Think of it as wearing itchy clothing around all day long – except the itching is in your soul and the itching never stops. People seek help when the itching becomes too uncomfortable to ignore. Therapists have the opportunity to make it harder or easier for them to reach out. Take a look around and evaluate whether your environment is awkward or inviting.
Is your office nice? Would you entertain a guest there? If not, re-read the waiting room post (#10) and lather, rinse, repeat. Be a host. Offer everyone who walks in your door a bottle of water or a cup of tea or coffee. Make sure they know where everything is. Keep the tissues handy. Allow them to sit wherever they want. Fluff the pillows. Keep a soft throw blanket handy. Put things on your coffee table that they can fiddle with while they’re telling you their problems. Buy a slinky. It will cheer everyone up!
Every single person who walks into a therapy office feels awkward and uncomfortable.
#10 – Your waiting room matters
Next time you go to your office, enter through the front door instead of the back. Imagine your clients opening the door from a stuffy hallway and entering … your stuffy waiting room.
Take a look at the walls. Do you have faded Monet prints from your graduate school apartment hanging up there? Check the rug. Chances are it could use a swipe or two with the Bissell. Ask yourself – who was President when I picked out this furniture? If it was more than one President ago, it’s time to freshen things up. And I think we can all agree that no one needs to read a three year-old issue of Time magazine. Spend $50 a year on current, interesting magazines (for women AND men – not everyone is enthralled by the virtues of closet shoe organizers). And for goodness sake, NO FLUORESCENT LIGHTS! No one wants to look AND feel bad at the same time!
Your waiting room matters.