In a recent conversation with a psychotherapist, the subject of clients complaining came up. I was surprised to hear that the most common complaints received by the professional body of psychotherapists in 2013 included the following:
1. Too much clutter in the consulting room
2. Too many pictures on the wall (of family, friends and pets etc.)
3. Overbearing smells of flowers, perfume or cooking
4. Too little light
5. The presence of personal knick-knacks belonging to the therapist
6. Distracting titles of books on shelving
These may seem like trivial points but they could highlight a problem that most clients will not tell you about, so it’s worth taking note.
For many years I have suggested to students that they have a clear space for clients, with nothing which may create diversions or be outside the clients’ comfort zone.
So, please, out with incense, tinkling water, pictures and any kind of religious imagery, meridian or acupuncture charts.
Make your space as plain, comfortable, clean and professional as possible. Better sparse than cluttered, your clients’ lives are too full already. That’s probably one of the reasons they have come to see you.