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  • This blog provides a forum for discussion of therapeutic technique, including cognitive behavioural and psychodynamic technique. The focus of the blog is on psychotherapeutic technique and issues in the room rather than case or theoretical discussions. At the bottom of each post is a comments section. Feel free to make any comments you like. Please remember this blog is a public forum.

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  • Chris Allan is a clinical psychologist and Director of the Psychology Clinic at the University of Wollongong. He has a strong interest in both cognitive and psychodynamic therapies and an ongoing fascination in the interaction of technology and psychology. His interests are varied and include martial arts, playing guitar, cooking, chess, clothes, poetry and computer gaming. He is married with two children two dogs and a budgie.

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Comments

Garth Mintun

As a psychotherapist in Indianapolis Indiana, I enjoy your blog, find it informative and also want to thank you for the comments about our blog, "Psychotherapy Perspectives". Regarding the angle, I always ask the client (s) where they want to sit and stand until they are seated. I have chairs and a couch as well as a wicker chair. I very rarely sit in the same place and about 50% of the clients prefer the couch but often they will choose the chair as well and I often find myself on the couch. I generally like to be at a 15 degree angle( I often will position my chair at 15 degrees) too but occasionally will sit straight ahead. I generally don't like a "designated chair" for the therapist because I like to think of clients as "having the choice to choose where they will sit " and can sit where they feel the most comfortable. I also have clients who sit in different places each week and others who sit in the same seat. Even with persons who sit on the same seat week after week, I give them an opportunity to change seats if they want and sit down after they do. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. Why do you sit 15 degrees and do you have a designated chair?

Yvette Vardy

Once a relationship is established, I tend to sit at 15 degrees, but I've definitely moved things to 30 degrees when my client feels high anxiety or high shame. Some of my clients have found it easier to position themselves further around from me when dealing with emotions that they'd typically avoid or suppress, or when talking about difficult childhood memories.

psychiatry emr

Same as Garth, I have chairs and a couch as well as a wicker chair so clients can choose a sit where they're most comfortable.

Kevin

Lo

As a patient I have seen a few rooms while looking for a therapist, and I have been in treatment twice. I found that the rooms can often be telling, and the seating arrangement in particular.

In one instance the two chairs were so far apart that it felt artificial.
We were basically sitting at the opposite ends of a large room.
When I remarked on it, the therapist said that she needed the distance in order to think properly and have clarity on what was going on in the room.

I was in therapy with her for several years, and issues around boundaries were constant between us.
I think that a therapist whose personal boundaries are solid would probably be more comfortable with a normal arrangement, and would not feel the need to create a physical distance.

As for the angle of the chairs I am not sure...
If you have a swivel chair you can tune your angle into your client's shame or anxiety :)

If you wish to visit my blog on my own therapy the address is http://www.theseparateroom.com

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