Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Dr. Emily Neger

First Reader

Dr. Ryan Carlson

Second Reader

Dr. Ryan Carlson


A growing body of research in environmental and design psychology indicates that our surroundings can have subtle but significant effects on how we feel and think. One setting where thoughts and feelings are at the forefront of the work done is the psychotherapist’s office, where clients go to process stressors and learn strategies to overcome emotional difficulties. The current study aimed to investigate how therapists and clients view the therapist office and identify the features associated with the “ideal” therapist office. Therapists, current or past therapy clients, and individuals who have not been to therapy completed short surveys. Surveys asked participants to rate how much attention they pay to interior design in general, as well as how much of an effect they believe the therapist office has on client perceptions of the therapist and therapy outcomes. Results indicated that clients pay a moderately significant amount of attention to their therapist’s office. Therapists pay more attention to how their office looks and comes across than clients do and design their office equally for themselves and clients. Therapists and clients rated the therapy office as having a moderately significant effect on how clients view the therapist and the therapy office as having a moderately insignificant to moderate effect on therapy outcomes. Overall, therapists should not overlook the design of their office, as it is noticed by clients and may affect how they view their therapist.

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