I recently came across this article and thought it was so incredibly important that I should share widely.
Plett, the author describes ‘holding space’ as ‘”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.”
So what does this mean? It means that instead of giving advice, thinking about yourself in the situation (although of course within reason in relation to self-care), trying to direct them into any activity, etc. It means being there for the person in ways that provides them comfort, support but does not erase their agency or harm them (even unintentionally).
What does this look like? Plett provides eight key tips. They range from ‘giving them permission to trust their own intuition’ to ‘keep your ego out of it’. However, of course these are only guiding tips and each situation will be different. In my opinion, to ‘hold space’ is to practice giving and listening without involving your personal into it (but perhaps Plett is right to call it ego).
In the realm of mental health and psychological disorders this is especially important because we can unintentionally marginalize, misdirect, dis-empower, etc individuals. By practicing our skills of support, we can work towards healing as individuals, as community and as humanity in general.