Holding space means being physically, mentally, and emotionally present for someone. It means putting your focus on someone to support them as they talk about their feelings.

Holding space for someone can be applied to so many situations in this life. We’ve all needed it at one time. We all will know someone who might need us to hold space.

Holding Space as a nurse

As a nurse in my career, I have had to do this in times of patients receiving bad news, end of life care and before a major operation, providing information or other help.As a nurse I talked with the dying’s family about what they could expect and what their options were once their loved one had passed away. I needed to make myselff accessible, without conditions and without becoming personally involved.

It is a valuable skill I can use it in everyday life and in my clinic business now too.

Who needs Space holding?

You might need to hold space for a friend who is experiencing a crisis.

It is also possible to hold space for someone who is holding space for someone else. Think about people who are in a helping profession, like a nurse or carer. Perhaps you know someone who has a friend with Cancer or who is caring for a disabled spouse. By offering them a safe place to talk about it or just to escape it for a few hours, you are holding space for them.

Everyone can hold space

To hold space isn’t something that is only for nurses, teachers, coaches, and facilitators. It is something we can ALL do for each other! For all the people in our lives, our loved ones, children, neighbours, and even strangers.

The space should be free from judgement, shame or advice.

An important aspect of holding space is doing it without judgment, without trying to fix them or the situation, without trying to impact the outcome.

We must open our hearts and let go of judgment and control, and offer our unconditional, un-rushed support.

Whether we hold space for someone directly or have space for someone as they hold space for someone else. It’s never about you and how you would feel in their shoes. It is always about them and what they need.

Our natural reaction may be to offer advice or suggest certain actions that we feel would be the best way for them to handle something. Instead, we should empower them to trust her own instincts, even if it’s not what we would do.

People’s situations and decisions often bring strong emotions, fears, and sometimes traumas to the surface. Both for the person we hold space for and also ourselves.

To prepare for this is to know it will likely happen and be a safe, supportive, non-judgmental listener. This space allows people to feel what they need fully without shame or feeling that anything they think makes them something they are not. Trust in this space is essential!

When we hold space, it is necessary to recognise our capacity and know who our own supports are and when to seek them.

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