Holding Space

FOUNDATION PROGRAM

Holding space — a skill we all need.

What do you do when a friend has lost a child and you can’t ease their grief? Or when your partner loses her job and you can’t resolve it for her? Or a client has to make a big decision and you can’t make it for him? Or your church or community group decides to close its doors and there is loss written on everyone’s faces? Or a group you’re facilitating is in conflict and can’t see their way through to resolution?

Though you feel invested in all of these situations, the outcome in each of them is outside of your responsibility and control.

The best that you can do is hold space for the people involved.

Holding space isn’t easy
and it can make us feel powerless.
We want to fix things, give good advice, control the
outcome,or avoid the conversation all together.

It all begins in the liminal space …
The space in between stories is the liminal space. In anthropology, a liminal space is a threshold, an interim space of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet transitioned to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. In liminal space we are between identities, between who we once were and who we are becoming, like the chrysalis stage between caterpillar and butterfly.
Grief, transition, loss, birth, divorce, trauma, job loss, bankruptcy, marriage, betrayal, relocation, graduation, conflict – nearly every human experience has within it some element of liminal space. The liminal space is a space of open heartedness, when we are raw, vulnerable, and exposed. In order to survive without further wounding, we need a container that will hold us with gentleness and strength, without short-circuiting the process or forcing us into the wrong outcome.

Holding space is what we do in the liminal space when we walk alongside another person (or ourselves) on a journey without judging, fixing, belittling, or shaping the outcome. While supporting their boundaries and protecting our own, we offer unconditional support, compassion, and gentle guidance.

The Holding Space Foundation Program is a unique offering for all those who are in relationships where they regularly hold space for other people.

Whether you are a …

Hospice Worker
Manager
Life Coach
Teacher
Elder
Pastor
Facilitator
Nurse
Artist
Day Care Worker
Consultant
Doctor
Yoga Teacher
Social Justice Worker
Friend
Chaplain
Therapist
Grief Counselor
Volunteer Coordinator
Human Resource Professional
Social Worker
Community Organizer
Parent

… there’s something in the program for you.

In order to hold space for others in our lives, we have to learn to hold space for ourselves first. When we neglect our own needs, we risk burnout, addiction, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

JOIN US ON A LEARNING JOURNEY

Starting October 26, 2020, join our teaching team, for a unique online program you can take from the comfort of your own home. During the course, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with us and other participants from around the world via video conferencing and a private Facebook group. (We’ve had people from 6 continents participate in the program at the same time, so the conversations are rich and diverse.)

Click Here to Register

“This is an amazing course. We dive deep and hold each other bravely.
If your heart longs for connection with the beauty of life lived in truth
then you will find challenge, fulfillment and joy in this course.
It is nothing less than a vision of a new humanity.”

– Helena del Pino, minister and yoga teacher, England

Modular learning to meet your needs.

The Holding Space Foundation Program is broken down into five modules. Depending on what you’re looking for (ie. basic skills, coaching skills, facilitation skills, or leadership skills), you can sign up for the stream that includes the modules you need. Scroll down to find out more.

To find out what will be offered in each module, click on module bars below.

Each module will run for 4-8 weeks (see links below for more details on each module).

The primary textbook for the course will be The Art of Holding Space: A Practice of Love, Liberation, and Leadership, by Heather Plett, plus there will be addi- tional content and a workbook for each module. Each week’s lessons will include a teaching on a par- ticular topic, plus exercises and writing prompts. There will also be bonus material in each module – video interviews with thought leaders on the topic, additional resource recommendations, etc.

There will be a 1.5 hour integration call each week where we’ll discuss the lessons of the week (which will be recorded, in case you miss it). You’ll have 2-3 options for the calls (depending on the number of registrants) – one in the morning (central time zone) and one in the evening, to accommodate as many time zones as possible. Current times for calls are Thursdays at 10 a.m. central and 7 p.m. central, with a possible third one on Wednesday afternoon. (Compare your timezone to Canada/central.)

There will be lots of support in the program. In addition to the weekly calls, the teaching team will be available for one-on-one calls (links will be shared for their office hours). You will also be assigned a “course buddy” – someone else in the program with whom you can connect with regularly as you work through the material. And you’ll be included in a private Facebook group for conversations with the group.

Module 1 - Holding Space — The Basics

Module 1 will run for eight weeks (October ?? – December ??, 2020), with two options for an 1.5 hour integration call (on Zoom) each week.

The lessons in this module will address the following questions:

  • What does it mean to “hold space”?
  • What is “liminal space”?
  • What are the core principles of holding space?
  • What gets in the way of our ability to hold space?
  • What’s the opposite of holding space?
  • How do I get past the feeling that I’m “doing nothing”?
  • How do I adapt the practice of holding space to different situations?
  • How do I help people erect boundaries without taking their power away?
  • How do I let go of the outcome?
  • How do I resist the urge to fix and give advice?
  • When is intervention necessary?
  • Is it possible to hold space for someone who doesn’t want you to?
  • What is the place of ritual and ceremony?
  • What is emotional labour?
  • What is spiritual bypassing?
Module 2 - Holding Space for Yourself

Module 2 will run for six weeks (January ?? – February ??, 2021), with two options for an 1.5 hour integration call (on Zoom) each week.

Lessons in this module will address the following questions:

    • What’s the journey to authenticity and how does it help me deepen my practice of holding space?
    • What personal practices help me maintain a balance of strength and compassion?
    • How do I get my ego out of the way?
    • How do I avoid taking on another person’s baggage, emotions, etc.?
    • How do I learn to sit with discomfort?
    • What do I do when I find myself triggered by what the other person says or does?
    • How do I erect healthy boundaries that don’t damage my relationships?
    • How do I get over my mistakes in holding space for others?
    • When should I walk away?
    • What are some body practices that help me hold space?
    • Do I need to be authentic in front of everyone or can I be selective?
    • How do I let go of self-limiting talk?
    • How am I projecting my needs onto the person I’m holding space for?
    • What if I burn out?
    • How do I ask for help?
    • How do I ask others to hold space for me?
    • What if my attempts to hold space leave me deeply wounded?
    • What are my unmet needs and how do they impact my ability to hold space?
Module 3 - Holding Space in Community

Module 3 will run for 4 weeks (February 24 – March 20 , 2020), with two options for an 1.5 hour integration call (on Zoom) each week.

Lessons in this module will address the following questions:

    • How do I incorporate the principles of holding space in my group facilitation work?
    • What is The Circle Way and how will it help me hold space?
    • What are the principles and practices of The Circle Way?
    • What are the core leadership roles of The Circle Way and how do I practice them?
    • How does shared leadership help in community settings?
    • What is “the shadow” and how does it disrupt the circle?
    • What are some practical ways that The Circle Way can transform conversations in my community?
    • How do I work with co-hosts?
    • How does the spiral of authenticity fit in circle? How do individuals & community overlap?
    • How might ritual help a community move through loss?
    • How do I find others to help me hold space in community?
Module 4 - Holding Space in Complexity

Module 4 will run for four weeks (March ?? – April ??, 2021), with two options for an 1.5 hour integration call (on Zoom) each week.

Lessons in this module will address the following questions:

    • How do I hold space when there is trauma involved?
    • How do I hold “brave space” when their are complex issues like race and gender being discussed?
    • How do I address power imbalances without allowing them to control the outcome?
    • Whose voices/stories should be at the centre?
    • How do I know when it’s the right time for intervention (ie. disrupting an unhealthy conversation, challenging racist comments, etc.)
    • How do I hold space for conflict?
    • How do I create a space where marginalized voices are centred? And how do I de-centre whiteness, able-bodies, etc.? And how do I support those resistant to de-centring their own voices?
    • What do I do when things fall apart?
    • How does our colonialist past get in the way of our ability to hold space?
    • How do I protect the vulnerable without taking their autonomy/sovereignty away?
    • What if people walk away?
    • How do I challenge people without shaming them?
    • What do we do with toxic people?
Module 5 - Holding Space One-on-one

Module 5 will run for 4 weeks (May ??-??, 2021), with two options for an 1.5 hour integration call (on Zoom) each week.

Lessons in this module will address the following questions:

  • How do I incorporate the principles of holding space in my one-on-one work (ie. coaching, therapy, counseling, etc.)?
  • How can I support people without trying to control the outcome?
  • What is the goal of coaching?
  • What are some of the pitfalls?
  • How do I sit with brokenness?
  • What about when someone is stuck in unhealthy patterns?
  • What are my limits as a coach?
  • What if someone keeps spiralling through the same stories?
  • When do I share my own story?
  • How do I deepen my listening?
  • What are some tools and resources I can use?
  • What in-the-moment practices help me stay present and balanced in the middle of an intense coaching conversation?
  • How do I incorporate body work into my coaching?

In the liminal space, there is discomfort and ambiguity.

Learning to sit with that discomfort is some of the hardest
work we’ll have to do when we hold space for others.

In the liminal space, there is discomfort and ambiguity.
Learning to sit with that discomfort is some of the
hardest work we’ll have to do when we hold space for others.

WHO WILL BENEFIT
FROM THIS PROGRAM?

This program is for you if you:
• Want to grow your skills in holding space for others and yourself
• Are enthusiastic about working in potentially complex and emotional spaces
• Have done personal development work in growing your spiritual & emotional maturity
• Are self-directed in working through your own course material

WHO WON’T BENEFIT
FROM THIS PROGRAM?

This program is not for you if you:
• Want easy answers
• Have high anxiety when life gets messy
• Have done no prior personal development work
• And/or are not self-motivated and require hand-holding to get through course material

This program is meant for anyone who holds space for others.
Those who hold space daily might benefit from the more intensive programs,
while those who wish to improve the way they hold space for their family
members, friends, or community may want to sign up for the basics.

“This training has the gentle core qualities of learning how to be fully present in the moment, with yourself, with the other person. It has the necessary structure which gives you grips on how to create such spaces. It has the power to transform a safe space into a brave space, so that people are enabled to write their own handbook on how to take control of their lives, plain and gentle.”

– Franky De Cooman, consultant, Belgium

WHAT MAKES THIS PROGRAM UNIQUE?

Unlike other programs, which provide training on either one-on-one coaching or group facilitation, this program combines elements of both, teaching you practices that will help you hold space in any setting.

There is recognition, in this program, that we are both individuals and communal beings. The work that we do in our personal growth will impact the work that we do in community settings, and vice versa.

Including a module on holding space for yourself offers you the opportunity to focus on your own personal growth and self-awareness, which will help you be of better support to others.

There is, in this program, a recognition of complexity and systemic issues at play in our lives. While some coaching programs focus on changing your beliefs so that you can change your life, this program takes a look at the big picture and helps people see how they are impacted by the culture and systems that shape us. In this program, we work hard at creating equitable spaces rooted in an anti-oppression framework. You will become part of a global community of compassionate and interesting people who are interested in similar things as you are. We’ve sometimes had people from six continents, which made for rich and rewarding conversations and relationship building.

Centre for Holding Space Level 1 Certification Bowl Logo
Gold curved line

Want a taste of what Heather Plett has written
and taught about holding space in recent years?

cropped view of daughter sitting near senior mother in bed and holding hands in hospital

What does it mean
to hold space?

A girl with a cup of naya lies under a blanket. Recreation. Selective focus.

How do you hold
space for yourself?

two people sit on a bench together overlooking a field

What do I do when
holding space feels like
doing nothing?

What’s the opposite
of holding space?

Foundation_16d-Blog

How do we hold
space when there is
an imbalance of
power and privilege?

On holding space when there is an imbalance in power or privilege featured image

Be the Bowl
(Talk)

Foundation_16f-Blog
Foundation Icon

Basic & Basic+

Module 1 or 1+2
to learn the basics
of holding space

Centre for Holding Space icon

Facilitator

Modules 1, 2, 3, and 4
to become a Holding Space Facilitator

Centre for Holding Space icon

Coach

Modules 1, 2, 4, and 5
to become a Holding Space Coach

Centre for Holding Space website icon

Leader

Modules 1-5 to become a Holding Space Coach
& Facilitator

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL GET IN EACH OF THE REGISTRATION OPTIONS:

Table explaining Modules and Experience gained from Centre for Holding Space certification programs

When we hold space with compassion and strength, we honour a person’s sovereignty and wholeness. We witness and create space for their healing, growth, and emergence. We change the world by changing how we connect and build relationships.

YOUR INVESTMENT

Pricing table for Centre for Holding Space

*Relevant taxes (GST) will be added for Canadian registrants.
*Price includes a copy of Heather’s Book, The Art of Holding Space.

Click Here to Register

Paying it forward statement by Centre for Holding Space

QUESTIONS? (CLICK + FOR ANSWERS)

Is this a certification program? Can I become a certified coach or facilitator?
ANSWER: This program provides the foundational learning and you can go on to complete a certification once this is complete.
What’s the refund policy?

ANSWER: If you register, and then something comes up, you can request a refund (minus a 15% admin. fee) up until a week before the program starts. Since registration is limited and it won’t be possible to add people after the program starts, there won’t be refunds later.

Will there be any opportunities for in-person learning?

ANSWER: At this point, with COVID-19 still making travel uncertain, we do not have in-person sessions planned, but we hope to do so in the future.

What if I can’t make the calls? Will I miss much of the teaching?

ANSWER: The calls are meant for integration (ie. conversation with other participants, story-sharing, collective learning, clarification of complex concepts, etc.) and we rarely offer new teaching that isn’t included in the material (though other participants bring in much richness with their experience and ideas). All calls will be recorded, so if you miss them, you can watch/listen later. Some who went through the earlier sessions said they felt a deep connection with the community even though they couldn’t make the calls and watched the recordings instead.

Will this be offered again?

ANSWER: Yes, we plan to offer this program once a year.

What do you mean by "practical experience"?

ANSWER: There will be some assignments where you’ll be encouraged to practice the learning in a real-time conversation. For example, during the coaching module, you’ll be encouraged to find a “client” with whom you can practice. And during the facilitation module, you’ll be supported in hosting a circle of your own. We will also set up a buddy system where you can meet with another participant (on Zoom or Skype) to practice with each other.

“The framework and structure of this course not only nurtured a safe and brave space for my classmates and me to learn and grow, but the work itself, facilitated by Heather and her extraordinary team of leaders taught us how to hold space in a virtual realm, which gave birth to a depth of heartfelt and international connection.

None of us imagined, when we signed on, that the work we would do would help prepare us for life in a pandemic. Furthermore, the personal deep dive through which we were guided during the module on Holding Space in Complexity, put us ahead of the curve as we move with great care through what feels like an extraordinary world transformation.

If you are feeling drawn to this work without a strong sense of reason, just know that your soul is ready to move through liminal space and into the glory of an expansive new beginning.”

– Melissa Baker, U.S.

Equity Pricing

If you are a member of a marginalized group of people (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, etc.), you are welcome to claim a 10% discount on registration. It’s on an honour system (ie. you don’t have to prove anything to us) and anyone who feels they qualify can use the coupon code EQUITY in the registration form to claim the equity price. If, on the other hand, you believe that you’ve had access to more privilege than most and wish to make a donation so that others can access this program and others like it (whether or not you are signing up) you can donate, or add it to your registration fee when registration re-opens in 2020.

CORPORATE DISCOUNTS

If there are a few people in your organization interested in registering together, contact us for a corporate rate. Also, if you are interested in exploring the possibility of offering this program within your organization, contact us to discuss licensing opportunities, etc.

Centre for Holding Space city bowl

STILL UNCERTAIN?

This program can be fairly intense and soul-searching (and requires approximately 3-6 hours/week commitment), so we want you to be sure it’s the right fit for you before you register. If, after reading the above content, you’re still not sure if this is the right match for you, you can book a call with a member of our team and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. Send a request and we’ll arrange a call.