Holding Space

You may have heard this phrase before but perhaps not quite understood what it really means. It maybe sounds a bit vague or something a therapist might say. In fact, we can all ‘hold space’ for someone and probably do so without realising. We do it for those we love – family or friends – who may be going through a tough time.

So what does it actually mean to ‘Hold Space’ for someone?

Here’s what Heather Plett, author of ‘The Art of Holding Space’ says:

“It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc, we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.”

As a wellbeing coach and as a grief coach, I hold space for my clients so that they can find a way to navigate through a difficult time. However, sometimes this can be challenging because of the human tendency to want to help fix people or offer opinion! When I’m working as a nutritional therapist it’s appropriate – and indeed necessary – to give definitive advice. But in coaching, my role is more about simply supporting people in their growth, transformation, learning or grieving journey. It’s not about telling them what to do or overwhelming them with information. I’m there to walk beside them, listen and maybe offer some gentle non-judgemental guidance that can help them towards discovering what’s right for them. As Heather Plett says: give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom. This, in my view, is hugely important.

If you hold space for someone you can empower them to go within and find their own answers, to find their own way forward. As they are learning, growing, going through grief or a period of change, they are bound to have some ups and downs along the way. So it’s important for them to feel supported in a completely non-judgemental way so that they have the courage to take risks and the resilience to keep going.

Holding space is not just for coaches and therapists, everyone can do it for those in their lives who are going through a challenging time, such as a bereavement, a break up or an illness. It might not get labelled as ‘holding space’ but that’s what it is – it’s about being a compassionate, empathetic and supportive friend or family member who walks beside someone without judgement and who resists offering personal opinion on how to make things better. It’s really just showing unconditional love ❤

If you’d like support through a challenging time or through a bereavement then please contact me: vanessa@wellbeingandnutrition.co.uk

For further details about how I work: www.wellbeingandnutrition.co.uk/services