would also say you can probably tell that I’m a young therapist. It’s the opposite of a stuffy office despite having very limited space.
I made sure I got some of my personality in there with buying a fun colored desk but overall it’s not cluttered which I think is important.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
I’m a trauma therapist so I want my office to be very peaceful and calming. I think the color scheme does that and the natural light also helps.
Moving to an office with a window was non-negotiable for me since my previous space didn’t have any natural light.
I want the vibe to say that it’s a professional space but not in a generic way.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
I have a sound machine to ensure privacy as well and drinks available for my patients. I have blankets and pillows as well.
I also have an essential oil diffuser that is usually running during sessions. The oil I use is a blend called “Grounding” from Young Living and I find that it helps for when I do EMDR work with my trauma/anxiety patients while making the room smell pleasant.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
I designed and decorated my office. This was a challenge as I was moving from an office with a very different shape and size from a neighboring town and I needed to start from scratch with most furniture.
The office itself needed a lot of work but the location was wonderful for NYC (in the heart of a growing neighborhood with multiple forms of public transit) so I was willing to put in the time and energy to revamp the space.
With the help of my Dad we installed a new floor and I re-painted the walls and stained the door to match my furniture. I had a lot of help from my friends too.
When it came to placing the furniture and creating a good flow one of my therapist friends helped. Slowly but surely I got some art on the walls and now it feels complete. I feel at home there.
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?
If you are someone who is working in a larger city or just have very limited space, know that you can get creative in small places.
I would say if this is your challenge be sure to measure more than once. I only found out I needed to replace my furniture because I went into my new space one day with masking tape and taped off where I was thinking things would go.
I’m a very visual person and this helped me to then figure out which other furniture items that I had been searching would work best given my limitations.
I would also screen shot items and paint colors, and use one of my photo apps to create a collage of the color schemes. This helped me to not guess what may go well together and helped for when I went back to the store.
Also, I think when it comes to artwork you should sit with your space for a while. I didn’t have anything on my walls (apart from my license and diplomas) for several weeks.
For me sitting with a space helps me to see more clearly where things should go. You don’t want to force it.
Jennifer Varley is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Long Island City (Queens), NY…
She is also a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) and an Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR-3) therapist.