I consider my therapy office a safe space, and I even have a sign that says it’s a safe space. But what exactly does this mean?
It means that I am aware of the need to create a sense of safety for my clients to be themselves and to get vulnerable. I do not assume people come into my office knowing or feeling that they are safe.
No sign alone is going to give people that sense of safety, but I hope the sign signals to them that I will work to make that a reality for them in my space.
And I have to be real that I will not always succeed at making someone feel safe. Sometimes this happens due to each person’s unique experience of what it takes for them to feel safe, and their unique trauma history that makes them feel unsafe.
For folks with complex / childhood trauma, and those who identify as trans and/or queer, “safety” is often a relative term. What will make them feel “safe enough” to start being vulnerable. Because these folks come from backgrounds that may make a full sense of safety impossible without a lot of work.
And to be real, as I am an imperfect human being, I may say something, or do something, or assume something that makes someone feel unsafe. Then in this case, having a “safe enough” space means that I am going to own up to my mistake, I am going to take feedback, and I am going to do my best to address what made that person feel less than safe.