Holding Space When Someone is Grieving

Holding space means that we stand with someone and intentionally make room for them to process their pain in a way that works for them. The following are some ways we can practice holding space:

  • Come alongside someone and bring our full presence
  • Let go of any agendas we might have
  • Don’t fill the sacred space with advice, too much talking, or anything that is not welcomed by the person–especially if our motivation for filling the space is about masking our own discomfort
  • Notice – and then suspend – any judgements, biases, or assumptions we might have. It’s not for us to judge the way the person is processing their situation. Remember that we are seeing the situation from our own perspectives
  • Listen and engage with empathy
  • Don’t try to fix the person – trust their inner wisdom
  • Don’t take someone’s power away by doing too much for them, or by making decisions for them that are not for us to make
  • Let go of our ego and the need to see a particular outcome. The growth or lack of growth the person is experiencing is not reflective of the support we are offering
  • Be humble
  • Always work towards the creation of a safe space

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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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