Thoughts from This Therapist: Creating a Safe Space
The works in this series will always be the opinion of the writer (me, Rebecca). Therapy and healing is not a one-size-fits-all box, so keep that in mind when reading. Everything in this series will come from my experiences both as a therapist and patient. I hope it gives you insight into different perspectives, and gives me a place to share thoughts on topics I feel are important. Enjoy!
In my last post I talked about the importance of self-care. I feel it is a good idea to follow that up by talking about safe space. Because although self-care is a must, if you do not have a safe space in which you are practicing your self-care, you may not be getting the full benefits. So, today we will talk about creating a safe space for yourself— something Ash has talked about before.
First, ask yourself: how do I define a safe space? In order to create a safe space, you have to know what it means to you for a space to be safe and even what safe means to you. Safety can have a general meaning, of being free from immediate bodily harm, but it can also take many other meanings, depending on the person. In reality, we are answering two different questions here, but they mix into one when talking about space and safety.
I can share with you my definition of safe and what a safe space is like for me, but keep in mind yours will most likely be different. For me, being safe means that I know no harm will come to me in the immediate future. Therefore, to have a safe space I have to feel like I will not be harmed in that space. On top of that, I also have to feel like I can relax and be comfortable in my space, and usually do not wish to be bothered by the outside world.
Now, how I create this safe space depends on where I am creating it, so I will explore a couple different ways with you here. Also, I feel it’s important to share here that I am a practicing Pagan, so some of the ways that I create my safe space may include rituals and other items that seem odd or may not work for you. I want to reiterate that creating a safe space is personal for everyone, so you have to find what works for you, and I am offering my experience simply as a general guide.
Let’s start with the “easy” safe space: at home. All my life, my bedroom has been a safe space for me. Even as a young child, I knew that no harm would come to me in my bedroom even though the rest of the house was probably not safe. So I have just kept that, and worked hard to keep my bedroom a place where I feel safe by creating an environment similar to the other safe spaces I have created. I made another room in my house a safe space by including the following: my altar, pets, pictures that either I made or have significant meaning to me, candles, comfortable places to sit, a view of outside, regular cleansing of the space through burning sage. These are similar to the way I keep my bedroom safe for me.
When we get outside the home, it can be harder to create safe spaces because we have a lot less control of the outside environment. This is ok, though, because we can still create that safe space for ourselves. When I leave my home I have a protection pendant that I have purchased, cleansed, and anointed. You could always make your own or find something similar that works for you.
If we are staying at a hotel, Air B&B, or someone else’s house we can prepare the room we are staying in. To do this, I first cleanse the room by spritzing Myrrh essential oil that is mixed with water to purify and clear out any negative energy. Then I go back around the room with a little “protection concoction” of different oils that brings positive energy and safe vibes for me. I always make sure to get the windows and doors thoroughly. The best part about this method is, although there is often a little lingering smell, no one actually knows what you are doing unless you tell them!
Travelling in general can make it hard to create a safe space. I again utilize the tools above, always having my pendant on me and my sprays. It may seem silly, but it helps me feel safer in a world that is very scary to be in, so I say it works. I can note too that I always have a method of self defense on me. If that will help you, find something that you can take with you to feel physically safe.
With creating a safe space, whether it be in our homes or somewhere else, it is always important for you to actually feel safe. The goal of a safe space is for you to relax and not feel like you are constantly burning energy. Safe spaces, especially when paired with self-care activities, are meant for you to be able to recharge your energy so that you can keep moving forward. When creating your safe space, make it as personal as you like, and remember, no one needs to know!
What do you do to help yourself create a safe space? Would you like to ask questions? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know by leaving a comment below or tagging us on social media (@llctherapeutic on Twitter and @therapeutichealingjourney on Instagram).