FP fans, meet Delaney Menell, a therapist in West Lake Hills (Austin), TX!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
“I feel like I’m sitting in someone’s living room rather than an actual office.”
–Lydia Clemmons, LCDC
When it came time to design my office, I went into the process with a determination to make it as naturally comfortable and engaging for my clients as I possibly could. There’s a calm energy here that feels cozy and relaxed … with a side of the humor, quirk, and playfulness I try to help them find in their own lives.
The color scheme is a combination of modern neutrals and deep earth tones that compliment my conversational style of therapy and allow for expressive freedom and exploration, but there are small touches of whimsy throughout the place that make my clients smile and help them remember to breathe.
“It’s a place that I come to feel at peace rather quickly. It’s safe and at the same time freeing. My favorite part about it is that it reminds me to breathe. When you look around, the decor and view invite a peaceful mood rather than an edgy, anxious concern.”
–Josh Killam, LMFT-A
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
Everything about my office is an invitation for my clients to be themselves – and to help them explore what that means as they make gentle shifts or leaping strides toward the changes they wish to see.
The high ceiling invites feelings of safety, allowing them to shake off the judgement, take a deep relieving breath and just be. The overstuffed couch and plush rugs invite them to sit, relax and share whatever they want to share.
The big beautiful windows invite natural sunlight and breathtaking views of the trees outside, which invite them to sink into a state of calm internal consideration. And all the small, whimsical touches around the room help remind them that they are safe and cared for here.
“Like Delaney, her office is warm, inviting, and comforting-almost as if the space itself is an extended version of who she is. Her space greets you like a cozy blanket or a much-needed hug at the end of a tiresome day. And when you enter, you’re immediately welcomed by the soft scent of eucalyptus that makes you feel both safe and comforted at the same time. In short, you feel at home, which is exactly the way you feel when you’re in Delaney’s presence.”
–Wednesday PM, client
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
Much like the styling of my office, the creature comforts provided are all intentional, hand picked for an integrated sensory experience while they’re here. I’m kinesthetic by nature and find great comfort and necessity in having the right tools to express myself and cater to my needs.
Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, Smell: my clients find them all in my office, and they are invited to engage however they feel comfortable – with everything, nothing, or anything in between.
Some client favorites include my soft blankets – perfect for cuddling up with, my plush carpet – perfect for making carpet angels or snuggling feet into and my enormous collection of throw pillows, all with different textures to explore. (While shopping for my office furniture I realized that I was developing a small obsession with plush pillows, but in the end I went with it and carefully selected each one to give my clients a range of different tactile experiences).
Other favorites include my mini zen garden, my rather large collection of tactile toys, and my assortment of three wick candles that give off beautiful aromas. As with many therapy offices, I also provide holiday candies, mints, coffee and water.
**My mini unicorn deserves its place in the spotlight as it’s a bit of a celebrity around here. This unicorn shoots rainbow balls out of its nose. It’s adored and enjoyed by many.**
Bonus creature comforts? Bring them on! Do you want to knit while you’re processing? Be my guest. Do you want to bring your therapy dog? Absolutely. Do you want to cuddle your own pillow or blanket, or interact with your fidget toy? Please do. Do you want a gentle background serenade from Pandora? I’m in.
My space is designed and meant for you to make it your own. Our time in my office is made of mutual respect and is incredibly important to me. You’ve set aside time, energy and money to invest in yourself. I recognize and celebrate that effort and I’m excited to meet you where you are and share the journey with you.
My deepest desire is that my office, and our work together, create just enough space for you to not only heal, but fulfill your truest potential as a human being.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
I’m proud to say that I designed my office myself! It’s an authentic reflection of who I am and how I practice mental health.
This space is a mixture of my own design aesthetic and my anticipation of what my clients might need in order to feel “comfortable enough” to explore their desires and concerns – ultimately leading toward healing and healthy change.
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 new therapists designing their offices is as follows:
1. Bring the outside in- especially if you don’t have windows or a nice view. In my experience, your clients’ ability to access their subconscious for exploration and processing of deeply seeded information is directly related to nature’s presence and leads toward lasting change.
2. Express Your Sense of Humor- humor is one of those prized possession and a wonderful breath of fresh air. Nothing brings you and your clients closer, faster. It’s a universal human resource and it breaks tension and is a fantastic point of connection between you and your clients.
Most importantly and above all else…
3. Design for You, With Your Clients in Mind- Keeping your office design concentric to who are as a therapist is crucial. Your office should feel like you. You want your clients to feel comfortable and, simply put, they won’t if you don’t. On a deeper level, we’re talking about trust and the therapeutic relationship (the cornerstone of good therapy).
4. Don’t Freak Out About Number Three- Just be yourself and it will happen naturally!
Delaney Menell is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), Personal Growth Coach, & Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator in West Lake Hills, TX…
Her practice is a hybrid of therapy and coaching. Her mission is to help you heal AND fulfill your greatest human potential.
She’s a trauma-informed, attachment-centered, relational, humanistic practitioner that focuses on three main areas: Caregivers (people pleasers), Parents that need support, and Personal Growth and Empowerment.