Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finding a Safe Place – Therapeutic Visualization

Today I want to talk about another therapeutic technique that Therapist wants me to practice. This is something she thinks is important for when I go home to see my family and when I talk with Roman because we talk about high school and we were friends when I was dating The One, which is especially triggering for me. Know your triggers!


First of all, Therapist thinks it’s important to set personal boundaries. Sometimes you want to open up and share with a person, but in doing so, it’s triggering, because it’s too soon, or you’re not necessarily comfortable doing so. This is okay. It’s okay to take a step back and express that the subject is okay for you to not talk about right now. That you don’t feel that you can talk about those things at the moment without going to bad place mentally or emotionally. Feel free to express this and change the subject. This is well within your right to taking care of your mental health!


If you do feel that you want to try and open up, or even if you don’t, but because the subject was broached and you need to ground yourself this is the cognitive therapeutic technique that Therapist suggested for practice.


Find your Safe Place:


Try to remember a place in your life where you have felt safe. Ideally a place that corresponds to the time period associated with what you are being triggered by. (You may not have that many safe places in your life, so don’t worry about limiting yourself if you can’t.) It’s important to begin visualizing your safe place now. Recreate it in your mind. Solidify it there. How it looks, how it made you feel, how it smells even.
It’s important to practice now, so that when triggers pop up when you’re with someone, you can take a deep breath, and then a moment or two of visualization placing yourself in that safe space where you know nothing can touch you. It’s a place those things that happened to you in the real world never encroached, so when you can place yourself there in your mind’s eye, breathing deeply, it should allow you to regain a sense of calm, easing your anxiety.


For me: It actually took me a while to think of a place. I didn’t feel that my home was a safe space for me growing up. However, I did have a climbing tree growing up. Very few people ever even knew about it very far back in the woods (except my childhood best friend and all my memories with her were exceptionally happy ones). I certainly never brought The One there or my parents, or anyone that brought me severe harm. I would go there every now and again when I just needed to get away and sit on the lowest branch that was huge and perfect for reading a book on. It was secluded and peaceful. Just for me.


For some of us this place may not even be a real place. It may be a safe place we lost ourselves to in a book, or a made up mental space that no one else could touch us in. Maybe an ideal place that we hope to have. A place of peace.


Once you have your safe place firmly established in your mind, when those triggering conversations, people or times come up, it becomes easier to recall that safe place, remind yourself that those things are no longer happening, they’re in the past, and to find a place of calm within your Self.  



Have you ever tried anything like this? 




4 comments:

  1. Hmm, an interesting technique. I actually can't think of a real safe place I had a s a child. It's hard for me to remember. But then you started talking about anything in your past that made you feel safe, a safe state of mind.
    It's not really the same thing but as a child I would have extreme maladaptive daydreams and an alternate reality that I would carry with me in my head and I had an alter ego and when I was this alter ego I was invincible and nothing could touch me.
    There's other details about it that make it far more disturbing, but at the time it was a 'safe' place to be. Looking back I kind of think it was dissociative, I mean I basically had another identity and slipped away into this other world. It wasn't normal. But that's where all my happiness security and safety came from; the games I played in my head; my other world, my alter ego.
    Unfortunately I can't go back to it now, because it was really wrong and abnormal in a lot of ways.

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  2. Perfect place to be, could be calm related atmosphere for me. I love to be in a swimming pool facing the sky or ceiling, closing my eyes and just feeling like a floating bubble in the water. The emptiness is a great sensation, nothing in my mind.

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  3. I read your blog and I feel as if I was reading my life. Nobody believes that what I have is something "bad" or life endangering or even a disease. I don't know what to feel because after being diagnosed I don't trust my judgement anymore.

    Greetings from a mexican borderline. If feels safe here.

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  4. I did a similar thing with one of my therapists. It took me forever to find a safe place. For some reason, I just couldn't think of one.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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