Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Space is a concept which is often spoken about in therapy. We talk of owning your space and we talk of holding your space.. we talk of creating space .. to think , to breathe , to be .. we talk of having safe space and of course we talk of the importance of boundaries both mentally and physically and of the personal space that stands alongside both of these.
And yet we are really talking about self and the experiences that a person feels. It is said that one of the important aspects of creating relationship between a therapist and a new client is the ability for the therapist to listen. It is the amount of information which the client feels able to impart to the therapist. Because from this the therapist can start to gain an understanding of the challenges faced and how to best support the client going forward.
And this is all done through the creation of that space for the person.
In particular this week I have been thinking about the two different approaches of owning and holding space.
My thoughts are that owning space is all about how the person in question feels about themselves. It is about standing in your ability , standing in your skill set, standing authentically being true as you can and almost shouting out verbally - This is Me ! ( don't we love to quote the Greatest Showman now :))
Owning Your Space is about standing tall and making that entrance without apology. Whether you are extrovert or introvert Owning Your Space is the way you fill it. It is key part of the #FindYourRoar believe system.
Holding Space is different - it is in the arms of the supporting person. When a person hasn't reached the ability to own their space they need help and reassurance that it is possible. They need to feel they can express emotion without judgement and when they don't feel safe in their own space they need to step into the therapist space they have created in order to start the recovery journey.
What you as the therapist are saying in effect is that I will keep this space here for you and I will hold you up in it so you can explore what you need to explore .. and I will create safe professional boundaries in which to do this.
People who have suffered trauma can describe themselves as closed - it gives a vision of a closed space around them that they do not trust others to step into. Every achievement on the road to recovery allows them to open that space slightly more.
Having now started my new journey as a Community Celebrant I see also now how the Celebrant has a role to honour holding the space for families concerned . Giving them the opportunity to express their emotions - acknowledging them and respecting them but not stepping into that emotion - in much the same way a therapist does for their client.
Recovery is possible when space is made for it … from closed doors and small spaces you will be walking across wide open plains with many roads ahead.
Have a safe , healthy and mindful week