How to create safe space imagery

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Laura90

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How to create safe space imagery
« on: June 19, 2018, 10:14:37 AM »
Hi there

I know that safe place imagery is meant to be really soothing and compassionate when I'm bombarded and overwhelmed with fear, my inner critic, the idea I need to be be perfect to be safe etc or other heightened  stimuli.

But I have trouble forming one in my mind.

Sort of I don't really know where my ideal place would be, or what my ideal sounds or animals or landscape would be, because I feel so detached from any identity or awareness or who I am and what I like (if that makes sense).

Does anyone have any ideas to help with this?
Thank you!! :thumbup:


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Blueberry

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Re: How to create safe space imagery
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2018, 12:58:55 PM »
Apparently there are exercises in DBT workbooks that might help you to find what your Safe Place could be. I have a CD which leads me thru various Imag. Exercises, but it's not in English, nor has it been translated. I haven't used those workbooks because I've had other methods e.g. the CD.

Otherwise I know to try and envisage using all your different senses what could feel good to you. Should it be dark, should it be light? Outside? Inside? What colours can you see? What are you sitting/lying/standing on? Or are you floating? What can you smell? What can you hear? Can you feel anything with your hands or legs. (I'm outside in nature so I can feel grass under me but it's magic too so no insects wandering around biting me or me sitting in a patch of damp grass or anything annoying like that). What are you doing in your Safe Place? My Inner Children and Inner Teens have various different places, not in my adult place and they are definitely doing things. Could be true for an adult too.

Apparently there is only a certain percentage of people who can 'see' pictures in their mind so if you can't, don't worry, you're not doing it wrong! Instead you can tell yourself what is your Safe Place is like. You doN't have to close your eyes to imagine either. Just try and find out what feels good to you. It can take a while to figure out your safest Safe Place. Nothing you do or imagine is wrong, it's all process getting there. Imaginary Helpers (mythical or animal rather than real people) can be added as well as any magical defenses.

Some links to posts I've made on Imagination therapy, could give you some ideas. IC= Inner Child (not Inner Critic) http://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=9515.msg69459#msg69459

http://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=8901.msg63072#msg63072 my reply of Feb. 18th, followed by Rainagain's might help a bit.

here, last post: http://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=8251.msg57085#msg57085

Also the Healing Porch part 1 (especially) might help you http://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=6910.0

or even this http://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=7741.0 ?

Hope soemthing here helps  :)




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Laura90

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Re: How to create safe space imagery
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 04:54:55 PM »
Thank you so much Blueberry for replying.

Going to look at those links this eve.

I think the dissociative disorder means it is hard to find 'one place' that is soothing. But I'll work on which of my inner identities I am feeling at the specific time of difficulty or distress, and find helpful imagery for those separate identities.

Thanks again  :hug:

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kdke

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Re: How to create safe space imagery
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 06:08:11 PM »

Apparently there is only a certain percentage of people who can 'see' pictures in their mind so if you can't, don't worry, you're not doing it wrong! Instead you can tell yourself what is your Safe Place is like. You doN't have to close your eyes to imagine either. Just try and find out what feels good to you. It can take a while to figure out your safest Safe Place. Nothing you do or imagine is wrong, it's all process getting there. Imaginary Helpers (mythical or animal rather than real people) can be added as well as any magical defenses.

I think this is so important for some people to remember as not being able to "envision" a safe place can be very frustrating because they feel like they should be able to manifest images. That is really the limitation of some handbooks because they can create that expectation and our inner critic just holds onto that; but for those of us who can't conjure up images, focus instead on sensations and emotions. What does safety feel like to you? How does it feel like throughout your body? Does it feel like being wrapped in a blanket, listening to rain hitting the window, or a kitty cat purring near your ear as you pet their soft fur? Does it fill you with peace and clarity, with feeling like you belong, that you're valued and loved for just being who you are? Does it smell like warm tea, cookies, lavender, or a perfume? So on and so forth.

These are great exercises as I feel like they are also a practice in self-compassion and comfort.

I have two different safe places that I go between in my mind depending on my need, and they both manifest different levels of comfort and peace. One came to me in a dream and filled me with so much peace and safety that I'm able to conjure that experience when needed. The other was built through an exercise with my therapist for when we're doing EMDR. However, more important than the images of these places are the feelings and sensations they offer to help me calm down and feel in control again. That is the real purpose of them.

So don't give up on trying, and definitely don't be so hard on yourself if you need to keep trying and convince your mind that it's ok to not think of a literal place.

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Laura90

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Re: How to create safe space imagery
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2018, 09:54:08 AM »
Thanks kdke for being reassuring and kind

The healing porch is a really  beautiful thread and idea!

It's morning here and already feeling on edge and self critical. I'm laying down and gently thinking of being on the porch with no noise but birds and flies buzzing softly around. Sitting with a mug of hot choc in hand and slippers on feet, wearing slouchy clothes, feeling completely at ease with the other people also on the porch.

I get up and ask if anyone wants a hot choc too?

Thanks for helping me find a safe space that I can develop in my mind now!  :hug:



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Blueberry

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Re: How to create safe space imagery
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2018, 09:59:40 AM »
That's great Laura!  :cheer: So happy for you that you've found imagery to help you already.  :)