How I hold space for chronic pain

Being an energy healer is more than just being good with energy. It’s speaking with people, listening to them, holding space for their experience of pain. The healing starts before I do anything with energy.

Today I want to share some tips for holding space for people in emotional and physical pain. The focus is on healing clients, but I use these just as much with friends and with myself.

Holding space means sitting with someone, meeting them where they are, and expressing empathy.

Listen to them. If I’m holding space correctly, I’m barely speaking. Let the person express whatever is going on for them.

Leave the spotlight on them. Don’t bring up experiences you’ve had, just focus on them.

Don’t minimize. Don’t try to tell them it’s not so bad, or suffering happens for a reason, or to find a silver lining. If they tell you it’s bad, just let it be bad.

Advanced tip: Sometimes people minimize their own suffering. Sometimes this helps them cope, but often the person has learned that their suffering makes people uncomfortable. Once I got good at holding space, I learned to gently invite people to express their full suffering, without minimizing themselves. It can be tremendously healing for them.

Don’t fix. Yes, they’re coming to you for energy healing. But right now, as you hold space, don’t focus on fixing anything. Just listen, mirror, and give empathy.

Don’t say, “It’ll be okay,” even if you are very confident that they will feel better by the end of the session. And definitely don’t say it’ll be okay aif you don’t actually know that it will be okay.

Don’t say, “I know how you feel.” Even if you do, it doesn’t express empathy. Instead, use phrases that express how they probably feel, like, “That sounds really hard,” or Tthat sounds like a lot.”

Be congruous. I saw someone trying to hold space, saying the right things, but smiling the whole time. It didn’t work.

And this brings us to the deep skill of holding space: Sitting with your own discomfort.

That’s the real key to holding space. First, truly listen to the person, let their experience impact you. Let yourself feel their pain. You need to have some distance, but most people hold the person’s pain at far too much distance. Let it in just a little bit.

This will be uncomfortable. You will want to tell yourself that it’s not so bad. You’ll want to minimize, or focus on fixing, or crack a joke to break the tension. Don’t. Just sit with the discomfort. It’s a tiny fraction of what they live with everyday. Be in it with them.

Stay calm. If you allow yourself to be more impacted than them, if your expression of empathy is more intense than their expression of pain, they will wind up comforting you. That’s the opposite of what we want. So sit with the discomfort calmly as you meet them where they are.

From this place, express empathy. It will come through you, through your voice and your face more than your words. Meet them where they are. Once you do that, the other tips will flow naturally.

Join me live every Sunday

Every Sunday at 11am Pacific, I geek out about energy on my live stream, Ask an Energy Scientist.

This weekend, I’ll talk about holding space. Bring your questions, or just drop in and listen.

Just join my Facebook group, Energy Healing Lab, and you’ll get a notification when it starts.

Looking forward to talking with you!



2022-01-29T15:45:15-08:00January 29th, 2022|

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