top of page
  • snehtherapy

Safety in the Therapy Room-Gentle journey from shallow to deeper ends of healing

I sit before a screen

On clicking ‘Join Meeting’

I will see a stranger before me.

This stranger smiles

There is a silence that follows

We begin speaking

Pauses seem to punctuate time.

I do not know why I am speaking to them.

They tell me I do not have to know.

I am unsure how I feel about opening up to them. I am told that I am allowed my time and space.

I have opened my laptop ever since

Same time, same day, every week

I find this stranger before me

And with time, we are a little less like strangers.

This little-less-like-a-stranger has seen me

In all laughter, bouts of tears and more.

One day I yawned and felt ashamed But my therapist smiled

I felt relieved, a little less strange now. Moments like this, week after week

Allowed me to feel safe.

One of the first adjectives I think of when asked to describe therapy is, ‘safety’. My tryst with therapy began as a client, in training to be a therapist. While I had studied that my therapist would be non-judgmental, they would create a safe space for me to express my inner world to them, I did not know what that meant in real-life. As I sat before the screen, I wondered how my therapist would know what safety was to me. I questioned then, “What is safety to me?”. For some of us safety may be speaking a native language, for others it may be allowing ourselves to keep our videos off. To a few, it may be holding onto a soft toy, or drinking a hot beverage during therapy. I had to learn what safety meant to me. My therapist and I had to create a language of safety, together.

Creating safety is a process I’ve learnt and as with all processes, it takes time! It is built, moment by moment, session after session. Some ways in which your therapist may attempt to create safety include:

Therapist fit

  • You can have a conversation with your therapist about their qualifications, training, and competence to work with your concerns.

  • In the circumstance that you are not aligning with your therapist or their therapeutic process, you can share this with your therapist and they will prioritize your wellbeing by assisting in identifying another therapist who may be a fit for you.

  • Your therapist will check in with your therapeutic experiences and work together to incorporate necessary changes.

Respecting your identity

  • You may introduce yourself with your preferred name, pronouns and choose to disclose as much as you are comfortable with about your beliefs & value systems.

  • You are allowed to express yourself in ways that are comfortable. This includes honoring your need to move, sway, choose not to make eye-contact, dim the lights or speak in a certain volume.

  • You can speak about your socio-political location with your therapist. Your therapist will invite and make space for your experience with systemic concerns.

In the therapy room

  • You have the agency to choose what you would like to explore. Therapists respect that you may not want to explore certain aspects of your life in therapy right away.

  • You may want to slow down during the session. For instance, you may feel overwhelmed when you are speaking about a certain stressor and you may want to pause or shift from it altogether.

  • You are encouraged to show up exactly as you are. All shades of your authenticity are embraced.

Outside the therapy room

  • Your therapist will work with you to create a safety plan- a list of resources, people, activities you could engage with, to self-regulate..

  • You may ask your therapist for their availability to offer emergency sessions. If your therapist does not offer this service, they may be able to provide you with a list of helplines to reach out to.

  • Sharing a safe relational space with your therapist may automatically lend into feeling safer and enthused in building new relations/renewing old relations which can later turn into effective support systems.

Journal prompts

1. What are ways in which you might feel safe in the therapy session?

Meditate & Contemplate on objects you could hold, eatables, a doodle pad, a quiet corner.

2. What are some words and images that occur to you when you think of the word ‘safety’?

3. What are some ways in which your therapist could create a safe experience for you?

Meditate & contemplate about the areas you are comfortable exploring in therapy, the pace of therapy, the kind of activities you are drawn to.

-Nethra Nallari

Edited by Snehal Saraf

Category: Kintsugi with Compassion

Therapeutic work is often about Curiously & Compassionately saying, "Hi" to yourself again and again and again...until You and Your parts are Kintsugi-ed!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page