The expression ”holding a safe space” is being used a lot these days in workshop descriptions, probably with the best intentions of wanting to create a safe space for all participants.
The problem with this is that a ”safe space” means something different to every participant, depending on their level of experience, ability to express their boundaries and capacity to hold themselves in discomfort.
As a workshop leader I can make up the most thought through consent agreements and take all the safety measures, yet some participants will still not experience the space as being safe.
Why? Because our sense of safety is directly linked to our level of nervous system activation, which constantly changes and differs from person to person.
Each nervous system is unique and carries our individual trauma, so what triggers an activation is also unique to each individual.
Your triggers are there to protect you from repeating your past hurt / trauma, what your nervous system perceives as unsafe is unique to your life story.
So even if I have the intention of holding a safe space for everyone, I cannot ensure that everyone will feel safe in the space.