When Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis to investigate the mind and provide treatment for those with psychological and emotional illnesses, he intended that the patient lay on a couch to induce a relaxed state and say whatever comes to mind. As such, the brilliant psychologist, within the walls of his own famed offices, had an inviting divan-style couch draped in a lush oriental rug for his patients; today that same couch is proudly displayed in a London museum.
In the modern world of psychoanalysis, the desire by doctors of the mind to provide their patients with comfortable seating, not mention flaunt their fashion-forward offices, has only grown since the days of Freud. The “psychoanalytic couch” is central to a psychoanalyst’s career, as it is a statement to the patient of the analyst’s level of success and prestige, as well as how much care and attention they are going to receive. As a direct reflection of the psychoanalyst’s personality, the couch style can range from a Victorian antique to a piece of modern high art; one thing is for sure – it has to be spectacular. To address the furniture needs of psychoanalysts, a niche market for sure, several entrepreneur furniture designers have dedicated their profession to making “psychoanalytic couches”, sometimes exclusively. One of them is Randall Scott Thomas, a furniture designer from Seattle who is well aware that psychoanalysts are a minority among behavioral health specialists, but also knows that they have a difficult time finding the right couches for their offices and patients. He’s further knowledgeable of the fact that analysts are looking for the type of furniture that is so inviting that their patients will want to sit back and reveal their deepest, darkest fears. One type of couch he designs can be described as a plush, backless, armless chaise-lounge style bench with a headrest for reclining. Another company that makes “psychoanalytic couches” is Prestige Furniture and Design. Developed over the last 50 years with over 100 traditional and contemporary styles to choose from, the manufacturer’s 7610 from their Series 7000 Collection is particularly classy and upscale with its leisurist style: stationary headrest, pleated corners and optional finished or upholstered base.
Freud once said, “A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them.” Perhaps there is no better way to get into accord than by lounging on a fine couch.