Designing Spaces for Well-Being
Research suggests that the characteristics and design of physical spaces impact the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of individuals. Poor design can lead to aggression, depression and other behavioral and health concerns whereas other types of design can reduce stress, increase coping, and improve overall health. The design of social work settings such as administrative offices, treatment centers, schools, or shelters for people in crisis, impact both social workers and those whom they serve and can promote or hinder the achievement of personal and professional goals. This course explores ways in which design varies across cultures and belief systems. Practitioners who are attentive to the design of their personal settings can create environments that support their clients in beneficial ways as well as improve their employment experiences. Upon completion of this course, participants are able to: 1) identify evidence-based design principles and practices; 2) conduct a basic environmental analysis and; 3) apply principles and practices to social work settings. Every day, social workers and their clients move through a variety of personal and professional settings, making this workshop relevant for social workers across different settings, specializations or client populations. The workshop is most appropriate for post-master’s degree practitioners with at least two years of direct service practice. NOTE: Participants will be asked to engage in a pre-seminar reflection exercise in order to prepare for the seminar.
Barb Toews, MA, is a PhD Candidate at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Her research agenda focuses on the relationship between environmental design, justice and psycho-social-behavioral outcomes.