It's something my counsellor has suggested to me many a time. Same with creating a "safe place" to leave memories in. It just does'nt seem do-able to me, though. Think when I'm not dissociating, I'm super-rational and working with visualisations, etc just seems impossible.
Sorry, not been much help, but would be interested in other peoples experience of this.
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I've tried a few things, some of which work sometimes. One therapist created a container for me during EMDR where I could put stuff that was overwhelming. Another had me spend time with my horse, absorbing him all with smell, touch, feel, and then using him as a safe place. We've done visualisations where my adult me goes to comfort a small me, or where we bring part of me into a safe room in my head. And the tapping therapy- TFT- is a good way to reduce feelings that are very intense. All these things have helped a bit, even though I struggle with visualisations and never had, in fact, a safe place when I was little. I think it is possible to do but takes practice and often help to make it work X
I think a lot of people get stuck at the idea of it needing to be a place, especially since as Helliepig says many of us have never had a safe place in real life.
Visualisation helps me a lot, but not trying to visualise being in a location. I make up people or animals that protect or comfort me. They're imaginary because then I can make them more reliable than the real people I know lol. When I've felt very frightened I've also done things like drawn my attackers (just as stick figures) in a very secure jail then added more walls, bars, barbed wire, guard dogs etc.
Also, even though I use the word visualise I don't actually see anything in my mind. I've never been able to do that. I do things like drawing a picture of something, saying it to myself or imagining it with my thoughts like a daydream. It still works.
I've worked on this with my therapist. It helps me a lot. Its a place that's safe for me to go to. I've got a few and I decided that with one fictitious place that I would add something extra each time I went. I add anything I like, it can be a person/animal/pet that might visit, it might be a smell, a texture, the weather, or I might add structual changes too. It's quite a good place now! It's even got a water slide that ends up in a sea full of colourful fish. It helps me a lot and I've used it when I've had challenges like going to the dentist or flying. It takes a bit of patience but it's worth it.
Hello all, I am new here and I am in therapy since only 4 months.
Having a safe place was a tool that was given to me in a therapy session when I was in dissociation. Since I have used it couple of times and it helps a lot when I have flashbacks or panic, especially in situations like being at work or in public places. Once the memories were opened, it is like Pandora's box. It's happening anywhere, in my car, at work, in public transportation, while swimming ect...
I know it's not working for everyone but fortunately for me yes.
It's a place that looks quite the same as a place I have seen in some of my dreams. I can go there, have peace and even the little girl can come play in there. I have a ''high security zone'' too in case it is too overwhelming. 2 weeks ago, after I got flashbacks in the bus, I was waiting for the metro, was near panic, holding myself to the wall with a huge instant headhache and I wanted to vomit.
Then I went to my safe place especially in the 'hight security zone'' with the little girl, I was making her straberries pancakes and was looking in a book to identify with her the birds in the woods. Couple of minutes after, tears started to roll on my cheeks (it is very hard for me to cry) and then I was back here and now. I opened my eyes to see if anyone in the metro noticed.The sick feeling was gone and the headache was a lot less painful.
Having a safe place where I can soothe myself is a blessing for me. I had been in therapy many years ago and never had such a tool. I wish everyone that is dealing with PTSD could have something like this whatever shape it takes, you favorite place, contact with your favorite animal, tree, music.
Another tool is to make a list about what makes you feel safe. It can be soft music, a blanket around you, pet you cat, lock yourself somewhere if it is helping, smell something you like ect
Anything that helps while the fear or the panic goes away...
I used to have a safe place, although since I've been on these new tablets they seem to stop me from dissociating, I can't access it :( I used to create imaginary people in my mind who would keep me safe. There were 3 of them, and when things would get too much, I would imagine what I would do if any of the people were in a given situation with me. It gave me courage and strength for a while.
Sometimes if I was really anxious I could visualise the characters in the room with me, and interact with them. I wish I could do it now.
Moony, I'm sorry your new tablets stop you from turning to visualising these characters. It sounds like you were doing something similar to what I do. I hope you're OK and can still find ways to feel safer.
Moony, what makes you feel safe? Make a list of what makes you safe and try to use it when you are afraid or in panic.
When my T asked me that question to do as a homework, I was so surprised. I wondered where he learned about so simple tools that I didn't even thaught about and I am working in the social services.
No one ever teach me those basics and I felt then as if I was allowed to take care of my self. It gives me a sense of power over situations and I think it makes me a better person with others.
When I was going in an incest survivor support group, we used to have lots of teddy bears that we cuddled during all the time we were there. I found myself a tiny teddy bear that I could carry in my wallet and that I could touch to reassure me when I was afraid, without anyone knowing it.