Consider the Atmosphere of the Office
Providing a safe and supportive environment has been my goal since day one of starting my private practice over 20 years ago. The atmosphere of an office is especially important when working with adults or children who are easily stimulated or are nervous in unfamiliar places. If you are researching educational psychologists for your child’s testing, I highly suggest you consider the atmosphere of the office. This can make a big difference in you and your child’s comfort, and it could have an impact on the results.
When a client steps into our Compassionate Solutions’ office, we want them to feel comfortable. If they are meeting with me, we are likely doing tests for behavioral, learning or social challenges, or giftedness. If a client is meeting with one of my colleagues, they are here for marriage and family therapy, clinical psychology, or educational or executive function tutoring. We want them to feel as comfortable as possible as we work through these things.
Making a Connection Over Coffee
One way I make Compassionate Solutions feel homey is the self-serve coffee bar! I love anything with espresso myself, and a warm mug of cappuccino puts me right at home anywhere. I’ve found that the light fragrance of fresh brewed coffee adds life and energy to the space.
If the client loves coffee as well, it becomes a shared interest that often launches our conversation and puts them at ease. In the case of a stressed-out mama who considers coffee the nectar of the gods, having coffee available helps her feel supported. And when the kids see their mom relax, they feel more at ease as well. It creates a domino effect.
This gets us all on the right foot for a discussion or assessment. For those who aren’t coffee drinkers, I have other features in place to make them feel more comfortable.
Reducing Echoes to Minimize Distractions
Many clinical offices look and feel bare and cold. One of the contributors to this impression is echo. When the room is entirely made of hard surfaces, sound has no other option than to reverberate off those surfaces.
Have you ever tried carrying on a lengthy conversation while your voice keeps coming back to you? It’s very distracting.
Early on I recognized this problem and chose throw blankets as my solution. I already had shallow carpet and a couch, which provided some assistance, but tossing throw blankets on the backs of chairs and along the couch made a tremendous difference.
Using Colors to Add Comfort
I would never paint the interior of my office a bright yellow. I don’t even need to explain why. You get it. For the same reason I wouldn’t choose yellow, I did choose cool blue tones. These colors, whether or not you realize it, inspire relaxation. Of course, the affect is not that a distressed client walks into my office and immediately unwinds or lays down for a nap. Rather, the space is free of additional triggers that could make them feel more uncomfortable or irritated.