Safe Space

Safe Space August 2, 2012

One of the first steps of healing trauma seems to be telling your story. One of the essentials for telling your story is creating a safe space. How do you create a safe space?

For me, it seems like safe spaces just happen. I know that it’s an illusion that they just happen, but it feels like it. What do you think are the most important qualities of safe space? Here’s my list:

  1. Calm, quiet physical space. A loud restaurant is not a safe space for me. Just today, I was eating in a loud restaurant with screaming children, and I thought I would jump out of my skin. I get into sensory overload very quickly, especially if I’m trying to be serious.
  2. Trust in the other person(s). That’s kind of a “no-duh,” isn’t it? I have to open up to someone slowly, and know that he or she isn’t going to judge me.
  3. Silence. You know when you have that uncomfortable babbling in conversation? I need to have the opposite of that. Comfortable silence. I need that silence to settle my thinking, especially if I’m overwhelmed.
  4. A common purpose. Somehow that space has to be infused with a mutual purpose.

So it’s okay to create that sort of space for a short term, like happened in the weekend of HROC. But what about creating it for a long term?

That’s church. With a calm, quiet physical space, trusting relationships, room for silence, and a common purpose, churches can be a safe place. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes.


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