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Artwork © 2015 Jocelyn Patrick

Safeplace Technique

Like other techniques for containment and grounding "safe scene" visualization enables an you to nurture and soothe yourself and to practice effective control over your feelings and thoughts.

Safe scene work utilizes your already natural talent for dissociation. When doing safe scene work an you choose to experience internal stimuli that is safe, soothing, and nurturing over internal stimuli that is unsafe, traumatic, and/or re-victimizing. With practice, you'll be able to soothe yourself at will and can exercise control over any spontaneous dissociation and flashbacks that survivors of trauma often experience.

To create an effective safe scene, it is important to incorporate all the senses. The more senses involved, the more functional the scene will be.

Examples Include:

Focusing inwards and internally visualizing a safe scent can help you to quickly relax. There are no limits to the creativity and imagination you can employ in your safe scene work.

A safe place can be an actual place, such as:

Note:

It is best not to include real people because the security and soothing derived from the safe scene should not be dependent on others and should not reinforce a dependency for safety and soothing on others. Rather, safe scene work reinforces this your ability to take responsibility for your own soothing.

Once an individual have developed a safe scene, there are many things you can do to reinforce your safe scene and increase its effectiveness.

  1. The first step in this process is to write out a detailed description of the safe place, including the experience of all of the senses in the safe place as described earlier.
  2. This should then be shared and processed with others in order to receive feedback, comments and suggestions.
  3. Then it is often helpful to make an art representation of it through colors, images, etc.
  4. Most importantly, your safe scene should be practiced at least three times daily, when you are calm and relaxed. Safe scenes increase in their effectiveness the more they are practiced.

References:

Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital. (2003). What is Grounding? [patient informational handout].