Holding Space: Giving the Gift of Presence

In a world today that feels increasingly chaotic and stressful, there is a crucial need for more people to learn how to hold space for each other. 

What does it mean when you are holding space? If you have ever been in therapy, it is that safe space where we feel completely comfortable and vulnerable enough to express ourselves. 

The therapist is there to listen, to give you their full attention, and to offer you their compassionate support as you navigate through difficult situations.

Holding space involves being there for someone and being totally present.

The essence of holding space is listening, something most people don’t do much of today. They are either too busy talking, or multitasking, feeling over-stressed or too preoccupied with their own thoughts and problems. It’s no wonder people feel alone in this world. 

We have the tendency to want to fix things up when someone talks about their problems. Sometimes, all they are really seeking is to be heard, held, and understood. 

It may seem like we’re doing nothing, but don’t underestimate the power of holding space and sitting beside someone. Providing that space can be incredibly empowering for them to find their own solutions, gain more insight, and build inner strength.  

We can all benefit from giving ourselves permission to be where we are. It’s OK. You’re OK. There is no use in wasting energy trying to deny, escape, or fight where we are.

By accepting it, we can use the energy to create stepping stones to where we want to go.

The powerful gift of your presence permits them to see their own reflection and make a deeper connection. Holding space facilitates deeper healing that leads to trust, hope, and life-changing realizations and positive transitions.

Learning to hold space is an essential therapeutic tool we can learn to encourage mental health and build stronger, more nurturing relationships. Many people feel frustrated, depressed, anxious, and lost, especially in these hectic times. 

Can we become more caring and kind in a world that has become void of meaningful connections?

Can we open our hearts, lend our ears, and give the gift of our mindful presence and compassionate support? 

In the spirit of Christmas, here are some tips on how to make holding space more effective.


                                                               Be fully present

                                                           Give your full attention

                                                         Don’t make it about you

                                                      No need to fix or save anyone

                                                   Focus on listening to understanding


                                             Show compassion and sit in loving support

                                         Practice empathy and help validate their emotions 

                                       Set your opinions aside and abandon all judgements

                                     Don’t fill the space with your advice or too much talking


                                   Give them permission to express & explore their true feelings

                                Breathe deep to connect, stay grounded, to calm mind and body

                              Make them feel safe, supported, valued, respected, and understood

                           Assure them that you will walk beside them as they go through their pain

                    Healing comes from allowing there to be room for feelings and to speak their truth. 


                                                                     I see you

                                                                     I hear you

                                                                I am here for you



“We’re all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass

Antoinette Giacobbe M.A.