The birth of a new therapy space for a client and friend
A psychologist friend asked for assistance in designing her new therapy space. This is what we came up with. We’re thrilled with the mood-board and our selection of furniture.
Therapists seldom get the benefit of a complete makeover, given that the consistency of the therapeutic space and objects are important for the therapy process. But moves cannot always be helped. So, we set out with the intention of turning the new space into one most people will look forward to and will find comfort in.
My friend chose two beautiful glazed clay bowls for their sentimental value, shape and colour. Personally, I think I’m a maximalist, since I like to cluster beautiful objects and to hang art in groups. I differ from a minimalist and I will differ about how many meaningful objects are allowed. She wanted us to not overwhelm her clients with visual stimuli. We wanted a fine balance between visual immersion and interest.
I already knew my client, and felt that her feminine and nature-connected qualities needed to find expression in her therapy space. I like to get to know every client in a way similar to how branding companies access core values and the ethos of a person or company. This means that the final expression is often on point. What motivates the client and what is required is unveiled. We imagined that the space could reflect aspects of life-cycles and binaries of change: waxing and waning, rising and falling, holding and flowing.
This brought us to questions of what qualities she brings to the therapy process, what kind of space this needs to be for her and her clients. Is it a cave, a nest, a fortress, a retreat, a space at the coast, a pharmacy, a library, a womb, a play-space or a temple, a pathway, a landscape, a mountaintop, or a hut by the lake?What kind of therapist do you consider yourself to be? A nurturer, a poet, a crone, an alchemist, a teacher, a good parent, a good mother, an earth mother, a mystic, a fellow traveller and/or a companion?
The core ideas for this space are contained in the elements and of finding comfort and nurturing through the senses. In the design task, we made colour, texture, scent, sound, form and surface choices in an embodied and sensual approach.
Touch – to rest on the ground. The soft, solid, rich pile of the Persian carpet underfoot. The firm woolen seat supports one’s bottom.
Smell – scent in the room drifts from a flameless cedarwood diffuser (Monocle), I love the Yoshino Hinoki diffuser!
Sight – the room’s colours range from sunset dusk on the wall behind the couch to the soft pink dawn dusting on two walls. The fourth wall reflects intricate patterns of ice printed on purpose-printed wallpaper from a free stock image. Visual memory of the elements is found in the wall colours and surfaces and miniature prints.
Hearing and speaking – mindful of the air rising and falling into and from the lungs and witnessed in awareness, voices are heard in a confidential space.
Taste – a glass of water with a fresh lemon.
The furniture – Compact furniture with a Scandinavian bent for a small room. Some believe that the client and therapist sitting on identical chairs levels the power relationship. We chose identical armchairs, in different colours. The Sonia couch, a limited edition two-seater is finished in a beautiful two-toned covering. While its armrest shape matches the armchairs it rests on thin, elegant metal legs.
The desk and chair are slim, elegant companions in the small space.
The desk is from Less Is More and the chair from Weylandts.