When working with people who may easily become overwhelmed, it’s important for me as a counsellor to establish safety for my clients in many ways. This is a priority before any other intervention can begin. One of the first aspects of this is setting up the therapy room that will convey the necessary safety in counselling.
Important aspects of any reparative relationship is a safe environment and to behave predictably in it. Relational trust is built on safety. That will enhance the attunement between my client and myself. So I can be present to them and in turn they feel seen and heard in this physical and emotional safe holding space.
Therapy Rooms in Private Practice
Recently I was fortunate to be featured in Jodie Gale’s blog Inside 15 Home Office Therapy Rooms. In her blog, Jodie allows the readers to enter the sanctuaries of healing and recovery that helping professionals created both sides of the Atlantic.
It’s clear how the rooms reflect the personalities of the therapists. Also show their effort to aid their clients’ nervous system making sense of all aspects of feeling safe there. These spaces with particular colours, textures, lighting and furniture can positively influence one’s internal state of arousal. Self-regulation and a sense of safety are closely related.
Safety is an Embodied Experience
Over the past several decades, neurobiology has increasingly informed practitioners of how the body experiences both threat and safety. We now fully understand that in order to heal we must address the body’s experiences of trauma to reduce helplessness or hyperarousal. Trauma – including that caused by emotionally unavailable parenting and deliberate or inadvertent neglect – causes chronic stress overload in the body. This typically manifests as loss of control and overwhelm. Counselling must start by creating and atmosphere of safety and predictability to restore agency in people.