Beyond the counselling workspace: Spaces of significance in the treatment of self harm

  • YEAR
    Liddicoat, Stephanie
    2016 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science, Theory, Philosophy, Society
    Conference Papers


This paper explores the significance of environments outside the counselling workspace1 in the treatment of self harm2. Spaces considered include a de-escalation space post counselling, an urge room in inpatient care, and a natural mind-space, adjacent to the counselling workspace and accessed only visually. The transition of spaces and planning of the spatial journey around a counselling session are also discussed. Using literature of therapeutic practice, each of these spaces are analysed to show the reasons behind their significance to individuals in treatment for self harm. Utilising the architectural science principles of examining the way buildings are used and how well they physically fit their function, this paper explores the design of the built environments delivering mental health services, and the impacts of design practice on the therapeutic efficacy and the function of these spaces. By understanding how individuals who self harm may experience a space, better design of these environments delivering mental health services may be enabled. This paper suggests a series of design initiatives for each of the spaces outlined, and suggests further research into how to evaluate and integrate these into built environments. Implications for clinical practice are discussed, to explore the relationship between the physical space and the function for which they are designed.


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