Creating calm and safety in the counselling room

Author: Anne Moorhouse, Psychologist.

A warm welcome, a cup of tea, a comfy place to sit, beautiful surroundings, gentle music and the waft of fragrant oils.  We hope our clients experience a sense of calm and safety as they enter our counselling space at Little Window – Counselling, Psychology and Wellness. The house, with frosted glass windows, provides complete privacy and scatters a soft light through the rooms. A sanctuary and an inward-looking space. Ideal for reflection.

Created with intent

Image may contain: living room, table and indoorThe directors of Little Window, psychologists Thania and Christina, created this space with intent. They lovingly chose and positioned every item for the rooms and behind their artful decoration lies neuroscience. Their intention is to provide a calm and safe space, which helps interrupt the fight, flight or freeze response clients often experience. These responses begin in the amygdala, the area of the brain that processes memory, interprets emotion, and often drives impetuous decisions.  At Little Window our clients have an immediate experience of a soothing environment which helps calm their amygdala.

You would hope most counselling spaces are designed like this but I can assure you they’re not.  For a comparison, look at one of my first posts Honoring the Psychologist’s Chair.  My clients and I sat for seven years in a cell-like room on those dirty grey chairs. While I believe I still offered good therapy and together we did good work, Little Window enables me to do better.  Each day I am grateful to have found these people and this space to work in.

Creating calm and safety for yourself

Woman drinking teaThe space around us can be a reflection of our internal world and vice versa.  If we create calm and order in our external world it may help calm our internal world.

Do you have a favourite chair, a soft jumper or a throw to snuggle in? Does a pet sit at your feet? Can your eyes rest on the beauty of nature and art? Does soothing music, good conversation or the laughter of children fill your ears? Do you allow yourself the pleasure of savoring good food? Do you mindfully light fragrant candles or stop to smell the roses?

I hope its possible to create a small space in your world that’s serene?  Where is that for you?  What have you included in your calm and safe space?