FP fans, meet Emily Clark, a therapist in Portland, OR!
Update in January 2020: Emily is currently taking a hiatus from her practice practice. Her previous office is still inspirational though!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
Clients and friends have described the space as bright, classic, contemporary, happy, and clean.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
Upon walking in, I want clients to have a sense of who I am as a therapist—lighthearted and passionate. My hope is that the vivid colors and original art convey that message.
I want my clients to feel like they can take their shoes off and get comfortable physically so they can stretch themselves to get uncomfortable emotionally. I want my space to show them that I am organized and competent and paying attention.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
When furnishing and supplying my office, I tried to think of all the things that might help make the therapy experience feel more comfortable.
Because I work primarily with young women who have experienced trauma, I knew the space needed to remain clean (so as to not overwhelm a client’s nervous system) and I needed to have a variety of tools available to help them ground.
There is a beverage station in the waiting room where clients help themselves to a variety of teas and coffees or water.
I utilize a sound machine outside my office and in the waiting room to create a soothing and confidential environment.
When my clients hands aren’t holding coffee, they may be playing with my kinetic sand or fidget toys or hugging pillows, stuffed animals, or my weighted blanket. I have all these items in my office for clients to use during session and they often will buy the things they find helpful.
Additionally, my service dog accompanies me to work and often snuggles up with my client on the couch or at their feet.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
A good friend is a color designer and offered validation of my choices and encouraged me to take risks when I was designing my office. I was unsure about my rug when I bought it online and now it’s my favorite piece.
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?
You’re going to spend a lot of time in your office, so make it look and feel like a place you’d want to spend a lot of time.
Don’t shy away from things that really speak to your soul and are alive with personality—that doesn’t mean disco balls, but, for me, it meant having my own artwork on the walls and using my favorite colors.
Emily Clark is a Social Worker in Portland, OR…
Learn more about her work at: