Therapy Office Design: Ways to Provide the Right Setting

You’re a shrink setting up your new space, deciding on a therapy office design. You find a few chairs, throw some extra things together—and voila! A place where your clients can come see you. You sit, they sit, everybody’s happy. I mean, beyond that, does anyone really care how you decorate your therapy office?

Your clients do. Believe it or not, they care about your therapy office design. And, according to a study from last year, they take even more notice when it’s an office they don’t like. And it affects how they perceive You, the therapist that comes with that office.

Participants in the study looked at photos that Saul Robbins had taken of different offices. Although I don’t know if any of these were used, Robbins does have an interesting exhibit of “Psychotherapists’ Chairs¬†From Their Clients’ Perspective” [UPDATE Aug. 2012: now called Initial Intake] on his website if you’re interested.

Tips from the American Psychological Association (“Healing by Design“) include “creating a calm and refreshing environment to balance the rigorous mental and emotional work of therapy,” designing offices that “exude softness, personalization and orderliness,” and “[taking] into account the human instinct to protect ourselves and our territory.”

Psychiatrist Sebastian Zimmermann is another photographer who’s posted work regarding therapists’ offices. According to Zimmermann’s website his book Fifty Shrinks “features intimate portraits of psychotherapists in their private offices. My book includes luminaries who advanced the boundaries of their fields such as Charles Brenner, Otto Kernberg, Martin Bergmann, Michael Eigen and Albert Ellis next to aspiring, young professionals.” You can see a sampling here.

Psychoanalyst/photographer Mark Gerald‘s “In the Shadow of Freud’s Couch:¬†Portraits of Psychoanalysts in their Offices.” More ideas to glean.

2020 update: “58 Therapist Office Decors We Adore: 2020 Edition” from Zencare.co, therapist referral site.

2022 Zencare.co article: “Private Practice Therapy Office Design Inspiration.”

2023 Update from Zencare.co: “47 Therapist Office Decors We Adore.”

NOTE: This post has been updated several times, as recently as January, 2023.

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