Create a Safe Place for Clients in Therapy

by Angela Stevens on May 18, 2009

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Part of a successful client-patient relationship is to make therapy as successful as possible. That can be hard to do if certain pieces of the puzzle are missing. Regardless of the kind of therapy you provide for clients, they need to feel that they are in a safe environment; even if that safe place is mostly a mental state.

A person’s desire to feel safe in therapy is crucial to the success of the therapy and a natural need.  As a therapist, it is your job to ensure that your clients feel safe and have a safe place to have a therapy session before beginning. Without safety in any therapy session, your client will not be able to work towards a successful recovery. Fortunately, you can help a client feel safe no matter where you are treating them.

If you are visiting your client for their therapy session, take note of the surroundings. Even if you’ve been there before, and things don’t look like they’ve been moved, it’s still a good idea to do a sweep of the area where therapy will take place. I know I’ve been in places that look the same as the last time I was there, but when I walk through the area again, some things have been moved. You want ample room for your client to move without fear of hurting themselves.

Talk your client through the therapy session before starting. Let them know what you’ll be working on that day. If there are changes in any therapy routines, make sure you demonstrate what you will be doing with them. If you can show them by doing the movements yourself, it may help to put them at ease.

Therapy

Start slowly with the session. Give your client a chance to respond to the therapy before moving on to the next step. Remember, the therapy should not be at your pace – it should always be at the client’s pace.

Any form of physical therapy needs to have a clear plan on how you’ll work to make sure your clients are safe. You can also outline what you expect from them in regards to their safety during a therapy session. Encourage your clients to talk to you throughout each session to let you know what’s working and what’s not working. You can always change things later.

For a client who is receiving counseling, you can make them feel safe by explaining your guidelines. Let them know who will have access to their information. Many therapists have very clear cut forms that they hand out, dispelling any myths about what they do with the personal information that is shared. Let them know that they can express both positive and negative emotions without fear of judgment. A person’s mental safety is just as important as their physical safety.

During any therapy session, the burden of safety will most likely fall to you, the therapist, to make sure that everyone involved in the session is at their most comfortable and feels as though they are in a safe place. This is important in any therapy session in order for progress to be made.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyse 06.29.12 at 6:26 pm

Thank you for the very helpful, and well thought out and writte advise.

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Alyse 06.29.12 at 6:26 pm

Thank you for the very helpful, and well thought out and written advise.

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