Emotional Safety
©1998 Linda Marks

Emotional safety is an emotional, somatic and spiritual experience.  Feeling warmth, joy, expansion, relaxation, the ability to breathe freely, a sense of connection and a sense of peace are common feelings when emotional safety is present.  Here are reflections I've collected of people describing how they feel when they are emotionally safe:

"My stomach relaxes"
"It's easy to let go"
"I feel as sense of freedom and fullness inside"
"I know the other person will stay"
"I know I won't be judged"
"Emotional safety is knowing everything will be okay"

All of these experiences suggest an environment of healing.  This environment supports feeling more deeply, both emotionally and somatically, and having a greater sense of peace.  Contrast this to people's descriptions of what they feel when emotional safety is lacking.  When emotional safety is lacking, people report the following physical sensations, emotional responses and thoughts:

Physical sensations:

"A knot in my stomach"

"A lump in my throat"
"Feeling tense all over:
"Heart pounding"
"Fight or flight"
"Can't let down or relax"

Emotional responses:



"Head starting to work overtime"
"Wondering when the other shoe will drop"
"Wanting to hide"
"Wanting to disappear"

Many of the physical sensations and emotional responses could be classified as symptoms for which people seek medical care or psychotherapy.  Emotional safety can be a healing experience in two ways.  First, emotional safety creates an environment that alleviates the above symptoms by removing factors that create them in the first place.  Second, emotional safety adds elements that support intimacy, connection with self, other and the divine, and presence emotionally, somatically and spiritually in the moment.

For emotional and physical heart health, I would link in to the pages on "the health impact of love and fear" and "the traumatized heart and the vital heart" already noted on the right hand side of the page.  When I have more time, I may write a new page on this topic.

For the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy, the link is www.usabp.org

For an apprenticeship model, the link is the page on the apprenticeship that we have a link for further down on the home page.