FP fans, meet Dr. Marjorie Strachman Miller & Heidi Vanderwerff, therapists in Washington, DC!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
We describe our office as modern, inviting, and representative blend of our two personal styles.
Heidi leans more towards modern, clean, and minimal style. Marjorie is more eclectic, with modern, vintage, and bright elements.
Some clients have come in and said, “This is how I want my ideal living room to look!”
Some of the furniture pieces have served as rapport building when clients ask where we got something, or about how much they like it. This is true of larger pieces, such as the green couch, which is a statement piece and matches the color of our logo, as well as the special details such as our elegant electric tea kettle.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
We want our office to feel like a fresh, welcoming escape from busy urban streets.
We selected furniture that would be comfortable and stylish. For instance, since we offer play therapy, we included a children’s area with durable but beautiful teal-dipped table and chairs to match the pre-existing teal doors and radiators in the building.
We also want it to be warm and inviting in a space that feels aesthetically pleasing when clients’ eyes may wander as we are in conversation. We hope to balance modern minimalism to lower stress with warm comfort to increase intimacy.
We both have young children, as do many of our clients, so we know the value of sitting in an uncluttered, fresh space. Engaging in self-care in this kind of space is what we want our clients to enjoy, similar to a spa experience, but for therapy.
We want our clients to feel held and ready to engage in their challenging mental work.
Overall, we have tried to make the office reflect us as therapists and the work that we do.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
As soon as clients enter the waiting room, they see our buffet stocked with hot and cold beverages, including Keurig coffee, a tea selection, and chocolate treats.
We use ample signage so that clients feel welcomed and oriented before seeing us. We want clients to know what to expect when they walk in our space and instantly feel relaxed so they can focus on the work they have set out to do in therapy.
We also have sound machines and meditation music playing in the waiting room to help clients settle in before we see them.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
We used online home designer, Modsy.com. We each chose pieces and layout for our individual offices, but shared our ideas and integrated one another’s input into the final choices.
We ended up swapping out some pieces that we liked but maintained the general layout for the rooms. The waiting room is the most similar to the design Modsy shared with us.
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?
We are a new practice, and decided to make sure that our office was as complete as possible before we started seeing clients in our new location. We found for ourselves and our clients that this offered comfort and consistency.
We also think it offered a professional first impression, and a “wow” factor for clients walking in for the first time.
Since our office was designed by two people with the help of Modsy.com and inspiration here from Freshpractice.design, we ended up with a space that integrates each of our individual styles and flows from room-to-room. If hiring an in-person designer is out of your budget, we recommend using online designers or software to achieve the look you are seeking.
Since we are in a partnership, we also found it helpful to run even the small design decisions by each other. We were starting a business and making some late-night decisions, so it was helpful to have two opinions during that time!
Heidi is an LICSW & Marjorie is a PhD LMFT, both in Washington, DC…
Heidi focuses her work on professional life and parenting with clients to help them feel more fulfilled and balanced in an otherwise competitive and busy city.
Marjorie specializes in identity development and trauma recovery with adults and children to help them feel more confident and present in their lives. She also practices Internal Family Systems Therapy.
You may have noticed their logo includes a tagline “Get Help, Give Help”. They feel strongly that all people deserve access to quality, clinical counseling services. They have set a mission for the practice to serve a new family shelter located across from their office with pro bono counseling.
Heidi and Marjorie’s practice is in the Petworth neighborhood in NW Washington, D.C. on a revitalizing street with new businesses popping up all around! It’s a very exciting time for their practice!
Learn more about them at: