Our places of work and living represent a collection of spaces created for our needs, and designed for the varied activities of our lives: living, learning, working, and thriving. We call these spaces our ‘PERSONAL ENVIRONMENTS’. The way we use these spaces has an impact on our individual and social behavior. Every space we experience influences our emotions in some way.
SpaceBehavior® (aka SpaceTherapy)
SpaceBehavior® is like a personal environment coaching service. The service was created to help you become more aware of the subtle ways in which your workplaces and homes are affecting your feelings, emotions, social interactions, behaviors, and thus your performance.
SpaceBehavior® represents an actual analysis of your workplace or home, and how it’s physical, social, and psychological expression may influence you and how you behave. Each space is evaluated for its positive or negative effect on you, the activity of the space, and your interpersonal relationships within the space.
SpaceBehavior® is of great interest to business people wondering how the design of their salesrooms affects customer response, or a homeowner wondering why one space in the home is never used, or why one space always feels so uncomfortable. People living or working together would want to know if their personal environment is undermining their relationships or helping it to flourish. Mental Health Professionals might be interested in the ways that their clients’ personal environments affect their mood and emotions. A space can depress or elate.
Why does SpaceBehavior® work?
The service is effective in that positive design changes in the environment will produce a change in YOU and your experience with others. As you use the changed space over time, you slowly re-adapt to its new influence. The change will create a new pattern, a new behavior, and perhaps more enjoyment of activity! Even a small change in the space you use will cause an immediate change in your response that begins to introduce new behaviors and feelings.
How do our personal environments influence us?
Winston Churchill once said that “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” We change our own setting by modifying it to our personal tastes and needs. The setting then begins to change us by forcing us to adapt to our own modifications. A personal environment is like a “mold” into which we “form” ourselves through use. Whether or not you are aware of it, you ADAPT to the physical and psychological and social limitations a space imposes upon you and your experience.
Furniture location, for instance, CONTROLS how we move through a space by creating pathways that we call a “traffic pattern”. The arrangement of chairs influences communication frequency, social interaction, and feelings of our intimate and social relationships with others.
The “mood” of a space is directly related to the quality and amount, direction and intensity of natural and artificial light. The mood of the space often affects our mood in the same way… Try to remember your feelings the last time the sun didn’t shine for 5 days. Our environments affect us the same way that lack of sunlight affects us. The difference is that the sun will eventually shine again. Our personal environments may negatively influence us for as long as we are exposed to them.
The height of a room’s ceiling affects how people think and process information. Low ceilings tend to support focusing on the specific details that may inspire a more detailed, statistical outlook. On the other hand, higher ceilings make people feel physically less constrained and able to think more freely, which may lead them to make more abstract connections and creative solutions.
Rooms with views of nature tend to support more mental focus than rooms that overlook entirely man-made structures. Even hanging wall art of nature can be a great virtual window.
The acoustical quality of a space will influence how others sound to us, and how we sound to them. The quality of a person’s voice, for instance, changes directly with the acoustics of the space in which the person speaks. The surface textures influence sound levels that affect our feelings of privacy or intimacy. Rooms with an “echo” always feel empty, even with people in them.
We are in intimate relationships with our personal environments.
How is SpaceBehavior® different from interior design?
SpaceBehavior®increases your awareness of the relationship between your environment and your behavior. We usually suggest simple design changes that can be done right away, involving no additional remodeling expenses. We might suggest moving a light or changing its intensity, not buying a new one.
We consider the space AS IT IS. During the analysis, we will confidentially discuss with you the ways that your personal environment may be affecting you or your business, either positively or negatively, and what you can do about it, right then and there.
If you are aware of a problem “area” that you want to be used in a different way, or even a social problem area with business or family members, we will demonstrate how the physical environment could be altered to bring about the desired change.
What can I learn from Personal Environment Coaching?
The most exciting part of this experience is that you are a direct participant in the awareness and possible change of your behaviors.
During the analysis you may begin to realize that the rooms you live in and work in affect you and also serve as a “mirror” of your feelings. In the same way that we dress to fit our mood and personality, the appearance and use of a space can be seen as a “reflection” of ourselves.
You might consider the rooms you inhabit as your next layer of clothing. The way(s) we modify our personal environments to suit our personal taste and needs often yield some valuable insights into the ways we may feel about ourselves and relationships with others.
A space you live in or work in, modified by your own special use of the space, gives it a unique character and appearance. It expresses a language similar to “body language” that can be perceived and “read”. Part of our service is to share with you what the space is “saying” about you or your business through its appearance and what it may mean.
Why is it important to consider SpaceBehavior® ?
A space that doesn’t support an activity or the desired personal and social interaction may cause STRESS!
Our relationship to our personal environment will have an influence on how we participate and enjoy the activities for which the spaces were designed. If the space cannot SUPPORT and PROMOTE its activity and bring out its “highest and best use,” YOU, the user of the space, are in some way being deprived of positive potential experience!
Personal environments have remained unchallenged as a cause of stress because the effect is subtle and takes a long time in building up. Right now, your personal environment may be slowly undermining your relationship with another, preventing an important intimacy from occurring, make someone look different, put the damper on an indoor family social event, or change a person’s voice from soft to hard. Things may occur, and you will never know why.