Chapter 8 – Developing an Inner Sense of Safety

coping book coverHappy Friday! It’s time to pick up Coping with Trauma Related Dissociation (by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele and Onno Van Der Hart), and do some work.

This weeks chapter explains what an inner safe pace is, why it works, and how to create one. Practical chapters are my favorite and this technique is a life saver. As always, it takes practice.


Developing an Inner Sense of Safety

Does this negative loop sound familiar?

You’re anxious but don’t know why. You get frustrated with your anxious parts, and they get upset and more anxious. You get angry about being frustrated, or start calling yourself weak, which makes you more upset. Which makes you angrier. From there it’s just a downward spiral of inner conflict.

“A sense of inner safety can occur when all parts of you can agree to temporarily let go of inner conflicts and criticism and focus on the present moment.”

To break the loop, the book recommends using a mental safe place. Anxious parts can be soothed by induced feelings of safety, and angry parts can feel some relief with inner stillness. Examples of appropriate places include nature scenes (lakes, meadows, streams, islands, forests, mountains, oceans, etc), structures (houses, huts, cottages, castles), vehicles (ships, subs, space) and meeting rooms.

Parts can have their own spaces; your imagination doesn’t have a storage limit.

Homework this week is the guided creation of your space. For those following along without the book, here’s some resources I like that are similar.

This also wraps up Part 2!

You should have learned to:

  • Overcome the phobia inner experiences
  • Reflect on inner experiences
  • Communicate internally about current issues in daily life
  • Develop empathy towards your parts
  • Cooperate among parts to accomplish a common task
  • Develop a sense of inner safety, and safe places

Make sure this list looks familiar. If you’re doing the skills review and realize you’ve dissociated during these chapters, it’s reread time. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us 🙂


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