She walked into my office, with swollen, red eyes and tear-stained cheeks. It was our second time meeting after some painful marital issues that sent her to seek counseling. She felt confused about the unfolding of her marriage and overwhelmed by the various emotions her new reality was triggering. She struggled to cope and to make sense of what was happening around her and to her.
The stories of emotional pain were a common theme in my previous work as a therapist. Relationships with others and the relationship with one's self seemed to be where the greatest struggle existed for people who came to see me. For every person who came into my office, one of the most important things I could do was to hold space for them as they navigated through the peaks and valleys of their lives.
Holding space required that I create an environment that allowed for them to know and feel that they were on safe and sacred ground. The 60-minute session was an offering of sorts where the freedom to express their deepest thoughts and feelings was encouraged. It was a space where a person’s value was acknowledged, their strengths highlighted and judgment ceased to exist. This space was where sadness and anger could be verbalized and triumphs and newly achieved insights were celebrated.