When I think about providing “ a safe space” for therapy, I usually think of both the physical and emotional environment.

Of course, in present times, “ a safe space” now refers to face masks, hand sanitiser, social distancing and all the other trappings of pandemic recovery that we currently live with.

The online Certificate in Counselling asks students to reflect in one exercise on the physical setting particularly, in terms of what best supports client process within that therapeutic space.

So what’s in your space?

And how do you work if you are working with an organisation in a multi-use space, or other setting where that space may not be as you would really want?

It’s particularly important to reflect on such issues if you are going to set up in private practice, either creating your own space or working with a counselling organisation and adding any of your own touches to an established space.

And if you’ve had your own experience of being in therapy, that experience will inform your own decisions well in terms of what worked and what hasn’t worked for you personally.

But probably many of us will only slowly be re-establishing face to face therapy sessions right now and that safe therapeutic space is also about providing a safe emotional environment, irrespective of whether we are considering face to face or online/video work.

What does that mean for you?

Although my first experience of being in therapy is 40 years ago now, I remember it well as being a not very comfortable space physically (a small office in a university teaching block), and it was unfortunately certainly not a safe space emotionally.

At the time I was in a very bad place emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, and mostly it was “safe enough” until I started to recover my sense of self.  At which point I left - painfully and with difficulty - but I left.

Since then, I have experienced therapy in all sorts of settings, in all sorts of spaces, and always after that initial experience in spaces that were thankfully very safe both physically and emotionally.

The therapeutic space is vital to the process and it needs to be safe both physically and emotionally.

So it’s worth thinking about both for yourself and your clients.

What do you need in that space for yourself right now?