Thursday, December 9, 2021

Helping our patients to hold space or create space for their uncomfortable thoughts or feelings

In counseling, due to the nature of the work, we often see folks who struggle greatly with their own uncomfortable/unhelpful thoughts and feelings. We then coach people to hold space, create space, or make room for these thoughts and feelings.

So what do these terms actually mean?
Too much psychobabble?
What “space” are we actually talking about?

To explain, imagine if the uncomfortable/unhelpful thoughts or feelings are like a “toxic gas or smell” in a room.

Some will try to run away from it.
Some will try to get rid of it.
Some will try to contain it.
Some will try some form of distraction strategies to lessen the discomfort.

The above may not work.

So what if we can make room and expand the room in order to dilute the intensity of the thoughts or feelings. A small amount of toxic gas in a 2x2m room is problematic. A same amount in a football stadium might be insignificant.

Hence holding space, creating space, or making room for those uncomfortable or unhelpful thoughts or feelings.  

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