448 responses to “What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well”

  1. Nolwenn

    This is beautiful.
    It is true that «holding space» is a term becoming more and more used but most people do not really grasp all that it encompass.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Patty Magee

      Your article on holding space is really quite beautiful it speaks to the experience from the area of control. Holding space sounds like a very passive involvement but really a behavior that may need many practice trails before one gets it just right. A person holding space is a strong, secure and a grounded person requiring great control and effort. I hope this term will stay with us for several generations because it will impact mankind. What a concept of acceptance to be there for another without judgment or opinion just unconditional love. It sounds biblical to me. “When we let them know that failure is simply a part of the journey and not the end of the world, they’ll spend less time beating themselves up for it and more time learning from their mistakes.”(Heather Plett, 2015)
      Heather Plett. (2015, March 11). Retrieved from http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/

  2. Marcia

    Thank you for this post, Heather.

    As will usually happen, it came to me at the perfect time. I’m a coach and a school counselor, going into a staff meeting within the hour due to a tragedy that befell one of our teachers yesterday.

    My intention is to hold space for our collective community and to speak to them from that place of compassion and support.

    I am grateful for the clarity of your words and their timely message.

  3. jean

    Thank you for this. I have not heard the term holding space before. It is something I have done with a friend in her last days. As I read the lessons learned I realized that my ego came into it a little. The lessons you learned and have shared here will be helpful for me as I hold space for people from now on. At least I can try to learn from them.

  4. Jane

    Heather, I practice holding a space often. As a holistic consultant with lots of people with a multitude of difficult stories, I hold a space for them to see they are more than their story. All that you stated here is true for me as well, holding the space, is a very spiritual experience and allows me to just be “love”. After all, its not me, its about them, those whom I’m holding the space for.
    Blessings to you my friend

  5. Mary Honas

    Thanks for sharing. This describes what I did as a volunteer helping breastfeeding mothers and what I do as a quilter working with grieving families to make memory quilts. I just never knew that what I did had a name.

    1. Mary

      I really like your response.

  6. Kelly

    Great article, very well said. I try to hold space in a lot of areas. Especially with children, I am the co-founder for a non-profit http://www.wholechildnetwork.com and Director of knaturals.com, free lance writer on mind-body-spirit health among other things :)

    1. Mary Ann

      Kelly, I live in Chicago, and just a few days ago someone asked if I knew anywhere to get memory quilts made. Would you please send some info, if you don’t mind. Thanks very much. Mary Ann

      1. Davina

        It was the poster above who makes memory quilts – Mary Honas

      2. Judy V Howard

        I have someone who makes bears from heaven, hugs from heaven she lives in Phoenix Arizona. She takes 1 shirt or blouse and makes a bear and on the paws names and dates or whatever you want. My parents died together and with a shirt and blouse of both 1/2 bear was our mom and 1/2 was our dad. Can send you photos. Give her a donation for each bear. judyspetsitting@comcast.net

  7. Lisa Vee

    I love that you put the term in it’s highest form..while dealing with death. I think it makes it easier for people to slow down and see it more deeply. It’s easy for people to think that “holding space” is obscure or a fluffy new age term that is only about feeling good but when you speak about it from the context of passing over, it becomes a slower more substantial form. You clarified the soul of the term. Thank you.

    1. Liz Harward

      What a beautiful reply. You just added a new level of clarity for me. Thank you!

  8. Kristen

    Dear Heather,

    This is such a powerful piece!! I’ve shared it on my Facebook page, the spirit that moves me. My colleague and I are in the middle of a series of women’s circles and have been having conversations about this very topic and how important it is in circle, but as you pointed out, this translates across life. It’s a term that is often used, but rarely defined, so I’m grateful for this very beautiful, heartfelt explanation and example that you’ve shared here.

    Thank you!

  9. lorraine hansen

    I think there are more than one way of “holding space” for someone you love. Alzheimers is taking away my partner and I am grieving his loss , as well as watching his mental decline. His family does not help or support him or I . I am devastated ,I am experiencing a different kind of loss.

    1. Pippa

      Have you seen the marvellous recent movie, “Still Anne”? It is immensely moving and I left thinking everyone should be required to see the experience that mental decline is. I do hope you’ll see it – it’s life changing. x Lots of love in your future challenges.

      1. Karen

        It’s Still Alice.

        1. emy

          ….Still Alice was a wonderful read, found it after my mom died.

      2. Megan

        Dear Pippa,
        I’m sorry to differ on this. I know that your intention was to
        comfort Lorraine, and I hesitate to disagree, but I also recently saw “Still Alice”.
        While I found it both powerful and moving, it was also terribly
        frightening. Paying attention to the empathy I have, both as just a person
        and also as a therapist, I would not suggest that someone that is going
        through the horror of Alzheimer’s subject herself to watching another
        family’s anguish. Lorraine is living it herself already!
        Instead, maybe we can simply validate her feelings. She’s going through
        one of life’s toughest and most painful experiences. Perhaps an Alzheimer’s
        support group could be some comfort. In that setting she would have people
        around her holding space rather than being triggered and left on her own.

        1. Max

          You are correct Megan. I’m living it and don’t need an instant replay. Max

        2. Yvonne

          I agree, the movie was very painful to watch, not uplifting or soothing. Although it was educational, for those in the general public that have no knowledge of this experience.

    2. Barbara Iczkoski

      Alzheimers is a slow dance, small steps at a time. Gently, quiety take your partners hand and glide him through his day. Keep your ego out of the way….Your presence helps him take each step along the way….His frustration is beyond measure, your inner strength will ease the emotional pain. Holding the space for him draws you both gently together.
      Your work is of uttmfrustrationost importance, to him, in this moment of time, you are his everything.
      The work is hard, but your inner strength is harder, take one day at a time and you will be blessed.
      Your transition from this work will amaze you.

      1. Justyna

        Your insight and writing is beautiful. It brings me peace as I try to adjust to my father’s dementia. Thank you.

        1. Justyna

          I mean you Barbara.

        2. Barbara N

          My dad has dementia. I agree with what Barbara l said to you. we are their safe zone at the time. Remember you are not alone in this. I pray that God will give you the strength that you need and support of many wise and loving people. Please feel free to contact me with the address I have used and if you can not see it I am on face book as barbara n benson- no picture but shows working at cra.

          God bless all of you going through any loss

      2. Tracy white

        barbara, your comment is right on.. The best thing to do is keep the ego out and enjoy the slow dance… At some point in taking care of my mom I listened to deepak chopra.. I took six important words away from the hour talk. ” acceptance is a state of grace”. I posted it outside mom’s bedroom door. Surrendering has allowed me to accept things as they are and to accept the gradual changes that come all so slowly… Blessed Be.

      3. Erin Varjabedian

        Barbara –

        You said that so beautifully, so full of insight, and with so much empathy & compassion. You are indeed a wonderful soul.
        At some point, I will cease to cry from all I felt in words.
        My very best to you.


        1. Erin Varjabedian

          *Your words.


    3. Siobhan

      Lorraine, i know what you mean. my dad died from alzheimers in december and i’d grieved for him so much when he was alive there was little more grieving left afterwards. it hurt more seeing him go little by little. it must be the longest holding of space you can do. there is no greater gift than being able to make him feel safe and loved. not always possible but when you can it keeps you going. family may find it too frightening to confront. my siblings did. you can only do so much so look after yourself, access all the services you can and make use of respite as hard as that is. if you collapse you can’t be there for him anyway. sorry if i sound bossy but i needed people to remind me about this stuff. my thoughts are with you.

    4. Karen

      Lorraine, have you ever watched the youtube videos of Teepa Snow? They are SO helpful to caregivers.

  10. Marci

    YES! This is powerful. I am sharing this with my doula clients today!

  11. Cile

    Thank you for this. In my work as an in home caregiver I find the responsibility of “holding space” for my clients and their families to be my most rewarding and sacred act.

    1. sunshine

      as an end-of-life, in-home, caregiver, it’s an honor … i had no idea that’s considered “holding space.”

  12. Karen

    Hard to do–very good explanations. What do you do when you want to “hold space” but in doing so, you enable the person to go unchallenged and stay in an unhealthy status quo? (I am speaking of being a friend to people with mental illness and personality disorders.) I guess that is where the word “gentle” comes in, and indeed, finding the right steps for the dance.

    1. Kristina

      Karen, I think it may be dual-sided, holding space for them and holding space for yourself. With mental illness and personality disorders, I see it as the same as holding space for everyone else. They are on their own journey, the same as everyone. It can just look vastly different to the journey you’re on. Of course, if someone is a physical danger to themselves and/or others, then it’s important to intervene. It’s also OK, in my opinion, to say “I think behavior X,Y,Z is hurting you”, but then, after that, it’s up to them whether they agree, want to talk about it, or completely disregard it. Continual repetition is only shaming – it conveys the message “You’re doing it wrong”.
      However, you also need to hold space for yourself. If a behavior is hurting you, then yes, say “This is hurting me”. If the behavior continues, then it may be necessary to distance yourself from that person. Usually easier said than done, and involves pain of a different sort. It just means that you aren’t obliged to be held hostage to another’s behavior.

  13. Karen Broadhead-Haney

    Thank you so much Heather for this beautiful article. I have been familiar with the term “holding space” for a few years and understood aspects of what this means on an intuitive level, but could not have clearly articulated how powerful a gift it is, nor what one is doing and needs to understand in order to truly “hold space” for another. I have known what it feels like to be held in this space, and have certainly known how it feels to need this and not get it. But now thanks to your wisdom and clarity, I can put language to these experiences, and can now articulate what it means both to be held and to hold another in this sacred, loving, non-judgemental healing space.

  14. Debbie Moran

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us and for giving such an eloquent expression of what holding space means. It is extremely well written and definitely from your heart. If anything else comes to mind for me to share I will certainly do so. Regardless, I simply want to express my gratitude for your beauty, grace and vulnerability as well as your mom, your family and Ann for sharing an experience that inspired you to write this article. Holding space is something I have done all of my life, professionally for over 30 years and I too learn something new each day. It is something we all do to a degree and yet so few understand it’s power, necessity and the depth of the gift of holding space. So once again, thank you and Much Love, Debbie

  15. Judy Young

    Thank you for this beautiful message!

  16. Eli Anderson

    A beautifully inspired and sensitive article. As a
    storyteller and narrative coach, “holding space” is critical
    to maintaining trust and integrity.
    A timely reminder of the responsibilities of our work.
    Stay blessed.

  17. Rachel Caine

    Many thanks for this beautiful article. I have been holding space for others for many years in women´s circles, in my sacred clown courses and shamanic work and across the final threshold for my parents and some close friends in recent years. It is lovely to read about the work in this way and to have it recognized and honoured appropriately. I think it is particularly important what you say about everyone who holds space having space held for them too – because this is deep work that warrants support for everyone in the process and the more we are cared for as space-holders, the larger the spaces we can hold – for Mother Earth herself as well as for individuals across the enormous threshold of death and dying. Blessings and love, Rachel x

  18. Vittorio

    I spent a year and a half learning this, only we called it “Ministry of Presence”. For someone like me who is used to being in the spotlight, this was extremely difficult. The results were outstanding. I know I made more of a difference just being there and not talking unless I had to. Just being there for people, as described above, takes a lot of strength and now I see why I was chosen to do this. This is what people need and this is what more people should be doing. Nice to see it’s being done.

  19. Glenda Standeven

    This is very timely for so many of us ‘baby boomers’ who are caring for our aging parents. Thank you for sharing your journey to help make ours a little easier. I shared it on my FB page GlendaStandeven.com.

    Glenda Standeven

  20. Rexie Lawrence

    I am Palliative Care nurse and I found your article to be so insightful. I am often challenged on how to describe my work to the general population but now I know what to say and how to describe it better- “holding space.” What a beautiful image it evokes. Thank you!

  21. What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – Heather Plett | monadsamadhi
  22. Mary Clark

    Thank you Heather. I am also nearing the two year mark since my mom passed in the same loving and most beautiful way. The hospice team was….there aren’t words to explain their love and support. Your post brought it all back. Thank you. Love and light to you.

    1. Sherrie

      Mary Clark, I too, am at a loss for words for the love, care and understanding that came from the hospice team that were there for my mom. We lost her this past October. This article opened it all up again. And lays it out clearly for those that haven’t been where we’ve been. It takes very special people to do hospice. Love & light to you.

  23. Vivian Levin

    I have been “holding space” with clients and family; only I did not know to call it “holding space”. This is so beautiful. I am filled with love as I imagine holding space with others. Thank you so much.

  24. Sarah Hay

    This article was shared by three different (wonderful) people on my FB feed so I was curious to read. Though the experience revolves around an end of life experience, I couldn’t help but think how this applies to midwifery and the special kind of space that is required to support and bring new life into the world. Full circle.

  25. Terry Phillips

    i am presently reading “A Hidden Wholeness” by Parker Palmer. He covers this well and I am intrigued by the gracious method of ministry.

  26. Dawn

    thank you for this. I have been a hospice nurse for 17 years, and I have never really thought about holding space. You are very right, I have a wonderful husband who has been holding space for me, while I have done this for others. I realize fro. This article that holding space is something I have always done for others instinctively. It is refreshing to read another’s words that bring such clarity to this subject. What a wonderful world we live in, eh?

  27. Dr Judith Congrene

    Thank you for this lovely article which a friend shared with me on FB, as she knows this is what I do for many veterinary clients in particular, as we prepare to help their loved animals pass. I hold space for these people in their sad times – supporting them with messages of support, answering their questions and concerns whilst providing palliative care for their animals, offering Quality of Life assessments to provide professional and emotional support in their decision making for when is it the right time to allow their animals to pass. I do a lot of shamanic drumming – at night under the beautiful stars to hold the space emtionally and energetically in support. I ask friends on FB to be with me in the times that I am going to a clients house to help an animal to pass – it gives me great support and allows these friends to know they are helping too

  28. Katrina Galbraith, HBCE

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for sharing the intimacy of holding space. We (society) all need to develop this characteristic. I wrote more about holding space and some heart intuition on my blog as a bit of response to this article and some others I’ve been reading. Check it out if you like! And let me know what you think. :) http://gracefulbirthing.weebly.com/katrinas-blog


  29. Theresa gallant

    Thankyou so much for this excellent article. Very helpful when working with people with addictions.

  30. Donna Tabas, CNM, M.S.

    Thank you so much for giving this extraordinary process such a beautiful and respectful phrase that turns a passive witnessing into an active verb that is infused with perfect intention and respect. Holding Space is a profound concept, applicable to those that shepherd souls into this world as midwives, those that shepherd souls onward, and those that shepherd souls in transitions through all the milestones of our lives. An active phrase infused with gentleness, dignity, autonomy, tolerance for differences, and peace, at their own pace. There is much to learn from these two words, which teaches volumes of wisdom.
    Donna Tabas, CNM, M.S.

    1. Viviana

      Yes so true and So beautifully stated Donna .

  31. Sally

    Thank you for this lovely piece. I think this image of holding space is a really powerful one and apt for relationships with any vulnerable person. It also resonated with me – I think I was trying to do this for my mum as she was dying in a terrible hospital A and E department, on a trolley, surrounded by noise. So hard. In turn I was held by a fantastic young man from the funeral directors, Peace Funerals, who supported me to choose the sort of simple funeral we wanted, even supporting me to wash and prepare my mum.

  32. Kelly Patrick

    thank you!!! I now have a name for this as well as the ‘permission’ to do/continue doing this. I do this with many people and have often wondered if I was doing enough for them. I didn’t want to try to fix, instruct, correct, I have only wanted to let them know that I am part of their ‘pack’, one of the people holding the net that will help carry them when they need and want it. Having lost my mother in much the same way as you described, then having lost my brother suddenly, I have come to know ‘holding space’. We had a hospice nurse come to visit mom at her apartment when she was dying and I am very grateful for the space she held for us. Now that I look back on that and knowing now this concept, I can feel the space that was held for is and the relief it was. Thank you, this means a lot.

  33. Jen

    I love this article! Thank you infinitely for sharing this. I often have a difficult time explaining what “holding space” means. I know it in my heart, but explaining it with words is kind of hard. You did it beautifully and I am so grateful!

  34. Rainer Weber

    Thank you for your article on holding space, which I have practiced and talked about for the past 20+ years in my work with individuals and groups. Over the years I have come to realize that holding space is a typically feminine way of working and interacting with people, to which women have usually a much more open and intuitive access than men. So it’s no surprise to me that virtually all comments on this blog are from women. It took me quite some time to accept that embracing this way of working and evolving does not make me less of a man. In a society that puts a tremendous emphasis on a masuline way of focused, goal-oriented achievement I have always found it very challenging to not just defend holding space against ignorance, ridicule, derision and negligence but to point out the tremendous evolutionary advantages of this approach to life and work. In this context I also had to come to terms with the fact, that although I too have the legitimate need for people to hold space for me, I very rarely find anyone I feel I can trust to provide that space for me for any length of time, which brings up lots of loneliness, abandonment, despair and other chaotic, confronting and painful states to be embraced and transformed into compassion. In my experience holding space is a practice of being willing to let go of control, to embrace all these highly uncomfortable states without fighting or dissociating from them, and trusting that this will allow me to access what I call soul space. Only from there can I legitimately claim to hold (soul)space for anyone. From the perspective of this space I sometimes feel like a midwive for someone’s soul or even a surrogate mother carrying someone’s soul in my soul space until that person’s soul is ready to be born into (soul)self-awareness. This work is as fulfilling as it is challenging and has led me through many nights of the ego and even nights of the soul, which feels even more painful and horrible when it happens. But then I am certain that learning to provide evolutionary soul space for ourselves and others is what will make the difference in human evolution.

    1. Karen

      Thank you for your courage!! You are right that this is not popular especially among men…..Holding space can only occur when we are the most honest and vulnerable….which our current culture rarely supports..

  35. Audrey Albert King

    You have written a piece that every expressive arts therapist in training should read. As a dance therapist and practitioner of authentic movement, creating the container for people to have safe experiences and explorations is key to holding the space.I feel holding space for someone is an honor. You are physically and emotionally providing a structure in space for someone to hear, feel, and possibly utter their truth for the first time knowing that they will be seen without judgment for who they are, and perhaps even seen with more compassion for standing or being with their vulnerability in this way. Sometimes holding space feels like the most important thing I am doing, but it requires a deep grounding, mindfulness, and much breath support.
    I relation to palliative care I can relate so much of the above. We took care of y mother-in-law dor 7 months when she had pandreatic cancer and told her she could die here. As it turned out she did not want to die in the presence of her grand daughters, so within hours of arriving at hospice she passed. I wished I knew. I wishe I knew that her body shut down much earlier. We had times of holding her in the bath room and me changing her depends which sometimes I think will haunt me for life. But, these things you don’t know when you don’t have an Ann. I am glad you did.

  36. Grace Sherer

    thank you for this phrase “holding space”… I might add the word sacred to that. I have just finished holding space in our home for my beloved charlie who made his final transition nov 26. He was only 61 and had bvFTD. I had several people who held space for me during the 2 yrs that his brain deteriorated to the point of death. It was challenging and I am eternally grateful to those people AND it was extremely gratifying to be able to provide that space and that time for him. For him, the creation of this holding space allowed an easy and flowing transition…no grasping, no gasping just floating down the river….

    1. Robin Hobbs

      Yes. When I see Sacred added to Holding Space, it brings to mind so many associations to sacred rituals within many religions. Empathy plays such a huge role in creating Sacred Space. It is beautiful for me to see a practical list of suggestions for not only creating Space, but for Holding it, for bringing it into an extended act of compassion rather than a limited-time-based ritual.

  37. Gerry Ferderer

    Thank you very much. I truly appreciate knowing your thoughts. It’s difficult for me not to be a “helper”….just a listener. Blessings.

  38. Beverly Burke

    Nothing new here. Sounds like an old old story to me…..

    “The old old story of Jesus and His love.”

    “holding space” or loving one another is what we were always intended to do. It is a relearn, reprogram experience for sure. We have forgotten what we were intended to be and can be. Thank you.

    1. Susan W.

      Thank you, Beverly, for interjecting Jesus and His love into the comments. THAT’S the heart of holding space: 1 Cor. 13 gives us the way.

    2. sunshine

      i agree … i feel it my obligation to “just love” …

  39. Dodie

    BRILLIANT. Wish I’d read this thirty minutes sooner, before sending an email to a dear but distant friend just learning of a cancer diagnosis and an imminent double mastectomy. I’d rewrite it already. But I’m informed for continued many opportunities to hold space better next time. Thank you. I’ll be sharing this liberally.

  40. gwynn raimondi

    Heather, YES and thank you for this beautiful post. I too “hold space” for my work with women and families. It is sacred work, I believe, and something all of us could practice more of, both as professionals in mental health care and as human beings.

  41. donna

    Thank you for this wonderful article! I have held space for many individuals in many different situations….reiki practitioner, daughter,job coach for people with special needs and now my husband. Each time/day you play a different role. Reading this answered my question on “am I doing the best for them”.

  42. Peter

    Thanks Heather. I like your article. It is always important to reflect on the support we are providing. Sometimes the mistakes we make and the shortfalls experienced are not intended. Ironically, sometimes they are born out of our desire to do the best we can. It is therefore highly useful to be reminded from time to time of how we can stand in the way instead of making a way for people we intend to support. I have some self reflecting to do and thanks.

    1. Sharlene

      Beyond this article, your words resonated the most with me. As I sit here, trying to understand why, it occurred to me… you just held space for yourself. Maybe I’m projecting. Reading your gentle comment reminded me to forgive my failings, stand aside & examine without judgement and learn from the experience, then carry the lesson forward as I move on.

  43. Kathleen

    This was a powerful article for me. As a coach and as a friend, it is so critical for me to be able to sit with the feelings that happen when I am trying to “fix” someone else. It is so much more powerful to be a safe space, to be the knowing that this person can come up with answers that are best for them. Thank you

  44. Steven Graves

    Holding space while standing guard is very difficult. I can’t help but notice that very few if any men responds to your statements. As the eldest son I am asked to make tough decisions. Where will my parents live, should we take away the keys, shall we call hospice, and the many hundreds of critical decisions that have to be made when we realize that our moms or dads can no longer make them. Whether it be a child or elder we as guardians must make judgement calls. Someone must say I can’t allow you to walk in the traffic. I cannot allow her to lay there on life support forever. You say ” do not allow the ego in”. Do not make judgement calls . Well we must in the end. I am touched by the notion of ” holding space” but in the end it is us that must make the call.

    1. Lisa

      Steven, it sounds to me like you are the one who needs someone to hold space for you. You are the one making difficult decisions, wondering if your doing the right thing even as you feel the pain of loss in your parents’ lives. Take this article not as judgment of you, but as a reminder that sometimes we need to hold space for ourselves when no one else is there to do it for us. Go back and reread the article as if it were advice to you about responding to your own needs during this challenging time. I hope that makes a difference for you. Peace to you as you try to do your best for your parents.

    2. Virginia

      Yes, Steven, you are the person who needs someone to hold the space for you. You are doing very hard work. As an only child I had to do all those things too but I had a lot of support – it sounds like you feel that you are being asked to do all these immensely difficult things without support from your siblings? Is there anyone in your life who treats you the way this article suggests that you should be treated? It’s you that needs this care. You are a caring person – that’s why you thought of yourself in the carING role in this article. But your relationship to the article is you need to be carED FOR. Can you seek support from someone who will do this for you? Therapist, clergy, friend? I wish and hope that someone in your life can do this caring work for you and that if no one does you will seek a professional who will. I have been through what you describe and it is gut wrenching. I wish you the best.

    3. sunshine

      as an end-of-life caregiver, i understand what you are saying. i’m a bit confused with the terminology used; however, when i work with those who i have to “make decisions” for, i try to give them choices that will be safe. Everything depends on the level of understanding that the person has, yet, if a decision must be made by you, the phrasing of how you present it, can be part of “holding space” (if i’m understanding correctly) and letting go of ego.
      i don’t believe that letting go of ego means letting go of common sense. yet, it is difficult for many to recognize that some decisions are not “others-based” rather “self-based”
      i don’t know if this helps or not, as i’m not too articulate.
      if possible, the best thing to do ask and discuss with your parents what their wishes are and gently guide them away from unsafe situations. (for instance, if they OUGHT not drive -not just an opinion of someone- you could present it as “you can be chaperoned and enjoy the ride now” … thinking outside the box is imperative.
      bless you as you make these important decisions.

  45. Dr Judith Edwards

    Thank you so much Heather- as a psychonalytic psychotherapist I have tried to ‘hold space’ both for children and adults for many years..and ‘holding space’ is a skill we need from the cradle to the grave as I said on my Facebook- I would really like to have Facebook contact with you if that were possible..if you could post this on my website that would be grand (there is a forum called Will you or Won’t you about death and dying…)

  46. Dr Judith Edwards

    ,maybe should have repeated the name of the website: http://www.cansurviving.com …..thank you!

  47. Su(e) Diyg

    This is a wonderfully written article which clearly defines a concept which i’ve been working on practicing for many years, with people of all ages, and in all circumstances. Your term, “holding space”, perfectly describes what i have learned to consider the ultimate practice of empathetic compassion: supporting another person or persons in their time of need without robbing them of their right to make choices that are best for them: holding a supported space where they can be themselves.

    Someone above expressed concern about applying this principle to those with mental illness, and i’m assuming she means those in crisis. As someone living with bipolar disorder who has been hospitalized more than once, I will say that hospital admissions vary greatly according to who brings the patient there: police presence, even when the patient goes voluntarily, means that the ER security staff assume that the patient is there due to criminal activity, and their attitude can be likened to that of prison guards on death row: they speak harshly and threaten the patient with being forcibly injected with Haldol or some other knockout drug. To have at least ONE person to hold your space under these circumstances is VITAL, as it helps lessen the fear of admission, especially for those of us who have experienced that trauma. I have advocated for years to set up a crisis call service for those being admitted who have no personal advocate present, in conjunction with NAMI, which already offers training for peer advocates. In my opinion, this should be mandatory for every police-involved MH crisis admission.

    1. Ashley

      Yes. Exactly This. I was disheartened to see that comment trying to make an exception for mental illness. I have been hospitalised with BPD and a safe space for mental health crisis is just as important as for any other type of health crisis.

  48. Gwen

    Holding space may often be seen as a holding of both time X space – and as a natural phenomenon, it is inherent (or belongs) to pregnancy. For me (both as a client & as a biodynamic body-psychotherapy/cranio-sacral practitioner) it means my slowing down my own energy frequencies in resonance to that of the Earth, to simply ground & let go of any agenda – bar giving acknowledgement & respect to the presence of the Breath of Life (spirit?) in & around the client’s energy-field.

    I know from experience that beneath the visible layers, whatever deeper processes – of change, of transformation, of maturation – my clients are “pregnant with”, these are gathering resources to enfold to the next stage.

    Other healing techniques call it the Zero Field – that deep timeless place – whence new energy or movement can come forth with new strength – that we are able to best support & accompany an individual, a body/mind/soul, whilst they are “in transition” from feeling exposed/vulnerable, scared, in pain, grieving, etc.

    In holding space then, we go back to trusting-in-Life’s timely processes. Indeed a powerfully yin phenomenon! I see it potentially as a kind of sacred midwifery indeed. And the more those accompanying another & holding space for another, can themselves attune in Trust & feeling held themselves, the easier it all just is.

  49. Jane

    Thank you for this very thoughtful article. I’ll be sharing this with my coaching groups.

  50. caterina Findsen

    Thank you for your truly beautiful and inspirational article. My sister and Dad and I held space for Mum as she was 9 days in her transition. During our Reiki share groups we offer if someone wants to hold space and as a childbirth educator the father or birth companion holds space for the birthing mother. I am going to print your article and share it with the different groups I work with. Thank you again. Caterina

  51. Carolyn

    I was fortunate enough to take a one day “silent retreat” with a kahuna in Hawaii. She gave us minimal instructions, then sent us outside to discover whatever was supposed to happen for ourselves.
    I had the most incredible experiences, and it was very clear to me that she was “holding the space” for me. To someone else, it might have seemed like she didn’t do much besides book the space, give us instructions and then have us report back to her at the end of the day. She did so much more than that. I am still filled with awe & gratitude whenever I recall it.

  52. Claudia

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful article. This is such a beautiful gift for everyday life


    This article has changed my life , thank you !

  54. Riley Sophia

    As someone who is cultivating these space holding skills, first through my massage practice of 11 years and then through the hospice training for chaplaincy that I am currently doing as a chaplain intern in a hospital, I have never read an article that so clearly and simply explained what it means to hold space. Thank you for sharing these words which offered me a way to see my work on paper more clearly.

    I would also add that, for the first years that I was working with space holding, I tried to hold space for every person I came in contact with all of the time. I found that this was very draining for me and that I didn’t allow myself the humanness of friendship and fun. I lost friendships because of my overzealous perfectionism around holding space and then my needs came out sideways. In order for me to hold space well for others, I need to know which situations are my work, my business to hold space for and which situations I just get to laugh, interrupt, be messy etc in. Finding clear boundaries around my role as ‘space holder’ and where it is appropriate is really helping me to be fed by my work and to maintain my right to being a messy beautiful human as well.

    Thank you again for your words! What a blessing to read them!

  55. Marie

    This was a beautiful article. Thank you, Heather.

  56. elaine

    Thank you so much for these words. Relevant on so many levels as the youngest of 6 siblings with 2 young children and an unwell husband I find myself as the main carer of my parents,the gp’s are holding my space along with district nurses and other agencies. I appreciate their time and support as I transition from daughter and sister into this new stage of my journey. Also the DSC option of holding space as a coach is probably the best job description I have ever read. Thank you so much perfect words perfect timing.

  57. madhurima

    Holding Space for the many selves

    There are different parts in us that have different values and different needs… different capacities… till all these move into integration (and may be even after that), it is important to hold space for all these different parts. Holding space for the many selves is an important step towards loving the self deeply… its been sometime that I started practicing this and I am finding it beautiful to hold space for myself through my many experiences.I am also learning to hold space for others as I practice holding space for me.

  58. L.W.

    It’s fascinating to read everyone’s comments here about the different terms and practices you have for the same concept.

    I’ve been in the field of partner abuse and sexual assault for the last 15 years. The incredible people at The Network/La Red who first taught me about crisis intervention for survivors used the terms “bearing witness” and “holding their story.” My most important lesson was the power of listening and how that simple act does more than advice ever could.

    I currently train staff and volunteers at a different DV/SA agency in empowerment and trauma informed care models. Your tips reflect many of our best practices for people in trauma. One thing we spend a lot of time teaching is trauma stewardship – or how to sustain and care for yourself so that you can continue to help others in crisis without burning out. (Laura van Dernoot Lipsky’s book and model.) Other words for this include secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. It is what you’re talking about when you describe having others hold space for Ann as she held space for you. Our organizational culture reinforces self-care, healthy boundaries and communication, and mutual support. We recognize that people will find their individual ways to have their “space held” including processing on their own, therapy, spiritual practices, art, movement, music, travel, etc.

    We also have been trained by Elaine Miller-Karas in the Community Resiliency Model that gives our staff, and now our clients too, the tools to help us self-regulate (soothe) when our nervous systems get out of balance.

  59. Tatia Donoho

    Beautiful article!! A good reminder to also hold space for a birthing mother as well. Very applicable to births I attend.

  60. Mary Ann

    I’m very grateful for your words. Thank you.

  61. Kaitlyn

    This is a beautiful article. All of this sums up respect and how to live it as a practice in life. Respect for self, respect for others and respect for the divine. Many thanks for sharing your beautiful words. Seeing articles like this one get spread around social media give me hope of a tomorrow filled with tolerant, kind and self-aware human beings.
    Well done!

  62. http heatherplett com 2015 03 hold space An... - raw
  63. Potential Space Saver

    You found the words that I could not…. to express my feeling about being a caregiver and the hospice workers that I have been indebted to. I would love to be in that role one day…..hospice attendant, or to hold space for people crossing over. To help the infirmed on their next journey would mean everything to me.

  64. Nelda

    This is a brilliantly written article. I like that something so quiet and internal is valued. People who can hold space for others . . . it’s like a superpower. Well done.

  65. Carolyn Coker Hughes

    Thank you and bless you – your powerful experience, learning, sharing…
    Appreciate that Andrea Goodsaid shared with me…at the moment most needed…

  66. Kat

    This is such beautiful article. Thank you for sharing. Wonder if you’d like to repost it on my website?

  67. Barbara

    Thank you for this beautiful piece. It brought back memories of the Hospice team who held space for me and my kids during my mother’s transition almost 5 years ago. It also reminded me of how much I held space for my mother. I loved this. Thank you.

  68. Shirley Anne Bradley

    Hello, I have held space, although I was not aware of the term, more than once in the 75 plus years that I have lived. I have sat with the dying and I have let them go in my head and my heart before they actually have taken their last breaths. And I have given permission for some to go, which has nothing to do with ego because the persons went in their own good time anyway. I just let them know it was alright with me, I would be alright. This article covers a lot of ground and when it comes right down to it there is no right or wrong way to let go of the dying. Holding space applies to the living too. And I know that someone close to me needs to know that I am holding space for her right now. I also am very aware that others are holding space for me. I am truly blessed to be aware of that. And because of it, I never feel that I am alone.

  69. Bonnie Norman

    Your article described perfectly what I experience both on the labyrinth and as a facilitator for individuals seeking emotional healing. The labyrinth IS the container for so many – a defined sacred space where they can safely face emotions without walls & know that when they leave the labyrinth, they are in control once again.

    Thank you so much for the insight you’ve added.

  70. Elizabeth Garland

    Thank you, Heather, for such a well-written piece. After reading several comments & questions, I wanted to share my experiences.

    As I continue my path in mindfulness & personal development, I realize holding space is truly being present in the moment.

    Holding space may mean simply just being present to a friend or loved one who wanted someone to listen to them. No advice, no judgment. Just love & accept them for who they are & allow them to drive their own bus. This is also very possible while having a conversation where an expected outcome is desired, but both parties need to agree to truly engage in active listening so they can get all the data needed to make impartial decisions.

    While working with a client in session, I hold space by focusing on them, listening compassionately & creating a safe place of uncritical acceptance & confidentiality in which they may share their grief, fear, trauma, anxieties, insights, hopes & dreams. They need to trust that I or others in the group won’t hurt them because this is a vulnerable place for them. It is my job to maintain it (the space). I ensure I am stable & involved only to a safe point. It’s not about me, even if they try to make it so. My role is to gently guide the session along to the agreed outcome or goal. If there is a problem in the room it is also my job to handle it immediately to maintain the safety of the group.

  71. CynthiaW

    This was beautiful – I have to really work hard as a teacher to not jump in and try to “fix” things for my students. But I also have to help their parents do the same thing. So many of them don’t want their children to experience failure, but everyone will at some point in his/her life and it’s so important to have experience with failure when the consequences are relatively meaningless.

  72. Greg Samek

    Wonderful! Beautiful! Yes and yes! This is such an amazing concept and resonates perfectly with how to guide/aid our friends through life. I will do my best to cherish these words and spread this concept. Thanks so much for writing!

  73. Sidonia Nightsky

    Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts on “What it means to hold space” you could not have phased it any better. The experience of holding space for someone is very much like what you describe, and it means a lot when another person knows someone cares enough to be there for them in thought. Very Nice!

  74. Valerie Bowers

    That was just gloriously written. I will revisit this often-thank you.

  75. Some links | Andrea Drugan Yoga

    […] “Holding space” is a term that is bandied around in the yoga world, and elsewhere, with little nuance. This is a beautiful breakdown of what it might actually mean: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/ […]

  76. Josephine Riediger

    As a retired nurse, I found this story beautiful & it personified the role of a good nurse/ human being. I worked for several years in the community as a Palliative Emotional Support Person. It is one of the most rewarding full filling things I have ever done apart from raising 3 beautiful children. To Hold Space for another is a gift to give & a gift to receive. I am proud if I played a small role in the lives of my clients & their families. Jo

  77. Josephine Riediger

    As a retired nurse, I found this story beautiful & it personified the role of a good nurse/ human being. I worked for several years in the community as a Palliative Emotional Support Person. It is one of the most rewarding full filling things I have ever done apart from raising 3 beautiful children. To Hold Space for another is a gift to give & a gift to receive. I am proud if I played a small role in the lives of my clients & their families. Jo

  78. Dr Mary Ann Hooten-Bivens

    This is beautiful! As a hospice nurse, I had never heard this phrase. It is perfect! And, I am going to pass along this article because people often have misconceptions about what I do. They seem the nursing aspect, but those who have never experienced hospice often do not understand the human perspective.

  79. Carolyn Hastie

    Beautifully expressed. What a deeply precious way to farewell your mother. Holding space in the way you describe is what midwives do too. So touching to read your words and be reminded how birth and death are so similar in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.

  80. Carolyn Hastie

    I wanted to add Heather, the photo is breathtakingly beautiful …

  81. Marie Day


    Thank you for this article. I was not familiar with the phrase “holding space” although I have done so in the past. You break down a complex situation in a clear and gentle way. Being there for others in this way is love and compassion at it’s best. Simple, gentle, humble, yet so hard to do. Thank you for your “how to” example. Sooner or later, everyone must be there for someone. I will most definitely pass this on.
    Thank you for sharing your tips. Well done. God bless you.
    Marie Day

  82. Pene Linsley

    thank you for this lovely piece. I have not heard of the term before but it struck such a chord with me. And I realise this is what I am often doing, in my personal and professional life. But mostly with my young adult children as they move through the tricky parts of their adult years. Thank you for the tips on how to be ‘more’ in the holding of space and for helping me see it is my partner who holds space for me while I do this.

  83. Teal Beatty

    i would love to share my story with you in regards to this and my son’s death. Since then over 20 years ago I have wanted to pass this on and do this work

  84. Elisavet Nikolopoulou

    I hadn’t heard of the term “holding space” before but I think it’s excellent! For the first time I can kind of visualize how it might feel for a soul to be judged, overwhelmed, pushed, unsafe, not heard, unable to communicate it’s own needs, inadequate, weak…and other emotions…it must be like a body trapped in a small space without freedom of movement, that’s painful for the body. But a body has limits anyway because it has to listen to the rules of nature, so limiting it physically isn’t so painful after all in comparison to the pain a free soul that has no limits can feel when limited in a narrow space.
    Holding space is a key to healthy emotions, self awareness and healthy relationships.
    Thank you for this wonderful article with such insight!

  85. Jason

    Beautiful article. Thank you.

  86. Holding space for others and ourselves | Mary's Montessori School
  87. Kris

    This is a very spiritual experience. The part about being too overly emotional ourselves spoke to me. I find this is my personal challenge. If I can just work on that part of it, I feel as though I may have found my soul work. Holding space for others almost defines what I do on a daily basis. I mostly do it in a behind the scenes way. This article has shed a much needed light on an issue I have been trying to figure out. Great timing and great tips. Keep shining your bright light.

  88. Gail Bienstock

    Although not familiar with the term, holding space has been the goal of my professional life, and more recently of my husband’s last years) of life. I’ve come to realize that so very much impinges on both process and outcome. Knowledge, understanding, caring and supportive community, cultural, communal and political needs and expectations…the list is endless. With all the steps, successful and disastrous, I’ve come to understand that holding space is a perfect concept in an imperfect, complex and often contradictory world, most readily approximated in short, relatively defined time periods. I’ve come to think of holding space as a communal activity in which respite is critical for the direct caregiver. We can set self aside to be fully present and accepting, but only successfully if that communal support ensures that losing our own self is not the price.

  89. virginia leontina mihai

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  90. virginia leontina mihai

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  91. Karen

    Lovely article… I have “held space” for humans and pets for years and not known a term to describe it. For me, it has been an honor to accompany a person, a pet, a team, through the pathway to the other side. I am enriched by the trust that I feel from this work. Blessings!

  92. Sanna

    Thank you!

  93. Jude Russell

    Thank you for this. Wise and amazing.

  94. What it Means to “Hold Space” for People, Plus Eight Tips on How to Do it Well | Dr. Poonam Sharma's Blog

    […] Continue reading this article at: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space […]

  95. can

    I know what this is, because this is what a gifted midwife/doula did for me during the birth of my first child. What a gift, when I did not know enough to know what I needed. holy work, this holding of space

  96. Katarina Wittich

    Your words reminded me of how much the honor of accompanying another human through their death is one of the greatest teachers we can have. Made me weep.
    As a Rosen Practitioner/Yuen practitioner, conscious dance facilitator, daughter, sister, aunt, I have been practicing holding space as you describe it for much of my life. Your exquisite words are one of the best and most complete descriptions of it that I have ever read or heard and I will be using them in many ways for years to come. Thank you!!!! Kato

  97. Lucy Beiler

    Heather, thank you for penning words to share the magic and mystery of the grace and beauty that to ‘hold space’ can offer.
    I too embrace this path daily as this is a way of living. It is honouring the wisdom within each of us while sharing loving support in all the ways you mentioned and more.

    Thank you.

  98. Elizabeth

    Your articulation of what means to hold space is beautifully and exceptionally well written. Thank you so much. It took me back through times when I’ve held space for others and others have held space for me. I know it by how it feels, but have never read an explanation of this essential life skill. Namaste. Elizabeth

  99. Kelly

    Hospice nurses must hold space too.

  100. Brenda Salgado

    This is beautiful. Parallels precisely what I have been taught by indigenous elders. They said being a true elder has nothing to do with age. It means to be able to hold space, listen deeply, support others to trust their own intuition and wisdom and life lessons, to support leadership and growth of others, share story where appropriate and with humility and grace rather than with an intent to tell others what to do. What this might look like “I am sharing what i went through that is somewhat similar, what I struggled with, where I failed, what I learned, what I might have don’t differently, etc.” To share story in a way that says you are doing just that, sharing your story. If it helps you, cool. If not, no worries, you are free and supported to make your own decisions.

  101. Storyteller Easterkind

    You’ve said you strive to do this as a teacher. It strikes me as especially true of Montessori education at its best. I’ve linked to this post in my blog about Godly Play®, Montessori-inspired Christian education. Thank you!

  102. Virginia

    Others have said many times over why this article is so great, and it is. Could I just say that the only sour note was your use of the word “Sherpa” as a job. Sherpa is an ethnic group and it’s sort of icky to reduce it down to one function – as though all Sherpas are mountain guides – well of course not – they are artists and business people and college professors too. If you have trouble understanding why it is icky, try substituting “my negro” or “my chinaman” for “my sherpa” and hopefully you’ll understand why it’s just alllllll wrong.

    Before everyone jumps down my throat that I’m missing the point, well, save your energy. I get the point and if I were the first commenter I would have written two paragraphs about what a great article it is, because it is, and how it reflects bits of my life experience on both the giving and receiving end. But there is no need for me to add to the flood of such comments so please just understand that I also loved and am grateful for the article.

  103. Glenn Wainman

    What a wonderful description of Empath and Compassion. These are the physical outpourings of holding the physical sacred healing or dying space for another human being. This is an apt description of how it was for my family in my wife’s last days. It is also how I would describe my paramedic practice for 34 years. It started simply as Empathetic and compassionate listening and grew from there. It was not until I was invited to a native healing circle that I learned it could be much more than listening and doing.

    I first heard the words Holding Space from Native people and was a bit indignant that it would be used out of context from my learning. I got caught in the trap of dogma, not being inclusive of all the possibilities. In a healing circle we agree hols space in our hearts and soul for the healing intention of the person that is speaking, telling their story and experiencing emotional release. We agree to listen and create a space of loving emotional energetic energy for the other person. We also agree to take nothing away from the circle accept the space we are holding and often the speaker will offer to tell us when it is ok to let the space be filled with something else.

    My wife was a hospice nurse for many years and knew well how she wanted to die. She wanted her friends and family around her laughing and little else mattered. She had her ducks in a row, and all I had to do was listen to her direction and keep the space in order for her.

  104. Evelyn

    This is my first time here and I am glad someone in my FB group shared your article. It is beautiful, touching, and very helpful. I am currently finishing up training in a coaching program and this post helps me truly understand my role as a coach/counselor. I will be subscribing to your post updates.


  105. Kitty Snyder

    This is a beautiful, tender article. I remember “holding space” with both my parents at the time of their deaths, and in the ten years since, have beat myself up on occasion for not doing it better, for not knowing more. We all do the best we can with what we know at the time. I know I did some things right and just pray that in the spiritual dimension they both inhabit now they see me and know I tried. This article says so much, so well, to help us all keep learning how to help “love each other from this world into the next”.
    Thank you for this article! KS

  106. Crystal Morrissey

    Yay!!! The world has needed an explanation of this term, especially one this clear and thoughtful! Thank you, Heather. You’ve given all of us a very useful resource.

  107. Diana

    Thank you Heather….I believe it was ‘Ann’ who helped us through my Mom’s passing so long ago. So kind and caring. It was amazing how she cared for us and my Mom. She truly was our angel and I will forever be grateful. While I walk this path with my husband, I only want to ‘hold space’ for him. I am not sure I am worthy however I have a willingness that is overwhelming. May an angel guide me.

    Thank you again…..with love….Diana

  108. Amy

    Wow! I love this! And needed this reminder. I am a LPN that works in long term care nursing home.Thank you!

  109. Susan

    How timely for my family. My mother with advanced dementia turns 90 next month. My siblings and I have very different ideas of how to mark the occasion…

  110. Steve Mitchinson

    Thank you for sharing this intimate experience. I like the concept of “holding space” which helps give language to my role as a Palliative Physician. I guess some days we succeed in doing this better than others. It is helpful to have some insight into the value of what we do-I have never heard it explained that way before.

  111. Gracenote Project – Holding Space

    […] Read Article […]

  112. Eric Knudtson

    Holding space seems like unconditional love to me. I’m working at listening to them more and trying to change them less in my work with kids.

  113. Emma Steer

    my nan has a brain tumour she has deteriated in just a few months sometimes i dnt know how to help her this has helped me understand and hopefully help her

  114. Maria Cleary

    Reading this brought me back to the night before my mothers death. I am one of four sisters, I am second born, my older sister only 17 months older. It was 2am and we were sitting with our mother, when my sister told me to give my mother the morphine. I said “no Mom doesn’t like the morphine” and we bickered back and forth with our voices escalating. Our mom seemed to be unconscious, and I remember the hospice nurse telling us the hearing is the last thing to go. We actually starting having a major argument about me giving our Mother morphine. I did call the hospice nurse after 2am to ask her what to do. Since my mom didn’t seem like she was in pain but she was in discomfort it was so difficult to drug her. We ended up giving her adivan. All my mother ever wanted was for her children to get along and what were we doing during her dying hour was arguing!
    She passed away the following afternoon with lots of family and loved one’s around, and we waited for a while before calling to have her taken from our home. But that night stays with me and I only wish it would have been different. Thank you for your article.

    1. Viviana

      Perhaps Maria what your mother heard was that her two very different daughters with different concerns and view points about her needs were both present . your mum heard both of you wanting her to be comfortable , both loving her , both trying to do their best and both as possibly is often the case with siblings being in some conflict about things . If that was normal for you guys then it at least was not fake . Fake being something I think in a way is disrespectful to be around the dying cause there is nothing more real than dying .
      Anyway thatjust my opinion but maybe think about it this way The music behind both of your words was a serenade of love , do not doubt that you mother heard this music and let go of your pain . she is at peace and so too can you be also .xox Viviana

  115. Dawn Bizzell

    This is such an important concept and well-articulated in your article. This is what I’ve needed as I’ve dealt with my husband’s deconversion to atheism. It is what I’ve needed after my daughter nearly killed herself. This is what I still need as I am one of the care givers for my dad, who is declining quickly due to Parkinson’s Disease. This is what I attempt to do regularly in my mental health parent support group, in advocacy, in my blog, in sharing the hard realities of my life, so that I can walk with someone else in their journey. There have been loved ones/friends who have done the opposite. This has been the hardest in relation to my daughter’s suicide attempt and bipolar disorder. A mom in my position needs NO MORE judgment, and there are so few safe places for us. I believe this is what churches need to understand when they try to “do life together,” though it has not been my experience. At one church, we attended years ago, a pastor called it the “ministry of presence.” People need your presence, not your thoughts, words, advice, or judgment.

  116. Michelle Renee


    This was coincidentally posted on Facebook by a friend of mine today. The message felt like it was written for me, as my grandmother is making her final transition tonight or tomorrow, probably. That you wrote about not judging people is very timely for me. There are many hard feelings between some family members right now over who did for my grandma and who did not do enough. I feel like Switzerland, and I’m o.k. with that. Thank you for this article.

  117. sharon

    My son has Angelman Syndrome which is a very difficult neuro genetic condition. He is not yet 2. We see a palliative care pediatrician. Every single person that works for him and he himself give so tirelessly to over 300 children with severe illnesses or disabilities. They hold space for us all. They truly are my heroes. Thank you for putting into words what these wonderful people do. Many blessings to you.

  118. Corona

    Thank you so much. This is just a wonderful explanation of “holding space”….I love the points that you’ve included. I have book marked this and will return to it again and again.

  119. “Holding Space” in India | Jennifer Drobac's Musings

    […] I returned to my room and logged on to start this blog and to thank Geetika and Harsh – all of them. However, I was distracted by a Facebook post by my dancer friend, Patte, regarding “holding space” for people. See Heather Plett, What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/ […]

  120. Veronica

    Such a beautifully, heartfelt written article Heather. As a holistic psychotherapist specializing in grief I slipped into this article like a hand into a glove. You wrote sensitively and eloquently about your transformative experience and how “holding space” applies in life. Thank you for your wisdom and truth which is a gift.

  121. taking notice ~ week 11 | lisa's Cheap Therapy blog

    […] This article about Holding Space speaks to me so powerfully these […]

  122. Jo

    Thank you This us a lovely summary about something that is fundamental for healing. . I would add self care as point nine. It’s crucial for carers to be supported, especially over prolonged periods of time, or if professional carers. Thanks so much for putting this out there!

  123. g2w

    Beautiful— I wish I had read this when I was working as a consultant— thank you

  124. Gina Costa

    Beautifully written and this resonates with me on so many levels, as a caregiver who mom was in hospice, as a breast cancer survivor and as a survivorship coach. Thank you for sharing!

  125. Sarah

    If you’re not already familiar with Community of Hope International you might want to look into it.

  126. What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – Heather Plett | In the pursuit of OK-ness

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – H…. […]

  127. Mary Friedel-Hunt MA LCSW

    This is an amazing piece. Thank you for writing it and for the wonderful tips you have provided. I have shared this on my Facebook page and will share it as a resource on my website. Every person needs to read this. I am approaching the 5th anniversary of my husband’s death and though I have walked through death many times with others, this one has been my most painful (no word for that) and one that has taught me so much. This piece of your has been a part of my learning and growth and I am happy to have this to remind myself and to share.
    Peace to your heart,

  128. The Hermit's Path—Practicing Kindness - Joanne Sprott

    […] A very fine article from Heather Plett on “holding space.” I learned a tremendous amount just from this post. […]

  129. A ‘Cognitive Surplus’ in the Bronx! | Mapping the Futures of Higher Education
  130. Terry Barnett-Martin

    What a beautiful message. Holding Space is such a powerful idea. Thank you for this moving and inspiring article. As I read it, I found myself taking a deep breath and relaxing into it, knowing the that the time will come when I will need to hold space for beloved people in my life, whether from this life to the next, or just in making important decisions. Taking ego, expectations, anxiety, and pushiness out of it, allows others to lean into it on their own time, in their own way. I am keeping a copy of this to read again and again.

  131. Holding Space | Hope for Life's Journey

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  132. Tim McKamey

    Interning my way towards becoming a Certified Healing Music Practitioner. I can relate to “holding space”. Our work at the bedside requires all those lessons you’ve listed above. The “space” in which music heals is a restorative space, involving as much balance and harmony as is possible, given whatever conditions we are dealing with at the time. It is improvisatory and is most effective when we get out of our own way and let the patient draw the music from/through us that is best suited to their particular need at any given moment. The image of “holding space for another” reminds me of an exercise a choral director I once knew used. To help us support our breath she would tell us to visualize a spinning ball in space a few inches in front of our open mouths. Our job as singers was to “hold the space” for that ball and keep it spinning smoothly and perfectly without blowing it away or letting it drop.

  133. Annette

    I LOVE this article. I have heard and even used the term ‘holding space’ before (it’s my honor and sacred duty as a coach), but I’ve never seen it so beautifully defined. THANK YOU for your inspiration and words of wisdom!

  134. Sacred Space: For All the Seekers | Maple Leaf Kitchen

    […] This is a beautiful post on holding space and how to do it.  Cheers to hospice nurse Bridget for sharing […]

  135. Lance

    Very good stuff. I’m a holistic health practitioner working in Asia, right now at a Buddhist monastery in northern Thailand. I work with monks, and laypeople who are practicing the original and deepest form of Buddhism. Better said, they live it. And your post smacks of the original teachings of Buddha, a way of being that exists and is common here in the north.

    It’s not only for hospice, and people dying. It is about living this way regardless of the circumstances. It is the authentic Path That Buddha spoke of. It was quite refreshing to read this in English, and that it is known in the West.

    Thank you very, very, very much.


  136. Food for Thought | Team Aidan

    […] What it Means to Hold Space for Others […]

  137. Holding Sacred Space For a Friend - Men's Fellowship Network

    […] Holding Sacred Space – 8 Tips […]

  138. When I Can’t Fix It. |

    […] (After I wrote this I came upon a post that had perfect timing by Heather Plett about what it means to “hold space” for people and it’s great…you can read it here) […]

  139. What it Means to "Hold Space" for People - Aleksandra Corwin

    […] clients, and for each other. The best writing comes from this very place. Heather Plett does an excellent job explaining what that means. It’s a key concept for professional communicators to […]

  140. Diana

    Holding space for others and ourselves is expression of true and universal love. In my experience, I can truly love others and myself as I know God loves me and each of us immensely, gives us freedom to make our choices, is merciful when we fail to follow the truth. While I try to act as a channel of his love and pray for others I keep in mind that it is not about me but his light that empowers people to do the right thing in their own ways. Blessings

  141. Lisa Finkelstein

    This is really helpful. Thank you for sharing your own experience. I found tip #7 very helpful.

  142. Jennifer Wyman-Clemons

    Thank you for summarizing this interaction. The art of which becomes lost with constant electronic bombardment- especially telling us what to think or feel. I recently found a great meditation that clarifies the process.

  143. Sally moore


  144. Gillian Kendall

    Thanks for this. I’ve heard the term “holding space” used but never have seen or heard a definition of it. It seems clear now — “holding space” is just being respectful of a person while spending time with them and being close. Thanks.

  145. Melanie Somerville, MA, LPC

    I am familiar with this term as it refers to phenomenological presence with the other, as in Buber’s I-thou. You have described it beautifully, in terms that everyone can relate to. Thank you.

  146. MHM Ep9: Membership Cards | COM|PASSionate REVOLT

    […] be able to access it without impeding on anyone else’s needs/space. We were really moved with this article on space holding around a different type of transition, but we think that it holds a lot of resonance for the […]

  147. Liz Vitale

    So very beautiful — your mom was so blessed to have you present, and you were all blessed to have Ann there as your angel!! Thank you for this lovely piece of writing. (I’m a psychologist, and do know how important it is to hold space, and pray that I do it well in the service of my clients, when that is what is most needed.)

  148. sam

    Thank you. As an adult adoptee it has been a life-long journey learning to do this for myself.

  149. cathy dambrosio

    i enjoyed this article and loved the term “holding space” because i have been doing this since i was l2 years old….it started with an Italian Aunt. we did not do the “hospice thing” …when someone passed away, we would come and “take over” the kitchen and home. when aunt annie died when i was in my 30’s i basically went on my own and continued her legacy. i make things comfortable for the grieving and push them to talk and “open up”..and not stay inside the darkness of grief…so i guess there are many forms of holding space

  150. Paul Colaianni

    This is very much in line with what I call “staying in uptime”. I love the way you worded the article, and the tips are excellent. When you can be there for someone, listening and letting them be without involving your own emotional baggage, they will feel safe.

    That zone of safety you create for someone is so important, especially when they are so vulnerable.

    You said it well – love it. Thank you!

  151. What it means to “hold space” for people | Exquisitely Human

    […] the full, lovely piece What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well by Heather […]

  152. Sue G

    Thank you for this article. Recently, I have become better at holding space for others and have found people who do so for me for the first time. But I didn’t realise what the difference was until I read this. And I can see where my remaining weaknesses are. This is not easy but it’s so important.

  153. Love and positive emotions as a therapeutic target | advancingschizophreniatherapeutics

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  154. Pamela

    I can think of times I needed someone to hold space…
    didn’t have that when I lost my mom.

  155. Captain Suky

    This is well said and very poignant. When my son died tragically and unexpectedly, I was blessed with a beautiful circle of women who did just this. They saved my life. They can also be called doulas – just as there are doulas for new mothers, these extraordinary women are death doulas. It made me realize and appreciate the importance of holding the space for a mother and father who experience a child dying, just as we do for mothers giving birth. Thank you for this piece.

  156. Barry

    Absolutely stunning piece of writing. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to share your very personal experience. Ann sounds like a blessing. Your writing will have ripples in my life and the lives of those that I hold space for as a coach, leader, father, and husband.

  157. Alison

    Thank you for this beautiful and humbling article. It really speaks to what unconditional love is all about. It is holding space for the best in another without any attachment to outcomes. It isn’t always easy to do this as most of us have some kind of agenda or attachment to our own perspectives and experiences. It is through the school of life and caring for those we love who are different from us that we learn how to love unconditionally. Thank you, Alison

  158. Faith

    Thank you so much for this. I am currently caring for a precious friend and his family. While the crossing over is still a while away, there are days when I need to ‘Hold Space’ for them. I know I am going to have to do more and more as his time gets nearer. ALthough trained and worked as a hospice caregiver for many years…so much harder when doing the same for a beloved friend. Luckily we have a local hospice nurse and social worker who will aid me in the holding space.

  159. Poor old we | Muse & Meander

    […] written, and deals with an important subject for which she is qualified to address.  Here, go take a peek. And please share with people who will benefit (that’s pretty much everyone you’ve ever […]

  160. Mimi Burns

    Thank you for your article. If you could also please let people know about ‘Death Midwives’, it is an entire organization created for the support network while returning people to ‘holding a space’ for those in transition from this world to the next

  161. Charlotte


  162. Becca Berggren

    Thank for the clear and beautiful insight and advice! I was just sharing with a group last week that I believed by greatest strength to be the ability to hold space for my marketing clients. I received a few blank stares – i think many expected my “strengths” to be tactics or knowledge based. But really – I hold space (gentle and non-judgemental) for clients to go deep within themselves to access their inner truth….so that they can translate their essense into their brand. It takes some introspection + vulnerability with a tad of guidance to help them birth their “picture” of who they truly are and be able to illustrate how they will share their gifts. Your article gives me a framework of areas I can focus more on to make the experience of holding space even more powerful. Much gratitude!

  163. Day 29: believe – why do I stay? | Lent 2015

    […] my biggest supporters all through my coming out process. The first two people I came out to “hold(ed) space” for me in a way that was so desperately needed. Being queer and in the church is difficult. […]

  164. Joan

    Thank you for the wonderful articulation of this uniquely supportive, healing stance toward others. However, I was also dismayed by the exception for those with addiction or mental illness.

    I have been–and still am–on both sides of this, as one with a mental illness and a sponsor in AA. People with mental illnesses and addicts are often treated as “less than” by those who presume to hold a standard of “normalcy.” Even in the grips of profound psychosis, we are still able to make decisions for ourselves and being deprived of the right to do so is severely traumatizing. All too often “interventions” are for the benefit, comfort and convenience of family members, not for the benefit of the one being targeted. Frequently, family members are unable to face the pain of their own situation and take action to protect and support themselves without coercing their loved one into reforming for the sake of the family. Enabling is not loving, but forcing treatment on someone is not loving either, no matter how justifiable it may seem. It is also doomed to failure.

    As an AA sponsor, I share my “experience, strength, and hope” with another, and I offer suggestions and emotional support. I do not tell my sponsees what they should do, or what choices they should make. Sometimes I suggest choices that they cannot see. My sponsor did this for me and that is the greatest reason why I am even able to write this today. I have learned that I have to accept my own disappointment when a sponsee makes choices that I don’t like, continues to be stuck in the grips of addiction, or rejects the program altogether and gives up. I get frustrated and angry–at the addiction, at society which offers us so much condemnation and so little actual support, at my higher power for seeming to let this happen. I even second-guess myself–did I do enough, did I say the right thing. Ultimately, though, the outcome is not up to me. The decisions must be made by the one I am trying to help and the outcome is up to the power that supersedes us all.

  165. read * hear * say * see * eat {5} | Heirloom Mothering

    […] a poignant essay on caring for her dying mother, Heather Plett shares what it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it […]

  166. How to hold space for yourself first - Heather Plett

    […] What an amazing week it has been! A week ago, I shared my post about what it means to hold space for people and it has been spreading like wildfire. Suddenly, tens of thousands of people were visiting my […]

  167. Jason Bratcher

    A very beautiful and concise article. This is the essence of what Lomi Lomi Temple style bodywork is about. Its a principle that is often taught in workshops and is conveyed in these sacred sessions we faciliate for people. I especially like #5 Make them feel safe enough to fail.
    Its a powerful message and one that I and others in our profession really connect with.
    This concept of “Holding space” is not just reserved for someone’s transition out of life and into source/spirit. This is for everyday LIFE and all that it encompasses.
    Thank You and Much Love.

  168. Jason Bratcher

    AND I Might add that its not just about holding space for others but for yourself as well. Honoring yourself but not self aggrandizing. To Hold space for yourself is a challenging thing at times. Inner critic and negative thoughts always bubble up and you begin to question your “worthiness”. The mantra is “I am worthy and I am enough” “I may fail,I am human,but I am still worthy and I am enough”
    Much Love.

  169. Amy

    Thank you, I’ll keep this article in a place where I can read it on a regular basis to help remind me of how to maintain boundaries and respect another’s space without disconnecting.

  170. Sandra Rice,

    Thank you, for your article I have just when through what you have and we had Hospice with my mom and she was at home were she wanted to be thanks to these people who were with Hospice.

  171. Jill

    ive heard the term “holding the space”, and understood what it meant, but it really wasn’t until I read this lovely piece that I came to understand that this is exactly what I am doing in my work. I am a veterinarian, and I provide end of life care in the form of at home euthanasia. I communicate with pet owners before the appointment as much as they need, and during the appointment, I work slowly and gently, talking them through every aspect of the process. I have often commented that the service I provide has little to do with my trainer big as s veterinarian, and much to do with my journey as a human being. I now understand that what I am doing is holding the space, for both my clients AND my patients. By skillfully caring for the patient from the moment I arrive for the appointment, I am creating even more space for my clients.

  172. Happy Weekending! | Volatizing The Esters

    […] is means to “hold space” for the ones we hold […]

  173. Finding space in Indulgence | Lost at Sea

    […] called ‘What it means to hold space for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well” – http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/. Below is a list of the eight tips that they […]

  174. On Support and Holding Space | A Candid Look at Mental Health

    […] recently came across this article and thought it was so incredibly important that I should share […]

  175. Kristie

    So what I needed at this time. Thank you for the article. I am learning how to practice these now and thank you for the beautiful read.

  176. Jenn

    Maybe it’s how our Father in Heaven offers us grace and forgiveness.

  177. Michele

    I am a Foster Carer to a beautiful 4 year old girl in Melbourne Australia and she has truly been the greatest blessing the Universe has sent to me.
    I have learned so much from her and having her has made me reflect very deeply on what my true values are in this life. Like so many of these children her life didn’t start out with the love and nurturing that children deserve as infants and toddlers.
    Your article has given me another ‘tool’ for my ‘Toolbox of Life’ so that I can give this little girl the space to accept her history and hopefully to grow into a strong, independent Woman. I am hopeful that I will become her Permanent Carer and her “Forever Home” and that I will see her develop her own strengths and values.
    It is a long, invasive and arduous journey from Foster Carer to Permanent Carer, however, your article has taught me that if I ‘hold space’ for those doing the Assessment and keep a positive attitude then I will get the outcome I want and that I believe my Foster Daughter wants if she cannot return to her Biological Family.
    Thank you for the timely posting of this article, it was perfect for me, given the place I am in at the moment.
    Many thanks

  178. D Semenoff

    It warms my heart to hear that you received support that you really appreciated during the time of your mom’s passing.

    You’ve stated that, “When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”

    I find that NVC (Nonviolent Communication or Compassionate Communication) helps me to hold a space for people.

    Thank you for your sharing and inviting us to share as well.

  179. Hanna Cooper

    So beautifully put. Thank you for putting words to this important skill and experience.

  180. Leanne Fournier

    Thank you for this Heather. I am in the early stages of supporting my dad in this journey through dementia. My mother who is also supporting him has depression. This article has given me many ideas to support both of them, but more importantly permission to do so in a way that honours where they are at – and not have to push my own agenda. That concept of holding space for them until they are ready for more information, more help etc. – and to do the same for myself as their caregiver – will allow me to breathe easier and not question everything I do. Thank-you so much.

  181. A special gift to help you make deeper connections - Heather Plett

    […] is why a blog post about holding space can go viral – because it responds to our hunger for connection. We’re used to silly cat […]

  182. Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin | Conscious Heart Events

    […] and the patient is a respected partner in the healing process. She suggest that doctors hold space for their patients, encourages them to be fully present to their patients and to offer nurturing […]

  183. Kim

    Alzheimer’s Forgetful Not Forgotten

    There are so many people dealing with Dementia / Alzheimer’s that are not aware of this group. It is a closed group and everyone is welcome to share their story, ask questions and even share ways to get through different things just a little bit easier. There are lots of articles posted here that are most interesting and can help so many. Any and everyone that is caring for a friend or loved one with this needs help but most are very reluctant to ask. Having somewhere to turn for information or just to talk is one of the most beneficial ways to help.

  184. Food for Thought - Family Synapse

    […] What it Means to Hold Space for Others […]

  185. Cendra Lynn

    We call it bearing witness, I term I was given by Elie Wiesel. It means to open your heart to their story, their feelings, their behavior. When we share our grief with others who bear witness to it, our load gets lightened and so does theirs, because this is the place where magic happens. This open sharing brings in light, love, and keeps our spirits alive. This is where grace happens.

  186. Things I’m Loving Friday | Ashley Forrer Wellness

    […] What it means to “hold space” […]

  187. Jeff Venn

    Heather, thank you for writing this article. I’m thinking of the way I’m raising my four young children and how I can create “space” for them to discover and be themselves as they were created.

  188. Kiu

    I really enjoyed your article, thank you. The area I have a lack of clarity around is the point you made about “keep your ego out of it” I get that if all of our attention is on what we can get from the situation (and this can be totally unconsciouss) then this does not benefit anyone and yet the idea that I must somehow block or repress emotions that may arise for myself seems incongruent to the whole philospohy. Should I not offer myself what I would offer the other? If they wanted to feeled valued or confident they were contributing to the well being of others I imagine telling them they should keep their ego out of it would not be holding the space…..Having said this I also want to honor the intellegence of your comment that if this voice is really loud in me I am unlikely to be able to hold the space very well for the other – this could be a sign I need space held for me, if its not too loud a voice, I could provide myself with emergency inner empathy but maybe if the voice is louder I would need someone else to hold the space for me.
    Thank you for allowing my to make this reflection that is appearing as I write these words.

  189. Wrapping up the Week – March 28, 2015 | Communicating.Across.Boundaries

    […] Holding Space by Heather Plett is my first pick. I’ve never seen this blog before but I am struck by the author’s desire to in her words “hold meaningful conversations.” In the piece I have linked to, Heather talks about how a palliative care nurse helped walk her family through end of life care by “holding space for them.” She describes what this is and how to do it well. I found the piece wise and interesting and hope you will too. […]

  190. Sunday Specials: Holding Space, Sufjan Stevens Grieving and a Breathtaking Ballet Duet | 3 Therapists Walk into a Blog

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people by Heather Plett […]

  191. Mark Simon

    Poignant, beautiful and elegant. Gets to the heart of the work — in life just as in facilitating organizational growth.

  192. How to Market Your Business When You’d Rather Be Listening More Than Talking | Tara Gentile

    […] Plett (who may or may not appreciate me making this connection) recently wrote about holding space—in a listening-as-marketing blog post that went completely […]

  193. Holding space | lovenlearning

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, by Heather Plett.  While this article actually has nothing to do with autism, the definition of holding space (being 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) is something we all need, and can give. […]

  194. 3 Ways a Creative Community has Enriched My Life

    […] When women, or humans for that matter, gather around creativity, there is a palpable energy that is created. Busy hands. Inspiring ideas. And sometimes just a space to hold each other up and encourage creative risks. By hosting a creative community I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to hold space for women to channel their creativity. It’s surely a magical thing. And in this space, every single mistake is fixable and experimentation is encouraged. We’re coloring outside the lines and I simply love it. Holding this space has helped me align closer with my purpose in this world. It’s helped me embrace and engage people around the topic of creativity. While paper crafts might be my craft of choice, the Girls Gone Crafty community has taught me so much more than I ever imagined about crafts I would have otherwise not known about, including Fussy Cutting. It’s a thing. Check it out. Curious about learning more about holding space for others? You need to read this post right now. […]

  195. Tuesday, March 31 - Cedar Heights Community Presbyterian Church

    […] While we may not be asked to sit with Jesus in that space, we will be asked at some point in our lives (maybe many times in our lives) to sit with someone who is sick, living in pain, or dying.  “Holding space” is a sacred calling, but it’s not an easy calling.  Rather than do what the disciples did, let us open ourselves to some alternatives: read about one woman’s experience of helping her mother die, while a palliative care nurse hel… […]

  196. Empowering Children | The Parenting Passageway

    […] to parenting small children but it is helpful to read and to practice in your own life.  http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/  The more you practice and are able to do this with adults, the better you will be at it with […]

  197. 48 hours that changed the future of rainforests | Enjeux énergies et environnement

    […] basically means supporting someone making a change, without trying to educate or fix them. Poynton had only stumbled across this idea recently, and thought it perfectly described his […]

  198. 48 hours that changed the future of rainforests | Grist

    […] basically means supporting someone making a change, without trying to educate or fix them. Poynton had only stumbled across this idea recently, and thought it perfectly described his […]

  199. Sustentando um espaço seguro « Cultivando o Equilíbrio

    […] livre do texto de Heather Plett – “What means to hold space for people plus eight tips on how to do it […]

  200. Too Sad: A Christian Voice We Can’t Ignore | Jessica Kelley

    […] this helpful article by Heather Plett, she gives us eight tips on holding space for others. The one piece of advice that […]

  201. Lori

    Hi!! I read this at just a point in my career/life this has started to organically happen! Thank you so much!! I am a neonatal nurse now living and working in Sweden. I have always had a hard time with the emotional side of being a nurse, i.e. never knowing what to say/what not to say to a grieving family. It’s been one of the biggest challenges in my ll years as a nurse. Since moving to a foreign country, I’ve learned by not being able to say much as I am still new to the language. This has given me a place where I am forced to “hold space” for the parents and in turn made me realize that I will never know exactly the right thing at that moment to say. I just need to be there. It’s a huge weight lifted actually <3

  202. When is helping the wrong thing to do? - Heather Plett

    […] I listen deeply FIRST and let my friend know that I am holding space for her without […]

  203. Sustentando um espaço seguro - Nowmastê

    […] livre do texto de Heather Plett – “What means to hold space for people plus eight tips on how to do it […]

  204. 48 hours that changed the future of the rainforests | Stpapadakis's Weblog

    […] basically means supporting someone making a change, without trying to educate or fix them. Poynton had only stumbled across this idea recently, and thought it perfectly described his […]

  205. Shirley Peterson

    I could not of received this article at a better time thank you to my cousin Lorrie for sharing this God is so amazing on how he uses others to stand in the gap for others

  206. Lynne

    There was no way I could have taken care of my mother in her final days. The hospital was where she needed to be. Dad and I took turns sitting by her bed. A “no visitors” sign was on the door. We knew she would not have wanted outsiders to see her as she was. All the arrangements had already been made. Mom was adamant that she wanted no visitation or viewing of her body. She thought a “celebration of life” service was ridiculous, feeling that the time to celebrate someone’s life was when they were alive. She wanted a short graveside service with only immediate family present. She selected the Scriptures to be read, ending with Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar.”

  207. Moral Ambiguity | Breaking the Silence of Suicide

    […] mom linked me to an article about Holding Space. It talks about that a little, accepting people for where they are when they’re there. Not […]

  208. Holding Space: Do Gender Norms Affect How We Care? | Ladyclever

    […] of bloggers have been fleshing out the concept, though, and I’ll draw from the blogs of writer Heather Plett and artist Karen Casey Smith to highlight what I see as the more salient tenets of holding […]

  209. Nikole Mitchell

    This is so so good. Beautiful and so practical. Thank you for sharing this!!! I’m speaking on “Loving Others” in a couple weeks to our youth at our church, and if it’s okay, I’d love to use some of the points in your post. I’ll definitely give you credit and let people know where they can find the good stuff (ie: here on your blog!). Thank you for being graciously articulate!

  210. Corrie

    Thank you for sharing this article. When I was reading I could ” feel” the hold-space. It helps me to understand what it means : to be.

  211. What I’m Reading (and thinking)

    […] What it means to ‘hold space’ for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – Heather Plett […]

  212. Naomi Arnold | Project Healthy Happy Me

    Thank you so much for sharing this heartfelt experience with us. It is something that I have been pondering on often in my personal life (with my father who has a terminal illness) and also in my working life as a coach. A million thank yous – such an incredible piece.

  213. Serving the world as wounded healers - Heather Plett

    […] intending to, I became confidante and coach to those people. Long before I knew the term “holding space” I was doing it in that hospital room for anyone who needed it. I had plenty of time on my hands […]

  214. Holding Space | Creative Attention

    […] have is to hold space for one another. This has rarely been so well-explained as in this blog post, What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well by Heather Plett on March 11, 2015. There is deep respect implicit in holding space for another, […]

  215. Holding the space — Mathemagenic

    […] I read this it adds up to another article on holding space and then things fall into places – this is exactly my main task in facilitating […]

  216. Measurements, Tracking, Goals & Progress | Fostering Fitness Now

    […] the flow longer than others.  I really find it quite interesting to witness.  This article about Holding Space for Others by Heather Plett is amazing.  It’s about how to be in the current of flow, and hold it (space) for others as […]

  217. {Weekly Well} Handcurated Weekly Supply of Resources for the Good Life, Issue No. 2 - Mindfulist -

    […] Click here to read the rest of Heather’s story and her wisdom on “holding space” for someone. […]

  218. What It Means To “Hold Space” For People, Plus Eight Tips On How To Do It Well - NewsWinnipeg.NetNewsWinnipeg.Net

    […] The work that Ann did can be defined by a term that’s become common in some of the circles in which I work. She was holding space for us. Read the rest of the post here. […]

  219. Celebrating lives | Muse & Meander

    […] an acquaintance of mine wrote an important piece about holding space. I saw that in action this week, and I am forever changed because of […]

  220. What Really Matters? | Musings From a Patchwork Quilt Life

    […] A Facebook friend recently shared an excellent article about holding space with each other that captures what I am describing. Although it centers on an end-of-life moment, I believe we can hold space with another at any time in life. If you’d like to read more, the link is: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/ […]

  221. Lasting Change - Kira Elliott

    […] What it Means to Hold Space for Someone by Heather Plett- Here is a wonderful article about holding space for people when they are in pain. It is hard. How do you allow yourself to witness another’s pain without rushing in to fix it but rather offer presence and comfort, whatever they may need, even if it’s not what you think it needs to be. As someone who was trained to put everyone first and fix everything this is hard stuff to practice but worth it. Nothing will open my heart more than being present with a loved one and not trying to fix them. Read this for gentle guidance. […]

  222. T is for Training 163: A Guide for a Guide to Guide | T is for Training

    […] Heather (@heatherplett). What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well.  March 11, […]

  223. Learning With Heather Plett, Holding Space, T is for Training, and Extended Conversations   | Building Creative Bridges

    […] the conversation without even knowing it was underway. Because her recently-published blog article “What It Means to ‘Hold Space’ for People, Plus Eight Tips on How to Do It Well” and its companion piece “How to Hold Space for Yourself First” inspired our conversation, there […]

  224. The-best-ones-this-spring | between worlds

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well by Heather Plett.  […]

  225. Interesting video: "Emotional Sponge vs. Empathy: Enneagram 4 & 9, INFJ/P, HSP, PTSD"

    […] enmeshed family, so her points really make a ton of sense to me. You might also like this article: What it means to "hold space" for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – Heather P… So…thinking deeper into it…she says emotional sponging is where the distinction between self […]

  226. Zlaty’s Favourite Things – May | Invigorating Tales

    […] What Does it Mean to Hold Space? – I value authenticity above all other human characteristics and creating atmosphere that allows people to be truly themselves is one of my favourite things in the world. I love seeing people comfortable, confident and truly open about who they are. This is so hard sometimes in a world where one can feel judged for everything they put out to the world. Holding space for me is partially the process where we open up for people and support them emotionally and physically to relax, feel safe and trust that anything they do is ok as soon as it comes from their heart. […]

  227. Любимите ми неща през май | Животворни истории

    […] What Does it Mean to Hold Space? – Какво значи да създаваме/държим пространство? Едно от нещата, които най-много ценя у хората е тяхната автентичност, затова да създавам атмосфера, в която позволява на хората просто да бъдат себе си е едно от любимите ми неща. Обичам да виждам хора, които се чувстват удобно със себе си и се държат уверено и открито, без да подтискат части от себе си само за да се харесат на околните или защото ги е страх от това какво ще помислят другите. Това понякога е толкова трудно в днешно време, когато биваме съдени и оценявани за всяко нещо, което показваме и разкриваме пред света. Да създавам или държа пространство за другите за мен означава да покажа откритост и искрен интерес към хората такива каквито са, да ги приема изцяло, да ги подкрепям емоционално и физически, за да се уверя, че се чувстват на сигурно място. Не знам дали успявам, но се опитвам, защото знам, че такава атмосфера какра хората да откриват удивителни неща и да проявяват смелост и кураж, и да се справят с огромни предизвикателства. […]

  228. On holding space when there is an imbalance in power or privilege - Heather Plett

    […] continues to be interest in my two articles about holding space (every week or two, there is another wave of subscribers to this […]

  229. How I Suck at Success (And You Can, Too) | Let The Love In

    […] Lovingly holding space for someone I care about even when they’re rejecting me, and choosing not reject them in return […]

  230. Nies Medema

    A dear friend gave me this article on FB and i was very happy. thank you for writing Heather, Nies Medema, Amsterdam

  231. Linda

    Thank you for sharing! I’d never heard of this term and yet find myself “holding space” in so many different situations. Like when a very close friend opened her heart about her marraige. I end up being someone’s ear all the time so I’m very much interested in these types of articles!

    And both my mother-in-law and my dad are 85 yrs old and doing great so far, but these things do come to mind. Thanks again!

    Linda Canetti

  232. Eos

    Thank you for sharing, in this post is so much a heartwarming wisdom.

    Holding space, being here and present for each other is such a big part of our life and I love how you put together this guidelines, they feel so true and connect with me on a deep level.

    Wishing you a beautiful day
    Love and Light

  233. Holding space - the practical power of empathy
  234. Advancing Automation :: You & Them

    […] as a nuanced or a particularly intellectual line of human work. We were struck, therefore, by a recent essay by the teacher, coach, and blogger Heather Plett. She wrote of her mother’s palliative care […]

  235. Infodumping Is My Love Language vol. 1 | The E is for Erin

    […] open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.” – What It Means to “Hold Space” for People, Plus Eight Tips on How to Do It Well, at Heath…. Great advice on how to support someone who is going through difficult […]

  236. What Happens If I Do Not Tender My Shares – Future Investment Stocks

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  237. Healing | sobecreation

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  238. Where to start when you’re afraid to talk about race | between worlds

    […] Heather Plett explains an idea called “holding space” that could close some gaps between these two gaping cultural realities. She explains holding space for another person as a willingness to be present and available in the difficult moments of life. When part of life carries such pain that it’s difficult to imagine the next step, those who hold space for others don’t judge, try to fix, or make them feel inadequate. Instead, they come alongside and offer warm hearts and open ears. […]

  239. Nicolas Passavant

    Excellent article; thank you!

  240. Eva

    Heather, What a beautiful and helpful description of “holding space.” I was trying to explain the concept to my significant other this morning but failed. Luckily, I found yours. You are affecting all of your readers’ lives in a positive way. I do not know you but I am sending you a big hug. Eva

  241. Holding Space | More Conversations with Myself

    […] “What does it mean to hold space for someone else? 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.”–Hold Space […]

  242. What Does It Mean To Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out

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  244. Love Yourself First | Spellbound Scribes

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  245. Holding Space ~ Defined | wellwhoknew
  246. July 2015 Connect | connect

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  247. Holding Space | Ken Israel: An Incomparable Life in Pics & Quips

    […] Worth reading, as is the linked story within about holding space for yourself. Click here to read What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, by teacher, writer and coach Heather […]

  248. Therapeutics of presence - Orange Blossoms Births

    […] I often get asked ‘because you are a midwife will you need a midwife when you give birth or deliver your own baby?’ I always respond the same, yes of course I will have a midwife! I want to be able to relax and let go and be a birthing mum and let someone else hold that space! […]

  249. lily

    thank you for such a lovely article!
    two days before you posted this, I got an intuitive “hit” that I will create an offering from my heart about holding space. I am deeply grateful for this article to lay the path for me to walk, especially because the term itself is not well known or understood.

    I have an ask of everyone reading this right now: I would like to ask you some questions about working as a facilitator, teacher or healer who holds space for people. I am interested in what you have to say because I am wanting to create something for humankind that is truly valuable and can help people hold space effectively.

    i created a short 10 question survey here: https://lilyrhoads.typeform.com/to/WWbC84

    thank you for your willingness to share about your experience, to all! <3 may we be open hearted and venerable enough to enter into the spaces that are being held.

  250. What To Do When Your Wisdom Teeth Are Coming Through - Wisdom Teeth Removal

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips … – This is beautiful. It is true that «holding space» is a term becoming more and more used but most people do not really grasp all that it encompass. […]

  251. Deborah

    Well done, quoting from Thomas Gordon’s method without giving due credit, ‘contaminated’ with some very patronising elements.

  252. Det kanske inte är så konstigt alls? | Melas resa

    […] när jag  möter länken What it means to hold space for people på Facebook och sedan följer den till How to hold space for yourself first så ler jag. Just […]

  253. Cindy

    Wonderfully written! I am incredibly blessed to have found someone to hold space for me during my struggles with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. She has held space for me beautifully, never judging, never trying to fix. She has been instrumental in my healing.

  254. What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – Heather Plett « Breakfast on Paper

    […] Source: What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well – H… […]

  255. Aleksandra

    Dear Heather,

    I am a psychologist and a life couch, but I implement many different practices and have an eclectic and holistic approach. This being explained I will continue by saying that, last night during my inner journey and conversation with my totem animal, I received information that I am ready to be a Warrior of Light. It is scary, as well as exhilarating. I know that my path is helping people. I knew it since my childhood, but as it often happens, I was given some traits that do not go well with servitude, in order to grow and learn trough my struggle. Like big ego. :)

    Your words came to me at just the right time. I feel like you know me and my path of MASTERY IN SERVITUDE. Your words found way to my mind, as well as my heart and helped me simplify and round something for myself.

    For this, I thank you deeply.

  256. Aryana Rose

    Having read this, I realize this is what I’ve been doing for some time. Sometimes though, it would become overwhelming; because some would then expect me to be their problem solver, which I wasn’t. It’s important to note the aspect of ‘holding space’, is not the same as being someone’s outlet for manipulation, abuse, or being taken advantage of. I’ve dealt with both ends of the spectrum, and have once or twice fallen into the ego, with the exceptions that sometimes, people would just unload on me as if I were the person causing them all their life’s problems: When in fact, I didn’t even know some of these people. Some friends that weren’t really friends, and family that treated me like I was some personal emotional whipping boy. Hold Space, yes; but do not allow someone to hold you in a space that you are uncomfortable with, that you would otherwise prefer to not be in. Just from my personal experiences. I’m not saying everyone who seeks counsel will be a User, but I will always caution discernment.

  257. Steve M Nash

    In VERY short: To “hold space” is to deeply (and lovingly) listen.

    “The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”
    — Alfred Brendel

    Thank you for a wonderful, and wise sharing on what “holding space” can look like!


  258. Katherine Middleton

    They have a word for this now…”holding space”. We called it being a friend…those times when sometimes you knew that the old woman on the park bench, needed you to be there next to her for just a bit. We called in being a friend.

    Thanks for a wonderful write!!!


  259. Life Lesson #4: Holding Space | Confessions and Lessons of a Convert
  260. Two Practices That Will Heighten Awareness and Improve Your Relationships On and Off the Mat — Om Healing & Wellness

    […] I have read for holding space comes from a blog I stumbled across the other day by a woman named Heather Plett. Heather describes holding space as being there for someone without trying to fix them, judge them, […]

  261. Holding Space | Meditations on Equestrian Art
  262. Agile Coffee for Humans Cross-Over EP 011 | Agile Answer Man

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  263. Gladys

    Yes! Finally someone writes about bladder cancer statistics.

  264. Carolyn Ball

    A beautifully written article about such important work in all areas of our lives. Thank you.

  265. Heather Pierre

    Really beautiful. I feel I can incorporate this more into my goals of becoming a better listener. Similarly, I lost my mother and my sister and I had an extremely wonderful Hospice team. The gifts given when you hold someone are life lasting. Thank you for so much for sharing this.

  266. Cheri Davis

    This is a wonderful article, so beautiful!

    As a massage therapist, yoga teacher, health coach and human being I am always being re-focused and guided to deepen my ability to hold space for others. Today your article helped me do that.

    I find that when I hold space for myself within that it helps me step out of the way of myself and more easily into the world of another to give them the holding of space they require whether it be words, silence, a look, an embrace or whatever intuitively arises in the moment.

    Thank you for your wisdom and depth!

  267. What To Do After Getting Wisdom Teeth Out

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips … – 296 responses to “What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well” […]


    This article reminds me much of the time I took care of my father’s months / days before his passing three years ago. Along with my husband and two children, we had a little team of people from our local CLSC, coming to the house and helping us in whichever way we needed. A nurse gently bathed my father, another nurse showing us how to administer his morphine…yet another therapist on hand in case the children have difficulty dealing with the on-coming death of their beloved grandfather. The support we got was so appreciated. Being there from beginning to end for my father was a *gift* as I see it now, and it will be with me for always. he took care of my needs and loved me when I came into this world – I was *lucky* enough to be able to do the same for him.

  269. What Facebook’s Awful Name Policy Did for Me, and Why I am Grateful

    […] we don’t learn to hold space, and really listen to each other, then we’re all just shouting into the void and reaching no […]

  270. Suzi Krig

    My sister-in-law passed away 2 years ago. Her term for “holding space” for me and for others that she loved was “sitting in the wagon with you”. Many times when I faced difficulties, she would say, “I may not be able to do much, but I CAN sit in the wagon with you”. I will always remember her kindness, concern, compassion. She knew when to talk and listen. She knew how to be still. Oh, how I miss her…

  271. Pat Reymore

    Thank you for naming something I have probably done numerous times as a hospice volunteer and didn’t know what it was. Thank you, lovingly…

  272. Holding Space | #BEINGWITHDOGS AND SUCH

    […] to see different ways, and just generally being part of a support system. She recently published an article about “holding space” for others that has been shared over and over again. Although the context of Heather noticing what it means to […]

  273. Skyroots

    This is beautiful. I am a mental health therapist, and I feel that this advice is very applicable to my profession — or to anyone serving another person in need. I lose connection with people when I try too hard to fill the space I am sharing with them, instead of just holding it and allowing it.

    Thank you.

  274. What it means to hold space for other people | New Beginnings Guatemala
  275. What To Do When Wisdom Teeth Are Coming In - Teeth Ambulance

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  277. Holding Sacred Space | See The Purple Elephant
  278. Sometimes holding space feels like doing nothing - Heather Plett

    […] the past six months, since my blog post went viral, I’ve done more than half a dozen interviews on the topic of holding space. The […]

  279. International Starseed Network Review (Starseeds.Net) - Futant Agenda

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  280. How Much Does It Cost To Have A Wisdom Tooth Taken Out - Teeth Ambulance

    […] What it means to "hold space" for people, … – Heather, Thank you for this. I have not heard the term holding space before. It is something I have done with a friend in her last days. As I read the lessons learned … […]

  281. 8 Ways to Be There - When You Die

    […] Plett offers eight tips on how to be there for whomever in your life needs such support. […]

  282. What it means to ‘Hold Space’ | Lynne Wright Coaching

    […] In her article, Heather Plett gives eight tips on how to ‘hold space’ well. Holding Space is something that all of us can do for each other – for our partners, parents, children, friends, neighbours and even strangers. All of us need to know that there are people in our life with whom we can be vulnerable and weak without fear of being judged. […]

  283. What Do Dreams Mean Of Being Pregnant - Maternity Coat

    […] What it means to "hold space" for people, … – … it sounds like you feel that you are being asked to do all these … to pregnancy. For me (both as a … Holding space may mean simply just being … […]

  284. What Time Does My Strange Addiction Come On | types - video games addiction

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  285. This week on the podcast: Heather Plett on holding space & circling |

    […] this year Heather Plett’s post on holding space went viral. It was the coolest thing to see it popping up all over my Facebook feed, from people […]

  286. shann

    Spot on. So beautiful. Thank you.

  287. mary ann

    Thank you.

  288. Lori Anne

    Your article was so profound for me going through the pains of “awakening” that I couldn’t even finish reading it because it broke me down to sobbing. And embodied the very beautiful way you hold space as a writer, to lay information out for those who seek without telling people how to live. It really shook me on how much I still feel like I am learning about my self and interactions with others and actually made me feel very humbled in my own writing. It is such a positive example and I took once offense deeply in an interaction where someone said that they were trying to “hold space” for me and this article triggered a lot of moments with this person where they were holding space and I was doing a lot of the things that were intrusive, although of good intent and in defense of that. It has been a big lesson in humility, which I felt so much closer too and which of course is good to see how far I am away from still. I really appreciate this reflection into my being to grow from. I am a writer also, and one day hope to be able to communicate everything I channel from Source into things that are less intrusive and overwhelming and are easier for people to identify with and use to their own path. I shared both of your postings on my blog, where I wrote about the growing pains that this article has challenged me to face. I truly thank you for that.

    <3 With Great Appreciation,
    Lori Anne


  289. Regine Petit

    Thank you for this beautiful and interesting sharing, Regine

  290. Psychedelic Parenting Podcast | Psychedelic Parenting

    […] “What it Means to ‘Hold Space’ for People, Plus 8 Tips on How to do it Well”…by Heather Plett […]

  291. Article Share: What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well | The Nan Tolbert Nurturing Center

    […] Click Here to Read Full Article […]

  292. “Hey. You OK, man?” | And now to develop some content to manage.

    […] Heather Plett’s article about holding space […]

  293. Gen

    No one should ever have their power taken from them. That is the only part of this article I could not understand. All people deserve to be included in the conversation we all need to feel safe and have others hold space for us. Even those suffering from addiction or other mental health challenges need a space held for them and perhaps especially in those situations. I think it might be the only way to truly heal from experiences that most people can’t understand. Please don’t exclude anyone from such healing.

  294. Olga

    Dear Heather,
    Thank you for this!
    I work for a charity foundation that supports hospices in Russia. We appreciate your experience and we have translated the article into Russian. Do you mind if we print the translation in one of our booklets? We think it might be really valuable and encouraging to our patients, families and healthcare workers.
    Thank you so much!
    Olga Tseytlina

  295. Clô Laurencelle

    Dear Heather,
    I so needed to read this today. Holding Space is now forever imprinted in my mind and heart.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  296. Karilee

    That first download link goes to the Russian version. I think you meant to link here: http://heatherplett.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/holding-space-for-others.pdf

    Thanks for an excellent article.

  297. Holding Space | Not Just For Christmas

    […] posted an article in a RIE Facebook group I’m in a few months back about the concept of ‘holding […]

  298. Barb

    Thank you for this. I have “held space” for a friend’s daughter who was dying from cancer after 2 years of treatment and I felt somewhat alone in the journey. I wanted to be there for them but not add more stress to their lives with my own grief. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done in life but certainly one of the most meaningful things I’ve done with my life. She felt my love to the end, and we are still holding space for her parents. They have a wonderful palliative care nurse who is also still holding space for them. It is hard to put the experience into words but you have done a great job of crystallizing the importance and different skills/aspects of holding space. Those who specialize in palliative care are truly angels. For me, the hardest thing is accepting that I cannot fix this … I couldn’t cure her cancer and I can’t “fix” their grief. So being there for them and being OK with whatever their emotions are at the time is all I can do. “Holding space” as you define it seems to be just that – just be there. If we cry, we cry. If we laugh at a funny memory, we laugh. Many of us will face this in our lives, and having advice from someone who has experienced this is truly a gift!

  299. Leave Your Cape At Home, Lightworker. | Intuitively Inclined

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  300. holding space |

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  301. Susie Davies-lowe

    What a beautifully fascinating article.
    So important too.
    Holding space – beautiful.

  302. Vanessa

    This resonates well with me. I have a few family members who are not speaking to each other. I fell that I am holding space for them until they resolve their differences. Allowing them to be upset, to be healed and then to come back to the family structure whole. However long that will take, I am willing to hold space for them. Thank you for this article. Beautifully written.

  303. An unresolved story that I don't know how to tell - Heather Plett

    […] this year, after I wrote the post that went viral, about what it means to hold space for other people, what became more and more clear to me was something I’d woken up to about five years earlier. My […]

  304. Holding Space | Vanessa Senecal

    […] I am indebted to the wise Heather Plett for her beautiful writing on this topic. You can read her original post here. […]

  305. 068: Heather Plett - On Being a Meaning Maker - This Moved Me

    […] me on Twitter asking me a wonderful question about holding space – and then suggested I read this article about the concept written by today’s guest, Heather Plett.  (He then went on to suggest I […]

  306. Relinquishing Control of Others: 5 Ways It Serves You

    […] realized that by just “holding space” for people, which, according to Heather Plett, means “being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging […]

  307. Relinquishing Control of Others: 5 Ways It Serves You - Your Health Blog

    […] realized that by just “holding space” for people, which, according to Heather Plett, means “being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging […]

  308. Relinquishing Control of Others: 5 Ways It Serves You

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  309. Relinquishing Control of Others: 5 Ways It Serves You | The Joy Of Prosperity

    […] realized that by just “holding space” for people, which, according to Heather Plett, means “being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging […]

  310. How To Relinquish Control Of Others - The Tom Hitchens Community

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  311. Relinquishing Control of Others: 5 Ways It Serves You | Self Boat

    […] realized that by just “holding space” for people, which, according to Heather Plett, means “being willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging […]

  312. Holding Space for Someone~ | Sacred Dreams

    […] Excerpts from: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/ […]

  313. Shana

    Thank you for this. It is beautiful and exactly what I needed.

  314. Gert Heres

    Thank you for this. I have “held space” for my mom. She passed away 2 weeks ago. After I put away my view on live and my ego, I could reach her, memories a never forget.

  315. 071: MMM - On Holding Space - This Moved Me

    […] and asked me to talk a bit about “holding space” as a speaker. He then sent me to this blog post written about the concept, and suggested I have the writer on the show. Which I […]

  316. Aloha Healing 12/17/2015 « everyday gurus

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  321. How to Hold Space when a loved one dies .

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  322. What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well | Things I have learned…

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  323. Feeling Better, Feeling Worse – The Parent Vortex

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  324. Online Blogs & Articles | Grief Support

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  325. Decision Coaching & Holding Space

    […] While decision coaching can sound intense the term holding space is gentle and inviting. The terms may sound very different from one another but in reality the two approaches share some common elements. So what does “holding space for others” mean? Heather Plett provides a definition in her blog post, “What it means to ‘hold space’ for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well”. […]

  326. Decision Coaching & Holding Space | ClearLinQ

    […] While decision coaching can sound intense the term holding space is gentle and inviting. The terms may sound very different from one another but in reality the two approaches share some common elements. So what does “holding space for others” mean? Heather Plett provides a definition in her blog post, “What it means to ‘hold space’ for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well”. […]

  327. Coping With an Emotional Outburst at School Drop-off - Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids

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  329. Ingredients for Post Traumatic Growth (Turning Trauma Into Meaning & Beauty) – Radical Mystic

    […] learning from the emotional violence that destroyed our adoption triad and learning how to better hold space for all of ourselves and each other. We are gentler with one another and give each other the […]

  330. Listening that Enables Emerging Possibilities – New Directions Collaborative

    […] of taking space, we hold space for others and listen from that empathic or generative place. This blog by Heather Plett describes more fully what it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it […]

  331. Only take responsibility for your own baggage - Heather Plett

    […] though I’ve learned so much about what it means to hold space for people, and I spend quite a bit of time talking about listening without judging, walking […]

  332. An open heart is not an unprotected heart - Heather Plett

    […] down from woundedness. They do not judge us or try to fix us. They understand what it means to hold space for […]

  333. Center for Transformational Coaching | Holding Space

    […] What it Means to “Hold Space” for People, Plus Eight Tips on How to Do it Well by Heather Platt […]

  334. Holding Space | The Progressive Parent

    […] it’s not the goal to avoid triggers, or to not feel them when they happen- that’s not holding space for myself at all. Triggers are going to happen.  They’re going to happen. Fuck. And when […]

  335. Jae Futch

    Thank you!

  336. Doralle Bradley

    Thanks so much for your post “Holding Space”. I learned a lot from it. My Mum passed away nearly seven years ago, and I’m learning that missing her doesn’t get any easier, but the pain seems to become dimmer. Mum was in an Aged Care facility, so we didn’t need to be there constantly, but I do wish I had had someone like Ann to mirror to me the why’s and wherefores. I think that if I need to take the place of someone “Holding Space” again, I will be better fitted for it. Something we all need to learn is that even though we have learnt not to make our opinions known vocally, we do need to learn the art of allowing people their own discernment.

  337. 5.4 Million Women, Craftivism, and Holding Space in Bioethics | Bioethics Unbound

    […] idea of “holding space” is a nonjudgmental process of walking alongside and supporting someone while they move through […]

  338. Monday Links – Rhizomatic Ideas

    […] Heather Plett gave us a moving and important lesson on how to “hold space” for people in your life. […]

  339. Mavis Gewant

    Beautiful writing! Thanks for confirming the important role we play as doulas

  340. Mooi “Holding the space” met tips. | De lerende docent

    […] raakt zo’n artikel (via Marianne van den Assem) en wil ik de tips graag […]

  341. Consent Accidents and Consent Violations - Charlie Glickman PhD

    […] partner might need to get support for their feelings from someone else first. It’s hard to hold space for painful emotions that are the result of your own actions. But until the feelings have had a […]

  342. Negotiating With A Teen About Money – Relationship Help for Parents of Teenagers

    […] clubs that were affordable. And because Joan had done her emotional work, her relaxed attitude held a space for ongoing conversation and information sharing. In the end they threw around ideas about how much […]

  343. Je weg vinden - marjonbohre

    […] Als facilitator loop ik een eindje met je op. Met een methode waardoor je je eigen vragen tegenkomt. En is het voor mij de kunst om ruimte te bieden om ieders eigen weg te ontdekken. Holding space. […]

  344. Jezelf niet langer verdedigen tegen allerlei goedbedoelende betweters is gemakkelijker gezegd dan gedaan; Het is ongeveer mijn tweede natuur geworden na dertig jaar ziek zijn! Vermoeiend! En ik ben al zo moe! Heks neemt een rigoureus besluit, vanaf nu is

    […] elementen, die ik ook belangrijk vind in het bijstaan van medemensen in nood. Zij noemt het ‘Holding Space‘. Ik besluit me er eens een beetje in te gaan […]

  345. Wat is dat? Holding Space? Wat maakt het zo bijzonder? Een inkijkje in dit concept van Heather Plett. Een constructieve manier om met je eigen problemen en die van je medemens om te gaan. Holding Space 2. | recepten van de toverheks

    […] Holding Space is een begrip waar Heather Plett mee gekomen is. Alhoewel ik op het wereldwijde web ook anderen tegenkom, die dezelfde term claimen. Ik lees erover in een oude Hapiness, maar als ik het artikel opnieuw tracht te vinden is het plotseling verdwenen. Bizar. Ik blader het blad van voor naar achter door. En nog eens en nog eens. Gelukkig vind ik moeiteloos alle informatie over deze boeiende vrouw op internet. […]

  346. A Bouquet in Place #FridayFictioneers | What's On Your Mind, Doc?

    […] read a very interesting essay last year by Heather Plett about what it means to “hold space” with another person. Here is a brief explanation in […]

  347. Tracey

    Lovely post Heather. I had saved this last year on my FB page and found it again this year after holding space as my sister died. I have made reference to your post at my blog. Thank you, Tracey@traceydelaplainmd.com

  348. What My Photographic Work is About » Kendra Coupland Photographer

    […] recently read a blog post on a website about death and dying, and how a palliative care nurse held space for a family as […]

  349. Calling In - Charlie Glickman PhD

    […] of you have a history of holding space for each other. But asking them to set their feelings aside (which is part of holding space) can be a lot. So the more you can get that from someone else, the […]

  350. 48 hours that changed the future of the rainforests – The World Breaking News

    […] basically means supporting someone making a change, without trying to educate or fix them. Poynton had only stumbled across this idea recently and thought it perfectly described his […]

  351. NCDD Community News » Leading Groups to their Potential through Listening

    […] of taking space, we hold space for others and listen from that empathic or generative place. This blog by Heather Plett describes more fully what it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it […]

  352. Beloved Cornell College Students, – Claudia Pineda Reyes

    […] most directly affected/struggling with the situation is by being empathetic. How we listen, how we hold space for each other, how we treat one another, the things we say and do are important. When holding space for someone […]

  353. Sadhna Singh

    This was a beautiful message. I have always felt that the most amazing place to be is help a person on their terms, it’s the most healing and satisfying to oneself. “Holding Space” is a beautiful term and is so comprehensive! Holding Space starts with ourselves as well, when you can be clear, comfortable with yourself, that is what you can offer to your loved ones natutarally with no efforts. Thank you!

  354. Older Sister

    Wonderful article. This is something I have been aware of for quite a while and have been practicing. My sister was diagnosed with cancer a couple months ago and I have been serving in this role as best I can. She is extremely sensitive and private, and shuts down when she feels vulnerable. Single, never married, no kids, and is a perfectionist and a powerhouse at work. If pushed too far, she has a nasty temper and will lash out with all she’s got.

    She is used to having staff and being demanding and getting what she asks for. I am sure this is part of how she is so successful. So I understand that. I must travel to visit her, so I deal with this in short spurts. She is very nice on the surface, while demanding what she wants. I understand all of this, but it is still challenging on my part. There are many things that I am familiar with, information that I could share, that might help or ease her experience, but since she is not receptive I remain quiet. Yet, when she asks me to help by doing something, I never seem to be able to do it “right”.

    Her phone calls usually are prompted by an accusation that I moved something or did something out of bounds, when I am being very careful not to overstep bounds or do anything without asking. For example, I have stacked mail right next to the door. I went through it once, asking her about each piece and whether to keep it, and got rid of the junk mail. Yet I got a call about where I put some coupons, which I had never even seen. Her tone is very accusatory, which I am sure she doesn’t realize.

    The biggest challenge is that she did/does not want to tell my parents that she is sick. Since I live close to them, this means that to follow her wishes, I am supposed to lie to my parents. I am not good at lying. They were at my house recently for dinner, and you can imagine the scenario.

    So after my mom called her and left a message, my sister was livid with me. They have not spoken, and my parents will not push it. My parents are not saying that they know what is going on. She may never tell them, and she may die without ever speaking to them again.

    At some point, soon, I will ask my sister if she wants me to visit again. She may say no, I am not sure. If I do go visit, I expect to be the focus of her anger. While I can handle it, I am not looking forward to it.

    Sometimes you can do your very best to hold space for someone, and sometimes that won’t be enough for them to feel safe or ok. I have to figure out the balance of how much to be there (I have a busy life, kids, etc.) and how much space to hold, while still maintaining personal integrity and boundaries.

    As I have shared this situation with friends, it is very interesting to note how quick people are to judge what is right or wrong, especially with the telling the parents issue. People that don’t know my family at all have been very quick to say I MUST tell my parents. It’s a very emotional topic. Then other friends tell me I have to take it one step at a time, and that I will know what to do at the right moment. (those are the friends holding space for me :) )

    It has all been very interesting to observe and work through. Just not easy.

  355. Cyrus

    Thank you sister for having the courage to share your experience with such trust and vulnerability. It is a beautiful inspiration and its ripples are already making real differences in people’s lives. Your Truth is very much appreciated.

  356. Laura

    This struck a nerve quite strong with me. As a mother, I have always wanted to “fix”. Now, as a mother of adult children, I need to learn to encompass this more in my life now than ever. It is a process for sure and I am willing to embrace it.

  357. 5 May 2016 Give yourself credit | Martha Illige

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  358. Dementia: Six Ways To Create A Positive Realtionship | memory issues

    […] Make space for your care partner who lives with dementia to be who he or she is, whatever that means on the day or in the moment. Don’t try to make her or him into something she or he isn’t, and that includes wishing they were who they used to be. Remember that the core of who they are is is sill there, even though her or his self may manifest in different ways. Make space for the present and celebrate who they are in the moment. (More about that here.) […]

  359. Arti

    Thank you so much for this article. As a space holder in a number of contexts I share the life long learning approach to this honorable role and appreciate the attention you have given to naming the qualities of space holding. Blessings on your work.

  360. Since Last We Spoke, 5-9-16 : Forensic Healthcare Online

    […] I loved all of this […]

  361. May 10, 2016 - Holding Space for HOPE - Life in Full ColorLife in Full Color

    […] Lissa Boles, shared a link to a blog post with my coaching group, suggesting it was a useful read. The post is written by another coach/writer/speaker, Heather Plett. The topic of her post – which […]

  362. on holding space and love and loss. | dancing in the rain

    […] “What does it mean to hold space for someone else? 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.” (http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/) […]

  363. Trauma-Informed Running | Orange County Rape Crisis Center

    […] you take rest days and respect your physical limits. More importantly, though, they can be a listening ear for venting pent-up emotions, which doesn’t always have to happen during a […]

  364. The back of the spiral: Taking some time for radical self-care - Heather Plett

    […] my path across the sky. It’s been an incredible year of growth for my work, especially after my blog post went viral (and continues to have viral bumps). I’ve had more opportunities for public speaking, […]

  365. Daniel Hilliard

    Nicely written, I ahven’t heard the term “holding space” in this context before, I thought iwas just “good listening”. It’s interesting to see the process defined and I’m looking back at things in my past with a slightly different perspective now, which is indicative of a great article.

    Really well done.

  366. dawn m

    powerful and real and true. have been doing this for some time. not a coach,nurse …just a human being ..guided to where I have been needed mostly family and friends. the most powerful and important piece about holding space (for me) is about having someone who is holding space for the one holding space…. (I know from experience of not having this ..the toll it can take.) it is of utmost importance to have those who are trusted that one can count on.

  367. Blame games | Aberrata

    […] I will simply appreciate each person for their individuality and uniqueness. I will do my best to hold space for those I care about, as they have often done for me. I will work towards eliminating my own […]

  368. Introverting in the workplace | Librariana

    […] Working with a team of librarians who are vastly different in personality, but are willing to hold space for each other is awesome. I spent a lot of my undergrad years in environments where I was […]

  369. We Have a Problem with Respect – Radical Mystic

    […] the people you live with or the people you share a country and a planet with. It is a sort of holding space for the complexity of […]

  370. What It Means to “Hold Space” for People, Plus 8 tips on How to Do It Well | Adios Barbie

    […] Heather Plett cross posted with […]

  371. Four kinds of fear (what the self-help books might be missing) - Heather Plett

    […] so find a place to be quiet and honest with yourself. Be alone or with someone who knows how to hold space for […]

  372. Debra Delaporta

    When my dear friend Kimmie was dying, I spent several days coming and going at the hospital, only going home to rest and shower. Her daughter-in-law’s mom Kim was there to hold space for both of us-all I could do was cry and she was the beacon of calm and light which we both needed. The hardest thing I have ever done was hold my friend’s hand and tell her it was okay to leave us- Kim made it easier to do that and for that I am forever grateful. The hospice nurse told us women prefer (subconsciously) to leave us when no one they love is in the room, and it was during the few minutes only the nurse was with her that she passed. When I look back, this concept of “holding space” makes so much sense. Thanks for putting a name to one of the most difficult times of my life-I am forever grateful to Kim for her warmth and kindness.

  373. Sustentando um espaço seguro

    […] livre do texto de Heather Plett – “What means to hold space for people plus eight tips on how to do it […]

  374. What's the opposite of holding space? Emotional colonization. - Heather Plett

    […] an interview for a podcast recently, I was asked “what’s the opposite of holding space?”  Though I’ve done many interviews on the subject of holding space, that’s the first time […]

  375. What What It Means to ‘Hold Space’ for Someone – Plus 8 Tips to Help You Do It Well - Women Life Now

    […] published on HeatherPlett.com and republished here with the author’s […]

  376. Beverly Noland Ozburn

    What a beautiful post! I am so thankful that I am just now reading it instead of when you originally posted it because it has so much more meaning to me and so much more impact at this point. Why is it that sometimes words or people are put in place just at the time when we need it?

    My Daddy died during the wee hours of this past Easter Sunday. Actually, his soul left his body at that time. He had Pulmonary Fibrosis and the last while of his days were a struggle. We found ourselves holding space in many different ways.

    At first it was with a bit of frustration because a couple of years ago we noticed that Daddy would repeat himself and tell us the same tales in a conversation or phone call day after day. My husband would become agravated with me because I would simply put the phone in speaker mode and fold a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, or complete some other menial task while Daddy talked. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was holding space for him to share what was on his mind. I didn’t feel disrespectful or disjointed like my hubby thought, I felt like I was providing an outlet for Daddy and evidently I really was. Who knew?

    In his final days, we made an effort to support Mom as she kept him at home and care for him. We would sit with him and chat or share time while she napped, or grocery shopped, or performed some other simple, brief errand so that she would be able to cope hour-after-hour and day-in-and-day-out. We didn’t realize we were holding space for Mom so she could hold space for Daddy.

    This week, as we are preparing for a farm equipment sale to disperse 50+ years of Daddy’s farming tools and equipment, we are again holding space for Mom and for one another. We support one another’s emotions. We perform the manual labor of gathering and sorting and cleaning or throwing away. We talk and reminisce. We laugh and we cry.

    Thank you so much for finding the just-right words to relate to our feelings and encourage us to continually hold space for ourselves and for others!

  377. A dream of a younger me. | Aberrata

    […] ourselves. Kindness without judgment is important, as is patience, and a listening ear. We need to hold space for others. There should be no agenda, no attempt to fix them. What people need most, is someone who is willing […]

  378. Umetnost podržavanja | Mesečeva Deca

    […] Ako je neko zainteresovan da dublje istražuje ovu temu toplo preporučujem ovaj članak koji je od mnogih prepoznat kao pravo remek-delo na temu podrške u smislu „držanja prostora“: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/ […]

  379. Care – A Restful Place

    […] learning about now is how to care for others. I’ve played a hospice nurse, youth pastor, space holder, daddy, and husband.But one thing I notice I can never do for myself is be there for me. I have […]

  380. Holding Space – PFLAG Portland, Oregon

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  381. What I want to tell you about having work that goes viral - Heather Plett

    […] advice I’d give them from my experience of having a blog post go viral. A year and a half ago, my blog post about holding space went viral. So many people visited that my website crashed once and threatened to crash another […]

  382. What is the Opposite of Holding Space — A Guest Post by Heather Plett - Gracefall

    […] an interview for a podcast recently, I was asked “what’s the opposite of holding space?”  Though I’ve done many interviews on the subject of holding space since the original post […]

  383. Holding liminal space - Heather Plett

    […] was that liminal space that I talked about when I first described the kind of holding space that happened at my mom’s deathbed. It was messy and raw and it lead us into the depths of our darkest grief when Mom finally breathed […]

  384. Tips for helping the bereaved - Heather Plett

    […] before I ever heard the term “holding space“, I was paying attention to my early understanding of the concept. In fact, thirteen years […]

  385. Inspired by Dr. Seuss: A mandala journal prompt for the liminal space - Heather Plett

    […] I wrote about the liminal space we were in when we were expecting Mom’s death (an expansion of the blog post that was the catalyst for this book). Mom was in that liminal space herself (not quite dead, but no longer quite alive) and we were in […]

  386. to each her own full movie - All Fitness Video

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  387. The Importance of Holding Space and How It's Done ~ Fractal Enlightenment

    […] WanderlustHeather Plett […]

  388. Tips For 7 Days To Die – Tips and Trick

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  389. When you're afraid you'll say the wrong thing - Heather Plett

    […] we’re too uncomfortable to hold space for another person’s pain, we push them into this kind of spiritual bypassing, not because we […]

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  391. We Are Not Who We Will Be – Mel

    […] has taught me a thing or two about holding space for young people. In catechism, it sometimes seems that we are making no progress at all. […]

  392. Tips On How To Last Longer Before Coming Here Is Pay | Best Way to Last Longer in Bed

    […] What it means to "hold space" for people, plus eight tips … – Heather, Thank you for this. I have not heard the term holding space before. It is something I have done with a friend in her last days. As I read the lessons learned … […]

  393. What kind of leadership is needed for our time? - Heather Plett

    […] other words, a host leader holds space for the work to happen, for the issues to be wrestled with, and for the emergence of what is […]

  394. After you hold space – janacraft.com

    […] What does it mean to hold space for someone else? 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. – Heather Plett […]

  395. alberta

    such a great article that my friend share on twitter. i just looking for these type of article for my university assignments.

  396. Ce înseamnă cu adevărat să susții spațiul pentru cineva. – gentilete

    […] Sursa articolului: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/ […]

  397. Who do you want to be when you grow up? | Jennifer K Miles

    […] year I read a post of Heather’s on holding space. I was incredibly touched by her words, by the insights she expressed, and by the sense her words […]

  398. When Open Space Pulls | My Agile Hyperdrive BlogPedia

    […] and those whom I’ve never met, who are looking for the tell-tales of what it means to “Hold Space“, as I was.  But, there is no substitute or proxy.  My charge to you is to keep searching, […]

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  400. Jolie Robin

    I am here to share this testimony on how me and my husband was able to be become parents. we tried for so many years to get a child of ours but there was no success of child bearing. We went to different hospitals but they keep saying the same thing that i was the problem and my husband was perfectly okay. One day i decided to try traditional and spiritual help, i contacted a woman who i came across on the internet called Iya Basira i ask her for help and she told me that i was the cause of me inability to bear a child. I became more confuse and worried and at this time my husband was making moves for a divorce. I told the woman everything and she decided to help me, she told me she is going to help me by praying for and given me traditional medicine to drink, that i will be blessed with a child. At the end of the day i followed her instructions, because i wanted my husband to see it as a miracle because he was a strong christian. I did all she ask me to do and i got all the results i needed without my husband knowing and today am a mother. Thanks to mother Iya Basira i will forever be grateful. i will drop her contact here anybody needs her help also nativeiyabasira@yahoo.com

  401. John

    I still struggle with the viability of “letting people fail”. I hear it in the business world all the time…”embracing failure” and “encouraging people to fail”. I feel like that message should be tuned to letting people “make mistakes” rather than “fail”.

    For all the lip service the business world does for “embracing failure”, I can tell you that no one does that. And, ultimately, when you are holding space for someone, you don’t want them to “fail”. The whole point of holding space for someone is PREVENTING failure. Space for mistakes? Yes. Space for failure? No.

  402. Justin Magnuson & Massage & Sharing Touch, A Hospice Volunteer Spotlight - Windows Within Project

    […] Related Web Links Ten Ways to Weave More Kindness Into the New Year What it Means to Hold Space for People […]

  403. How Do I Make My Living Room Beautiful | House Beautiful

    […] What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well […]

  404. Therapeutics of presence – Love Based Birth

    […] I often get asked ‘because you are a midwife will you need a midwife when you give birth or deliver your own baby?’ I always respond the same; yes of course I will have a midwife! I want to be able to relax and let go and be a birthing mum and let someone else hold that space! […]

  405. What it means to “hold space” for people – Heather Plett | Shalom House of Prayer

    […] Original Article link : What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well   […]

  406. Relate: Kendra Tanner | The True You Project

    […] Be a coach, not a rescuer. Hold space for them. […]

  407. When Open Space Pulls - NeedleHop

    […] something new started.  The CEO held the space for any acknowledgement of anyone who had done something worthy of note.  About a half dozen […]

  408. Holding Space – Communication for Change

    […] has become a powerful concept in counselling, particularly as illustrated by Heather Plett in her article on the care she received as she took care of her dying mother. Holding space is fundamental to […]

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  410. Dina

    Thank you for your article. I keep hearing the term “holding space” this past year, finally decided to google it, and am definitely more aware now that I’ve read your description.

    I have one question. What are some ways to do/learn to practice #7?
    Do you have any resources for learning how to become more this way? I have every desire to be this way with my intimates, but feel I am clueless and just guessing how to be effective.


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