FP fans, meet Erica London, a therapist in Vancouver, WA!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
Our office takes its cue from the abundant natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. We use pops of greens, aqua and warm natural woods to create a fresh and calming atmosphere. We’re lucky to have large windows for lots of natural light and we’ve incorporated subtle artwork, warm lamps and plenty of plants to round out the natural feel.
Each of our therapists also brings part of their own aesthetic to his or her personal space. In my therapy room, there’s a green velvet sofa, a custom-made honeycomb shelf and a light up elephant. These elements provide comfort to clients and add a bit of my own personality to the overall office feel.
Clients have told us that they feel welcomed and at home from the minute they walk through our doors. Clients often say “wow, this office is beautiful and it’s so open and comfortable.”
We strive to make sure that every detail in our office has a purpose.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
Of course, I hope clients feel safe and welcome when they come to our office, but beyond that I want the vibe to feel like a breath of fresh air.
By using nature as an inspiration, I hope our office gives clients a sense of hope and rejuvenation that a better and reinvigorated life is not just possible but accessible.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
The star of our office is Courage, a friendly and curious French Bulldog. He is quick to greet clients when they arrive and often leads the way from the waiting room to the office where he’ll cuddle up to a client for a little extra comfort or provide some comic relief with his sniffs and snorts.
We also make sure our seating areas have soft texturized pillows, cozy blankets during the fall and winter months, and lots of fidgets for our clients to utilize in sessions.
In designing the offices, I wanted to ensure that we had soft textures such as a velvety couch, faux fur pillows, and chenille blankets to cuddle up with. When clients arrive, they are greeted by one of our admin staff, they are then welcomed to grab a coffee, tea, or water before their appointment starts.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
I designed and decorated the therapy offices myself with some minor suggestions of colleagues and family.
Some of the pieces of furniture such as the coffee table pictured in my office was made by my two teenage sons. They took a raw slab of Douglas Fir, sanded it, stained it, and then added gold hairpin legs.
I wanted unique pieces of furniture that would be points of conversation. This happens often with our coffee bar that is a floating slab of walnut wood and the custom-made honeycomb shelves in my office.
Most of the large furniture pieces I purchased from a nonprofit ministry that resells Joybird furniture. They use the money from this furniture to help homeless individuals regain housing. Not only did I get amazing furniture at a discounted price I was also able to give back to my community.
Every piece of furniture, décor, artwork, and design has intent and purpose I was thoughtful in designing the space this way. When someone sees the way a chair is placed to welcome them in, or plays with a fidget to occupy their hands in session I wanted to them to feel it was placed there just for them, because it was.
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?
The trick to designing a therapy office is for the decor to strike a balance. Taking inspiration from nature — whether the forest or the sea — is a great start to creating a comfortable space.
Just like in nature, I’ve found the office environment should use soft, yet vibrant, colors that feel calming and safe. Think blues, greens, and wood tones.
Different textures can also create interesting elements whether it’s a velvet sofa, natural wood coffee table or flowing window treatments. It’s all about letting the design become a seamless scenery that doesn’t distract by becoming either over the top or too understated.
Erica London is a LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) in Vancouver, WA…
She owns and runs Compass Whole Health, a group practice. They have Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, a Licensed Massage Therapist, Nutritional Health Coach, and Nurse Life Coach in the practice.