I’m in Connecticut hanging out with Rita, Chelsea, Seth, and my twin grandkids . . . and doing a little writing editing for the forthcoming 5th edition of Clinical Interviewing. Just edited the following section where I reveal a bit about my dream-life. The unconscious is a funny thing. (see http://www.amazon.com/Clinical-Interviewing-2012-2013-John-Sommers-Flanagan/dp/1118390113/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357513945&sr=1-1&keywords=clinical+interviewing)
Office Clutter and Decor
We all have stuff that we drag around with us in our lives. Some of this stuff is disorganized, messy and unsightly. Other stuff is more interesting and pleasing to the psyche or the eye.
One of us (John) sometimes dreams that he’s preparing for a therapy session and just before it begins, he notices that his office is a complete mess. There are piles of dirty clothes, books, CDs, and papers strewn around the room. At the last minute, he dashes around the room stuffing papers and clothes under his desk in anticipation of his client’s arrival. Unfortunately, the cleaning never gets quite finished, and when the client comes into the room there’s an obvious and embarrassing mess to explain.
Those of you inclined toward dream interpretation may quickly assume that John has excessive psychological baggage that leaks out during therapy sessions and personal needs to be addressed and de-cluttered. Although this interpretation may well be true, John also has the more concrete problem of keeping his office neat and tidy (although he strongly denies keeping dirty clothes strewn about his office). The main point is, of course, to be intentional, disciplined, and tasteful in your office décor and clutter management.
To whatever degree you wish, your office can represent your personality and your values. You can consciously arrange your office more or less formally, more or less chic, and more or less self-revealing. It’s important to strive for an office that a wide and diverse range of individuals may find comforting. For example, therapists working with Native American clients may want tasteful Native American art or handicrafts in their office—although multiculturally sensitive art is no substitute for adequate multicultural awareness, exposure, study, training, and supervision.