First impressions influence our way of relating to others but also to spaces. If we find ourselves in a place for the first time and it gives us a bad feeling because of the way it is made or what we see in it, we may never go there again.
The colors, the furniture, the decorative objects, the intensity of the light and other aspects that we can find in a psychology consultation, if not taken enough care of, can make our patients not want to visit us again because they do not feel safe. because of what they have seen.
This is why it is so important know how to decorate a psychology consultation, an issue that we are going to delve into in the following paragraphs. Keep reading to discover what aspects cannot go wrong in your professional consultation.
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The keys to knowing how to decorate a psychotherapy consultation
One of the most fundamental notions that psychologists are well aware of is that appearances play tricks, especially the first ones. The human brain creates in a few seconds an image of the context and the people that can determine your relationship with them from moment one.that’s why mundane things like the way our date dresses, the color of the apples in the supermarket or how apparently clean a bar may seem give us a feeling of security or of wanting to get away from them.
First impressions are inevitable, since they are unconscious and adaptive processes. Although we rationally know that something does not have to be as it appears, the image it conveys to us is seen as having enough weight to reject or accept it. Whether something gives us the sensation of being pleasant and safe or, on the contrary, hostile and dangerous, depends a lot on our first impression.
First impressions can play a very important role when it comes to staying or leaving a place. And, for this reason, it is so important to take care of the appearance of places such as psychology consultations, since their design and decoration influences how the patient feels and how willing they are to open up to the psychotherapist. We cannot organize our consultation in a completely anarchic way or decorate it based on our personal taste, since this may mean that all the treatments that we undoubtedly know and know how to use are weakened because the patient does not feel comfortable.
For this reason, throughout the following paragraphs we are going to see what aspects must be taken into consideration when decorating and organizing a psychological consultation, which will enhance the effectiveness of our therapies and facilitate the therapeutic process.
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It is no secret that light influences people’s perception and mood, both its intensity and tone. We must not ignore the lighting factor when decorating our office, and we must know that Sensations such as relaxation, calm, sadness, calm and melancholy are related to a decrease in daylight hours.
The film industry seems to have long mastered the importance of lighting when it comes to conveying emotions. For example, to represent a melancholic situation in a closed space, low light is used, while intense light motivates and activates us, and can be used to represent emotions such as joy or even anxiety.
The whiter light conveys seriousness, cleanliness and promotes concentration, although it gives a colder air to the room. On the other hand, yellow light is perceived as warm, being ideal for spaces where dialogue or relaxation is intended, functions to be performed during the application of psychotherapy.
The use of white light or yellow light in our consultation will depend on what we want to do in it.. For example, if the objective is to pass certain tests on patients, the thing is to have a room sufficiently illuminated with white light to facilitate concentration. On the other hand, if what you want is to cause relaxation and make the patient feel free to share their internal world with us, yellow light and dim lighting are advisable.
You can play with the amount of light depending on the size and number of windows, if there are curtains and depending on their color and type. You can also increase or reduce artificial light by distributing lamps around the room and using smart bulbs with which we can change the tone and intensity of the lighting.
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Psychology consultations are intended to be safe spaces, something that excessive noise can easily ruin.. No patient will feel safe in a room where they hear shouting and horns from the street, since they will see it as highly stressful and tense sound stimulation, they will not be able to talk comfortably with the therapist and they will not be able to release your inner world at ease.
High noise levels, both continuous and intermittent, cause irritability, difficulty concentrating and fatigue. This is why it is crucial to ensure that annoying noises do not penetrate the office by taking care of soundproofing, installing special windows if necessary.
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3. Air conditioning
Temperature must be taken into consideration, especially depending on the time of year and where the practice is located. It is necessary to have a good heating and air conditioning system, preventing how very cold or very warm the place where we are is and understanding that the temperature influences how comfortable the patient feels in the consultation.
High temperatures can make the patient feel sleepy or irritated, while very low temperatures can limit movement., be less likely to speak and, if you are feeling very cold, you may stutter. An attempt should be made to maintain a pleasant temperature in the room so that the patient does not spend the consultation time compulsively fanning or rubbing their hands.
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Ventilation is usually a rather forgotten aspect when setting up a practice., although after several sessions it is quite likely that its importance will be perceived, especially if the patients seen do not take much care of their hygiene (this happens a lot with people with advanced depression). Each individual has their own notion of hygiene and, added to this, if we work with children or during a very hot season, it is a matter of minutes before we begin to see how the environment becomes charged.
A good window is usually enough, but it never hurts to use an air freshener to counteract the odors of patients and our own.
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5. The importance of colors
Colors They influence our perception of the environment, they transmit information about the environment to us, they provoke sensations in us and even alter our mood.. Eva Haller is a psychologist who is an expert in Color Psychology and thanks to her work we know how important it is to take care of the color aspect in physical spaces. Colors can suggest all kinds of sensations, let’s see what their main meanings are:
The color blue is perceived as harmonious, happy and friendly. It can convey professionalism, induces calm and helps you concentrate and stay stable. It is a cold color but, despite this, it is related to positive feelings.
The Red color It is related to passion, love, heat but also danger. It can alter our nervous system, so it is not recommended in spaces where you want to encourage rest. It can increase blood pressure and speed up metabolism.
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The yellow It is associated with optimism, intellect, joy and jealousy. It activates the nervous system like the color yellow does, so this color is not a good option for spaces intended for relaxation.
Green is related to nature, vitality, hope and health, but also to anger.. It makes you feel safe and increases the perception of trust. It is considered to be one of the most balanced colors and the one that most positively influences concentration.
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The black It is related to melancholy, darkness and death. There is no need to explain in too much detail why it is not an appropriate color for a psychological consultation, unless what you want is to make the patient leave worse than when he entered.
5.6. White and cream
White is related to purity, cleanliness, peace, innocence, spirituality… It is usually a safe and valid bet most of the time, although the cream option is preferred, a softer color, with more personality and that, if it gets dirty the walls, it’s not so noticeable. The cream color conveys a feeling of spaciousness and of being in a cozy space.
Orange is a warm color, felt as fun and exotic although, like red and yellow, it also causes activation of the nervous system, although to a lesser extent than those two colors. Orange seems to reduce irritability and stimulates the mind.
5.8. lilac and pink
Lilac is associated with femininity, power and spirituality. It has calming effects on people, making it a good color to work on relaxation. It is also believed to stimulate creativity and reduce impatience.
Pink is also associated with the feminine, in addition to love and tenderness.. Despite this, its tone can be too activating, so if you choose it as a color for the consultation, you should opt for more pastel-type colors.
Brown is seen as a natural and welcoming color, associated with security and stability. It is considered a neutral color that transmits balance and comfort. It combines very well with other colors, so if you paint the walls of the office brown, you can have decorative objects of other colors without burdening the office too much.
Gray is a color that conveys sadness, boredom and melancholy, although it is worth saying that it also can be seen as a sophisticated color thanks to its neutrality. This color is ideal if it is combined with other happier colors, never alone.
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Furniture, design and distribution in space
Having seen all the meanings and interpretations that can be made of colors, we can conclude that The most advisable tones to make our psychological consultation a harmonious place where the patient feels at peace and serene are the colors green, blue and brown, as well as neutral colors. if we add them together with a little more intense color. This also applies to child psychology consultations, although you can add a little more vitality by using decorative objects. Now… what furniture should you choose and how to distribute it?
Furniture is very important in the design of the office. Thanks to the work of neuroscientist Moshe Bar and Maital Neta, we know how curvilinear and rounded furniture influences the human mood as opposed to those with straighter and more pointed shapes.
These researchers discovered that rooms with furniture with curved, rounded and soft shapes were perceived as more pleasant and relaxing, making visitors stay in them longer and even motivated to socialize with other people. On the other hand, pointed objects are perceived as hostile, as if one is in a place from which one should flee.
Regarding the amount of furniture and its distribution, The most appropriate thing is to only have furniture that is considered practical and essential, favoring a spacious, clean and balanced image. of the consultation. If, on the other hand, the room is loaded with furniture, the patient may feel uncomfortable, in addition to being easily distracted. Added to this, the ideal distribution is L-shaped, since it has been seen that this facilitates dialogue and communication.
There is controversy about whether it is better to use a couch, chairs, sofa or armchairs. The reason for such debate is that it is maintained that one of these objects is decisive for the person’s recovery, with supporters of each of these options who do not agree. In practice, as each patient is different, we cannot expect everyone to feel comfortable using the same type of seat because that will not be the case.
There are those who prefer chairs, other sofas, other couches… and the office should have all of them, to the extent possible and practical. The use of each of these pieces of furniture will depend on the approach and techniques that the psychologist applies, but the key thing is that the patient feels comfortable and that he chooses the furniture that he prefers. We cannot expect him to be focused for the 45 minutes that the session lasts if he is sitting on furniture that causes back pain. or makes you feel tense.
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1. Walls with titles
One of the also controversial points when decorating a consultation is the issue of titles. What is better: to put them or not? The truth is that it seems that hanging them is a point in favor, an ally for the therapist since patients perceive psychologists with titles displayed on the walls as more knowledgeable people, with greater experience and skill. Titles also make us be seen as kinder, more hospitable, and more interested in patients..
It seems that the more certificates hanging on the walls of the office, the more appreciation the patients received from their psychologists, since it gave them the feeling that the therapists gave off an image of energy and dynamism. The titles They are understood as proof of the many knowledge that the professional possesses, in addition to being an assertive way for the professional to open up.to make known who he is and what he does without any qualms or shame, in the positive sense of the expression.
2. Personal belongings
Many psychologists are afraid to place personal objects in their office, especially those as intimate as photographs of the family, the dog, or some important event in their life. Fortunately, these types of objects have a very positive impact on the patient, who upon seeing them humanizes the figure of the therapisthe stops seeing him as a cold professional and perceives him as a flesh and blood person who wants to help him overcome his problem.
3. Shelves with books
A great ally for our consultation is having a bookshelf, a piece of furniture that makes our patients understand that we are constantly reading and training. Added to this, in case of an unforeseen event and not knowing how to act in a specific case or, simply, because an appointment has been cancelled, it is always good to have a specialized book on hand.
4. Other decorative objects
Finally, we can talk about some decorative objects that help give that personal and characteristic touch to our consultation, something that makes it different from other psychologists and makes patients feel that they are in a safe and calming environment. For example, plants give life and improve the climate, rugs add familiarity and paintings give personality to the space, even distinction.
Depending on how we place them and what type of objects we have chosen, these will make our office a place that remains in the memory of our patients as an interesting, relaxing and therapeutic place.