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Privacy: When I opened my private practice, my vision was and is, to make it a warm, welcoming, safe, and comfortable place. That begins with people knowing that the space is private. There are 2 ways to enter and exit the building so people don’t have to worry about running into anyone they know. I keep the blinds open enough so that light can come in but people’s privacy is protected.

Relaxing with a hot drinkWarm or cold drink: As people enter my office, they can often smell fresh coffee brewing. I welcome them by offering them a cup, or give them a choice of loose or Stash teas, or filtered water. Being able to put your feet up while sipping from a warm cup seems to help the conversation flow.

Confidentiality: Before we start talking about what brought you to my office, we talk about confidentiality and the limits to it. I want to make sure you know under what circumstances I will share information we talk about and how I keep track of the information we talk about.

A comfortable atmosphere: I have a variety of pictures on the walls, a big bouquet of flowers and plants, and used, but comfortable furniture. I have a big bowl of rocks, wood, and coral for people to look through when I take my think break during our meeting. I also have a variety of magazines for outdoor enthusiasts, travellers, the organically minded, and everyday science buffs. And for those who like to think, I have a Sudoku Rubiks cube, and two puzzle challenges. I know our conversations can be hard work, and having something to take your mind away for a few minutes can be welcome.

Furry comfort: One of the great things about having a private practice is getting to choose to bring my dog to work. I have been amazed how comforting she is for people to pet as we talk. She’s gentle and quiet and seems to help people feel at ease. I always give people the choice to have her in the room or not. She’s quite happy to stay under my desk on her bed in the waiting room but if she’s welcome, she’ll be happy to lean against you or lie at your feet.

It’s really important to me as a psychologist that you feel warm, safe, and comfortable so that we can have a conversation that makes a difference. For someone else’s perspective, please go to Jodi Aman’s article. I’d be interested in hearing from you!!

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