'Holding The Holders'


Part 1: Experiencers' Journey


Part 2: Holders' Journey

dates coming soon

One-day workshops offering an opportunity for those with first-hand experience of supporting others through their difficult times, to explore together our experiences of mental and emotional distress, and the types of support we need to be able to respond compassionately to both the distress of those we are supporting, and our own distress.

Two workshops:  Part 1: Experiencers’ journey and Part 2: Holders’ journey


Accompanying a friend, family member or loved one through times of mental and emotional distress can be a lonely and painful journey.  Many holders express how little support is available in the UK and how challenging it is to know how to respond - what to do or say in order to ease another’s pain, particularly in very challenging or extreme times.


Mental and emotional distress belongs to all of us. In a society where poverty, abuse, trauma and adversity are all too common, what touches one of us ricochets through families, friendships, and entire communities. And often those holding experiencers through their journeys of mental distress, find themselves on a parallel journey, with no acknowledgement of this different, but in many ways equally difficult holders’ journey, and with no one to turn to for guidance and support.

Our ‘Holding the Holders Part 1: The Experiencers’ journey’ invites participants to explore mental and emotional distress through Safely Held Spaces’ proposed five stage roadmap, which charts the journey of the experiencers they are supporting, through everyday life, testing times, threshold, really extreme times and finally emerging or returning.


There will be opportunities for holders to share how it was for them to travel with the people they are supporting through each of these stages, and what they have learned, both emotionally and practically, which helps both the person they are holding, and themselves, at each stage.

If you are interested in joining us in May, please click the 'Register To Attend' button to complete the registration form. Attendance is free, but places are limited.

Part 1 Workshop Details

Workshop Date:  POSTPONED UNTIL MARCH 2021

Workshop Timings:  TBC

Location:  Venue TBC

To see what it might be like to attend one of our Holding The Holders workshops, take a look at our video here

Our ‘Holding the Holders Part 2: The Holders’ journey’ workshop will focus on an exploration of how the holders’ journey travels in parallel with, but is distinctly different from that of the experiencer. We will explore together how this holders’ journey may move through stages of denial and resistance, grief and acceptance. We will also look at how we meet our own distress, and how that informs the ways in which we are able to be with and respond to the distress of the people we are supporting.

Dates and locations for our Part 2 workshop are to be confirmed. If you would like to be notified when places at the workshop become available, please click here to send us an email and we will add you to our waiting list.

Using a range of creative activities, both workshops will offer participants the opportunity to deepen their understanding of their personal experiences and to reflect on their meaning.

“Only when we are able to offer compassion to ourselves first, are we then able to offer it to others”

Safely Held Spaces’ ‘Holding The Holders’ workshops provide a safe space for holders to share their stories with others who have been, or are going through similar experiences. The workshops will also provide an opportunity for those offering support to experiencers of mental and emotional distress to deepen their understanding of both the journey of the person they are holding, and of the journey they have been, and may still be on as holders.

© SafelyHeldSpaces 2020