As a marriage and family therapist home visits were a regular part of my practice. These visits were meant to be a time when clients could share their hardships in the safety of their own space, but I quickly noticed something.
I often knew what they were going to say before they’d even said it.
The Home Design / Happiness Relationship
I could clearly see the struggles and emotional barriers that were holding them back because they were on full display in their homes.
A young woman who spoke of never having time to paint had put her art supplies in the basement, well out of reach.
A couple who complained of growing apart, spent their evenings in separate rooms ruled by their own, individual phones and TV screens.
A young couple who felt their respective identities had been swallowed whole by parenthood, spoke of losing themselves as they sat on their sofa surrounded by toys, books, and the paraphernalia of raising children while their treasures collected dust at the back of the closet.
Enter: The Home Therapy Method.
The connection we have to our homes is real and important. Fact is, our homes are one of the greatest reflections we have, telecasting out to the world who we are and who we hope to become.
Making intentional design choices in our homes not only breaks patterns that no longer serve us, it builds behaviors that will ultimately support us.
The first step I always took with therapy patients a decade ago is the same first step I take with design clients today. The Home Loop. And guess what? I talk about home loops in chapter one of my book because our home loops are that huge.
What is a home loop?
It’s this: Our thoughts create feelings. Our feelings create behaviors. Our behaviors reinforce thought. And around and around we go.
Let’s go back to our three examples and look at our artist. She thought she didn’t have time to paint. So, she took the action of removing her supplies.
Without them there and weighted down by the knowledge that she’d now have to dig them out, she fully accepted that her art days were done.
Thought leading to action that ultimately creates a social truth, and confirmed for her that she didn’t have time.
But was that the full story? Not at all. Together she and I rooted through boxes and pulled out her packed-away supplies.
Then we found a place in her home that could be dedicated to her artistry. Up went an easel. Out came the paint.
And while no one can time traveler and make expand time, we did something more critical. We made space and that space changed her home loop.
All in all, together we set a new habit in motion. Ten minutes a day to be creative that bloomed into full canvases.
As a result, these internal dialogues that we’re having influence so much of our external world — thoughts spilling over into lives and our homes.
Changes from the inside out
But, when we change them, when we pull everything out from the back of the closet and reclaim parts and pieces of ourselves by bringing these items into our surroundings, we, in turn, feel more like ourselves as well.
That’s what Home Therapy is about, how creating spaces on the outside that reflect who we are on the inside is a game-changer.
When I moved from therapy into design, I didn’t just drop that part of me and put those skills on a shelf.
In fact, I was both things at once!
This book is the whole of me. The designer and the therapist. It’s drenched with interiors that inspire and ideas that are meant to shift our homes.
From the Ski Slope Method to the Intention Tray, this book is a toolkit that we can return to again and again.
About ten years ago, I had that epiphany for myself. I made the connection that changing my home could change the way I lived and enhance my own mental health.
As I began to tackle my limiting beliefs with my own therapist, I realized just how many people this method could help.
Some of you will read the book from start to finish. Some will revisit different parts.
For others it will be a tool to help you balance your family.
Point is, I wrote the book so that it can be opened as needed, read in large chunks or tiny snippets, and then stowed away for the next time. Its message is forever.
Home Therapy: Your answer to being authentic and calm at home
Our style might vary from person to person, but the DNA of what makes us tick as humans is pretty universal. We want to be seen and heard. The same goes for our homes.
When our four walls reflect who we are, deeply and truly, it lifts, expands, and enriches us. We have the power to change our lives by how we live in our surroundings.
My biggest dream as a designer AND a therapist would be that Home Therapy helps us all live a little lighter, brighter, and better.