8 Critical Questions for Trauma-Sensitive Boundaries When Holding Space


1. What is your current capacity?

Another way to ask: “How full is my cup right now?” Be honest with yourself about what you can hold responsibly, and what you can not. For instance, if you are exhausted from hearing clients’ heartbreaking stories, that may be beyond your current capacity to hold.

MY CAPACITY IS ________________________________________________________

2. What would improve your ability to be fully present in this shared space?

In particular, what REQUESTS and BOUNDARIES would help you show up fully? You are invited to consider your level of rest, hydration, hunger, pain, and attention span. What can you do to be kind to yourself?

I REQUEST ________________________________________________________

I REQUIRE ________________________________________________________

3. What topics, information, and details would be appropriate for the situation?

You are invited to consider the mutual interest in the situation. For example, if you are a hair stylist, the mutual interests between you and your client may be a great haircut, delivering quality care, and creating a satisfying experience so the client comes back. It is ok to have boundaries to keep the mutual interest on track.

I invite you to picture a venn diagram. The overlap of the circles represents shared space between two people. Notice how each circle is still whole, but only a sliver is shared. We may consider this a metaphor for what we choose to share while holding space.

APPROPRIATE TO SHARE____________________________________

NOT APPROPRIATE:________________________________________

4. What questions, conversations, and discussion would orient your interactions towards the present moment?

It may feel more pleasant in the present. Engaging the senses is one way to connect with the present. Often, past and future worries can distract us from the present, but consistent, compassionate practice with mindfulness and grounding can help bring us back to the present.

If you need info on… Instead of this… Consider this….

Physical sensation “How’s it going?” “How does your body feel?”

Building rapport “How have you been?” “How can I best support you today?”

Emotional state “How are you?” “What does your energy feel like now?”


If I need info on…

Instead of this…