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Regardless of whether you have just opened your very first private healthcare practice or if you’ve been in the same practice for many years and desire change in your space and your business, this first step is vital in helping you create a nurturing, healing environment you and your clients, patients and everyone else loves.

In other words, do this before moving a single piece of furniture or painting a wall:

By answering the following two questions you will understand more about:

  • Who your patients really are… and…
  • What’s really bugging you about your space (right now.)

First, who are your patients?

Let’s take a closer look.

Before you start setting up or changing your work environment, I always recommend getting clear about who you are serving so you can create a space where your clients and patients feel deeply nurtured by you. You are designing the space as much for them as for you and your staff/colleagues.

This also happens to be one of the first tools I use with all my clients when we meet for the first time.

So sit down, grab a pen or your laptop and jot down the answers to these questions. I’ll guide you through it.

Let’s begin:

1. What age group and gender are the majority of your clients?

Okay so don’t make this part a big deal. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Simply try to learn, either from client records, or simply from memory (based on your daily work experience), if your clients are mostly older women (around what age group) or a range of men and women and children.

Write down who the majority is right now, their age range or… if you have an intention of changing your clientele to a different demographic, write down who you want your perfect clients to be. If that’s the case, who would you rather be healing with your expertise?

With this information you can now ask yourself, “What can I offer here in the space that my clients would really love and benefit from?”

For example, if you serve children, you can envision an area in your treatment room or in your reception area that is specific for that age range of kids, filled with things they truly enjoy, like reading, coloring in beautiful books, and playing with toys.

Please make sure this activity somehow connects to the healing work you are offering and that it is a cozy spot (tiny or large) where your little patients or clients feel safe.

What if your clients, for example, are overworked middle age women that suffer from some kind of mental and/or physical illness due to stress?

With this information, you can begin to envision a calming space with comfortable seating, table and floor lighting vs. overhead bright lights and softer surfaces.

You know your patients better than anyone.

They oftentimes share personal information with you about their life challenges.

Look around your space with your clients in mind. What would make them feel completely at ease and receptive to your healing?

Everything starts with a vision. What is yours?

2. What’s bugging you about your space?

In my thirteen and a half years of experience of doing this work, I’ve found that not everybody knows how or what to put in their practice to make it feel the way they want, but everyone certainly knows what they don’t like.

And this knowledge of “what’s really bothering you about your space” is your ally in change. By writing down the first most important thing that bothers you everyday about the environment you work in, you empower yourself to make a change.

Examples of bothersome issues in your space might be:

  • The overhead lighting is too bright
  • The space feels too cluttered
  • Can’t seem to get organized
  • It’s a challenge to stay focused
  • The space feels too dark
  • The furniture is simply outdated
  • You feel tired pretty regularly (or sad or depressed or ___________)
  • The wall colors bother me
  • It’s too noisy
  • The energy feels heavy

The first step towards change is awareness.

This is your time to be aware of both the obvious things that bug you and the subtleties of what’s challenging about the space.

Again, write it down now.

And even though it may seem a bit tedious, it’s fairly simply and straight forward.

In other words, don’t skip it. You’ll be referring back to this information in the near future when you start moving things around and arranging your space to how it will benefit everyone the most.

Last word of advice. If suddenly you start getting in the flow with creative ideas, I encourage you to listen to your inner voice.

Write down your flow and pretty soon you’ll see it start to feel the desire to express that in your space.

Yours in heart and  health,

Interior Designer Mill Valley, Marin County, San Francisco, CA