According to Mark Gerald, the intersection between interior design and psychoanalysis goes way beyond the rug-draped chaise longue depicted in innumerable New Yorker cartoons. "In some cases, the analyst creates a space consciously and intentionally," the therapist and photographer tells Co.Design, often with less obvious goals in mind then the creation of a "safe space." Gerald's recent photo series, titled "In the Shadow of Freud's Couch," showcases the offices of psychoanalysts around the world, achieving a diversity of people and places that puts to rest the what he describes as the stereotype of the "bearded white man with a European accent in a Park Avenue office."
There are classic approaches, like keeping flowers—Freud once called them "restful to look at," as they have "neither emotions nor conflicts"—or the strategy employed by some Jungian therapists, who opt for windowless spaces to give therapy sessions a womb-like feel. Less potentially unnerving is the use of color psychology in choosing shades of paint. (In his own office, Gerald uses Benjamin Moore's overcast "Sweet Innocence," which he finds conducive to attentive listening.) At the other end of the spectrum, one New York City practitioner that Gerald features hung four photos of the Hiroshima atomic bomb going off on the wall above his couch, which apparently some clients find "permissive," as if welcoming "something very eruptive in themselves."
There are still other subjects where "the office has sort of grown around them, filled in organically," like the New York City practice of Anni Bergman, Ph.D. (pictured below). The Paris office of Sylvie Faure-Pragier, M.D. (above) could probably be said to follow this same decorative tactic to a more boho-chic place. Skip on over to Co.Design for the more from Gerald, and visit his website for the full series.