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  • Vanessa Rogers

Finding your Calm/Safe Space in PTSD Recovery


(Jared Rice/Unsplash)


Safe space is a grounding technique for people who have anxiety or experienced trauma. This technique is also commonly used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Through this process, calm/safe space is used to bring forward positive feelings and emotions to the person in distress. It can be considered an emotional sanctuary to regain stability after the distress of recalling trauma. These positive sensations are repeatedly brought forth throughout the therapeutic process in order to regulate feelings and allow healing to take place. This technique works the same way for those experiencing symptoms of anxiety, as it can regulate their mood and ground them in a comforting place in their mind, rather than a stressful one. There are many ways to find your calm/safe space. Try visualizing a calming experience or place that brings feelings of safety and/or peace. Notice the emotions that you are experiencing while visualizing this place and choose a word that represents it. If you consider yourself more of a creative person, you can also use art and other mediums to help you visualize this place. To help develop your calm/safe place try using these three tips:

  1. Use your five senses and think about what you can or want to see, taste, hear, smell and/or feel in this place

  2. You can also think of elements that have provided you with a sense of safety and comfort in the past, and add them to your calm/safe place

  3. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly as you visit your calm/safe place

Consider these helpful tips during or after you visualize your calm/safe space as an imaginary exercise or art making. Finding your calm/safe space can be an important, helpful technique on your recovery to healing from trauma or dealing with anxiety. For more information about the benefits of having a calm/safe space and how to find your own, you can go to goodtherapy.org and check out their resources. There are also sites such as vibrant.org in which you can have a virtual safe space to cope with stressful times.