Sunday, November 18, 2007

Let Me Tell You About My Office

I told you how Roy dropped by for an unexpected visit. In the comment section of that post, talk started about how a psychiatrist's office is set up. I was thinking, in response to the notes, no no no, I didn't think about it that hard, you all are reading meaning into places where there is no meaning! The lack of a clock isn't purposeful, there is no desk because I didn't need one, not because of any great thought about barriers-- though I would never practice psychotherapy across a desk, I do sometimes think it would make life easier when I eat soup for lunch. Finally, there were some comments about Feng Shui.

So let me tell you about my office, there are some things I thought about long and hard.

I moved from a group setting when things got very crowded and I didn't want the process to be prolonged. I also hate traffic and long commutes, like to be able to go home during down times, so I looked close to home and for something that would take forever to move into . I'll spare you all the details, but I moved into an office that was already occupied by a psychiatrist, and had been occupied by a psychiatrist before that, so nothing in the layout was designed by me. The furniture was what I could get fastest: so what was in stock at a local furniture store, a couch and chair from
IKEA that took 6 weeks (rather than 3 months in a regular furniture store) and some odds and ends from a consignment shop, shelves and a file cabinet from Staples.

The waiting room is small. I hate fluorescent lighting for psychotherapy, so there are lamps, 2 chairs, a coffee table with magazines spread out, a replica of an old radio which I set to NPR or something soft, another end table. There is a folding chair in case someone brings two people with them but no one has ever unfolded it. It's a subdued, but slightly claustrophobic room. It used to be totally stark without the lamps and the end table (a pretty piece from pier one with musical notes on it) until I wandered into the office of the guy across the hall and saw his rugs and antiques and that inspired the Pier One visit. There are some pictures on the wall, and a patient gave me a cute book of animal photos called
The Blue Day Book which sits on one of the tables. The magazines are mostly Baltimore Magazine and a few random things--sometimes I bring in the New York Times Magazine or Book Review, there is a copy of Feng Shui (yes, I'm not kidding.). The radio adds to the soundproofing. The waiting room has a door and is connected to the office by a short dark hallway.

There are double doors to the main office. This is weird and Roy commented on it: you open a door and there is a door. I was told it is for soundproofing. It works.

The main office is bigger than I need. There is a couch for the patients to sit on, a chair for me. I bought them together and made sure they were the same height, this was important to me. Farther away, there's a desk chair on wheels-- gives someone the option of sitting farther away, of not sitting on the couch, of rolling around a little. There's an area rug, 6' by 9' maybe, between them, no coffee table. I have a small wooden end table with drawers with an ornamental vase and fake flowery things (the real plants I tried all died), pens and a prescription pad. A long sofa table holds a lamp and some decorative
thingys. (I think it was from Hold Everything or Pottery Barn). A large file cabinet sits next to the couch in a corner. It's draped with a piece of fabric to make it look less like cold steel metal. A plant sits on top. There are some plants on the two windowsills and by the windows the ceiling does this weird uppy thing. I keep the blinds are kept mostly drawn, the walls and carpet are light, the office is a bit under-furnished and a friend described it as cavernous. It's also gotten a lot of compliments. There is a table next to the couch that holds a tissue box. A large double bookshelf holds mostly magazines, some books, random objects, and one shelf essentially serves as a "desk". An ottoman sits next to my chair to collect stuff-- mail, forms, a clipboard, whatever, and it has a lid that opens to throw clutter in. Aside from the pile next to the chair and some mess on the desk shelf, there is no clutter, I'm a pretty neat person. A closet with double doors holds a dorm-sized fridge, microwave shelf with samples, paper goods, supplies, motrin for the occasional headache, a hammer, screwdriver, light bulbs. The walls hold some random pictures and the obligate diplomas.

And when I first started, I asked a talented, creative, decorator friend to come help me with colors. She pulled the place apart and put it back together in its current state. The carpet got lighter and the walls got darker. My friend is a
Feng Shui expert, so the place has been infused a little, though no running water, no hanging crystals. A water thing would nice.

A little about my office decorating consultant

Shelly Daly

A Stone's Throw

tel: (410) 664-4370

Shelly is a professional interior designer with more than twenty years experience and a certified Feng Shui practitioner. Her work in both residential and commercial 'environmental therapy' bring together her eye for design with the far reaching principles of Feng Shui. In addition to personal Feng Shui, Shelly works with architects and realtors on existing and unbuilt projects to determine advantageous orientations,layouts and design. She also offers holistically based interior design services including 'Done in a Day', a unique hands on design process that involves rearranging a client's existing furniture and accessories to create a stunning new environment. 'Done in a Day' works well for; selling your home, jumpstarting the redecorating process or simply for the design challenged wanting to uncover their personal style.

Shelly is also available for workshops, lectures & small group discussions as well clutter and organizational assistance. References from happy clients and a brochure further explaining services and fees are available for the asking. Her work extends throughout the Mid Atlantic region. Please e mail or call for further information.


Anonymous said...

You should sleep more.

FooFoo5 said...

I guess the NY Times wasn't delivered today? You're breakin' my heart over here, Dinah.

I find it ironic that my first "perusal" of an office is determining an "escape route." Then comes seating so the patient is not between me and the door. Finally, I assess what they could grab to hurt me, and then determine what I could grab if I needed to defend myself. This happens so rapidly & routinely that it doesn't seem odd anymore.

I am then constantly & acutely aware of my "stuff": Where to place my alarm so it is quickly accessible, but not in reach of the patient; I know exactly how many pens I had when I came in, and paper clips are accounted for like surgical sponges (one guy last week asked for a paper clip to "pop this blister I got between my toes..." NO!). Early on, I occasionally speculated this all to be a rich breeding ground for OCD...

The only reason I wear a watch is for determining "orientation," and I have the latitude to spend as reasonable amount of time with a patient as I find necessary. Sometimes it's 15 minutes, sometimes it's 60. Obviously they have nothing else to do, and at least for the time they are with me, neither do I. One supervisor said to me, "I'm wondering if you are spending too much time with each patient..." I said, "I will determine how much time I need, and you can "wonder" your ass back to your office."

My decorator: Marquis de Sade. He can be reached at... Oh, sorry, He's dead. (sigh)

Dinah said...

The NYTimes piece is in Drafts. Polldaddy was down and I needed it to finish off the piece.

Anonymous said...

But "reading meaning into places where there is no meaning" is what I do!

But for a real demonstration you need to start posting pictures :p