Since entering graduate school, I have wanted to become a psychologist in private practice who had a safe space for clients of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and questioning experience.
After a short while in school, I realized that I didn't want to create a space that was too safe. I wanted to create a space where clients feel comfortable enough that they can share those parts of themselves that they don't often talk about.
I understand now, that if a place or a space feels TOO comfortable, it might lead clients into NOT sharing their vulnerable spots and NOT working on their difficulties.
And, I wanted to have a physical office space where clients will walk in and feel affirmed as a transgender and/or queer - identified person.
In Dr. Ellen Stein's practice building workshop, she stated that clients should be welcomed from the time they open your door.
I remembered her words when I moved into my first office space in Rancho Bernardo, CA, and then, as I expanded into adding a day in Hillcrest, and now, as I leave Rancho Bernardo and move to Poway, CA, I am still thinking about how I can make the client feel welcomed into the suite space and into my individual office space.
As I move forward to make my lovely Poway suite into that safe - enough client space, I wanted to share with you some of the steps I'm completing along the way.
Now, when you walk in, clients and their loved ones are greeted by a sign affirming LGBT students
and one protecting clients' rights as consumers
For clients' convenience, there is also a table outfitted with a Keurig to serve coffee and/or hot cocoa and filtered water. Sometimes, there are snacks available too.
Since I have a bathroom ***in the suite***, I have begun to outfit it with little touches to make it more useful and helpful to my clients.
I have added moisturizer and tissues to my bathroom stand.
In my bathroom stand, I have added products to aid people.
The first shelf serves those who are menstruating. I have pads and tampons. Thank you in advance for putting your used items and any wrappers in the garbage can. You rock!
The second shelf houses "female condoms" and instructions, latex condoms, and lube. These are free to you. Please take only what you need and remember to check the expiration date. These have at least one year left to use. I look forward to connecting to the local health agency so that I can provide these supplies on an ongoing basis. I also am looking for dental dam and glove suppliers.
The bottom shelf has an extra roll of toilet paper. It's always nice to not have to have some extra, in case.
Welcome to the office. I am excited to begin making it a safe enough space for my clients and their loved ones.
Till next time.
Dr. Abi Weissman