The Holding Space Practice

healing for silent, secret sufferers


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The Story

If you had met me when I was in my 20's and 30's you would have seen a young woman going to school, working, dating, marrying and beginning a family. I would have greeted you with a smile and we may have had some great conversations. You would have seen me as an educated, goal-oriented and successful woman.

You would have had no idea of the deep struggles I had and the self-imposed isolation and darkness I lived with when you weren't looking.

Keeping my internal struggles invisible was how I coped.

I didn't want to burden others or embarrass myself. I wanted to serve others and be good and nice, so I "lost myself" in that service. Being busy allowed me to set aside my internal monsters in public...and I could sob and suffer behind closed doors.

Then, I became a mother.

I had wanted to be a mother from the time I could pick up a doll and hug her. My favorite childhood game was playing house. Being a mother was a lifelong dream and I was thrilled at age 32 to welcome my little daughter into my life and then almost three years later my first son.  But, parenting was much more difficult than I had imagined.

The ability to cope with depression and anxiety by shutting myself away from everything and everyone vanished. You can't leave infants and toddlers to fend for themselves for hours and days.

I tried so hard to be a sweet, patient, loving mom, but
my internal monsters would not let me and it
made me and my children miserable.

I had no idea how to get my children to "behave". I was exhausted and starting to realize that there was a medical term for the symptoms I felt called fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and depression. Even then you would never have guessed I was unhappy and in pain if you met me. If you secretly suffer, I hope reading this helps you know that someone understands.

So, What did I do?

There is not a quick answer. Through a combination of books, courses and various healing practitioners I eventually found answers to some of my questions.

I understood what to do, but usually I had to will myself to behave patiently while feeling like I would explode because how I felt on the inside did not match my outside behavior.

I felt shame and guilt and weak when I could not keep my anger and anxiety bottled inside. As a parent, I would wildly swing from too permissive to too strict.

It was after the birth of my third child who began to have obvious health issues that I began to learn how to get at the roots inside of me. Eventually my internal landscape began to mirror what I had worked so hard to make my outside look like. Bit by bit I felt more peace, calm and the ability to deeply rest.

An accumulation of about 15 years of my personal learning is found in the Holding Space Practice.

Carol Webster, Author of The Holding Space Practice

What You Will Learn

  • Harness the Power of Your Mind

    Once you learn how to control your thoughts you have the power to act instead of being acted upon.  You will not feel at the mercy of other’s behavior then.

  • Take Time to Develop Yourself

    Practicing Holding Space tools for yourself first is the best way you can be of service to others.  Once you are your best self you can fully contribute to your family and society.

  • Recognize and Honor Your Emotions

    Allowing emotions to get stuck or suppressed inside of us because they are “bad” leads to stress and ultimately disease and distress.  Allowing the energy of emotions to flow creates healing and peace.

  • Love Yourself and Others Better

    When you learn to truly love yourself for who you are, you then have the capacity to truly love others.

  • Be Brave Enough to See the Truth

    Being willing to see the truth of who you really are and the stories you tell yourselves is not easy.  When you find the courage to see and face the truth, you can begin to replace unhelpful thinking patterns with helpful ones which will lead to true freedom and lasting peace.

  • Control Your Sub-Conscious Mind

    Though we control our conscious minds quite well, it is our sub-conscious mind that controls us.  Once you learn to control your sub-conscious mind you unlock the power to control your destiny.

What the Experts Say

Lani Peterson

“Wow! After reading Carol’s Book, “The Holding Space Practice”, I am moved and inspired. She has simply and clearly exposed all the human struggles that keep us hostage to limiting self-perceptions. More importantly, she has made accessible a gentle path towards healing and restoration. By courageously sharing her own story of struggle to find deep peace and joy, she has created a simple yet powerful guide for others to follow. I began the process of reflecting, opening, and seeing pathways that could lead to greater insight and change. This helped me not only to overcome any denial that I might be holding, but normalized my experience. We all could benefit greatly from doing this work of opening to ourselves as well as Holding Space for those whom we love.
I look forward to integrating her wisdom into my
own experience of healing and growth.” 

Lani Peterson Psy. D, Psycologist, Executive Coach, and Story Expert

Frequently Asked Questions

  • q-iconWhat is a Silent, Secret Sufferer?

    We all have some level of suffering at some point.  We might not even recognize it.  The most silent, secret sufferers are the ones who look like they have a near ideal life on the outside, but on the inside they feel tears and have secret pain that they may not be able to share because of being shamed.  We can be trapped by our society that makes us want to seem normal, but we know down inside we don’t really match “the norm”.

  • q-iconI don't learn well from reading, Is there someone who can help me personally?

    Answer one: There are plans to make an audio recording of book.

    Answer two: There are plans to make videos, podcasts and group coaching to help

    Answer three: We have a team of HSP coaches and mentors waiting to help you.  Contact us to find one.

  • q-iconHow was the Holding Space Practice developed?

    While using a doodle journal, Carol one day wrote down a series of “truths” that came to her. These were phrases and ideas that had been parts of various conversations with wise healers in her life.  That “doodle” became a large wall hanging in the Webster home.  People asked about it and Carol would try to share what she could.  She committed to write about the concepts for monthly phone calls with a small group of friends.  This was the basis and beginning of the HSP Book.

  • q-iconWill this help my family?

    Answer one: yes

    Answer two: Yes if you continue to practice

    Answer three:  There is often resistance to change, even good changes.  It might feel like things get worse before they get better, but as you stick with it,  you will find more peace and less stress.

  • q-iconWho will this work for?

    Answer one: You

    Answer two: Anyone ready to do the HSP work.

    Answer three: The HSP is not a replacement for medical attention, but professionals you work with would want to know that you are trying this, so share it with them.  If it helps you they will want to share it with others.

  • q-iconCan I use this to help a friend?

    Answer: Yes and no

    Yes, if they want to change and are willing to learn.

    The best way to help someone else with this practice is to first do it yourself without saying much to your friend.  Pray that they will ask you questions because they will be more ready to change if they are curious and willing to ask.

What Holding Space Users Have to Say

  • Ashley Ashley Oregon, USA
    "The holding space model is one of those things that once you hear it, it's as if you've known it all along, like it's been a part of you, something that you can't unlearn, you become it." "Holding space for myself and allowing others the space to hold themselves has been freeing. So many stigmas and frustrations have disappeared due to this personal practice. I can see others and accept them as they are without wanting them to change for me." "Holding space has had a particular impact on my parenting practice. When I allow myself to take care of me and apply the principles learned within these pages I am a much more calm and accepting parent, friend and spouse." "We all know we can do better in our lives with our choices, but this book has helped me to be more gentle with myself and has aided me in my riddance of guilt. My best is good enough for now."
  • Teena Teena Texas, USA
    "Inside of each of us lies a Pearl, a Pearl of Great Price.  This is how I feel God sees us.  Holding Space to me is the "Gift" I gave myself that allowed my Pearl to once again SHINE. As we travel though life it seems that our Pearl, our essence, becomes clouded covered over, even scratched and dented.  We lose sight of who we really are. What Holding Space did for me was to help me uncover my Pearl of Great Price. I was able to help "Heal" it and once again, my Beautiful Lustrous Pearl, my essence, was able to SHINE. Sometimes it was easy to work through the content, sometime not...but it has been a Gift and I am grateful to and for "Holding Space" as it brought forth the truth, the essence of who I am, my Pearl, my Pearl of Great Price."
  • Nikki Nikki Hawaii, USA
    When I began learning the Holding Space Practice I was in a very dark place in my life.   The tools that I learned helped me overcome struggles and challenges and led me back into the light. I have left them close to my bed to go through them again because it’s not like I’m done yet.
  • Betty Betty Missouri. USA
    Since learning the Holding Space Practice, I feel that I am noticing the beauty in people and places that has always been there but I had been too rushed to see.
  • Rachel Rachel Missouri, USA
    The Holding Space model has been a paradigm-shifting tool for my life.  It helps me step aside from my anxieties and natural tendencies towards judgement of self and other, and instead empowers me to embrace what is, giving myself and others space to be as we are and the room to grow towards even greater health and wellness. It re-centers me, and reminds me to connect from my heart to myself and others.  This framework of understanding is a gift Carol has given us that can bring more peace and emotional thriving to all. The Holding Space Practice gives me permission to feel my feelings, without shaming or rejecting parts of my emotional life, but rather seeing all emotions as valid, that deserve their own space. Emotions can be helpful information, even if they are not pleasant.  The tool of "Gently Noticing with Curiosity" helps me remember to be, see what is, and withhold judgment.  "Staying in the Space without Distraction" has become a mantra for me, as this fast-paced modern life is full to the brim with distractions that can impede connection with others and even the very experience of our being in our own life. The Holding Space Practice draws upon the best principles of the mindfulness wisdom traditions and provides tools that are easily understandable and applied in everyday life.
  • Barbara Barbara Missouri
    This book is one that you’ll want to read more than once. It is short but compact...(like a protein bar….. it has lots of nutrition and goodness in a small package.) I have read many “self help” type books including books on psychology, spirituality, Buddhism, meditation etc. I recognize many of the ideas from these other books in “The Holding Space Practice”. The thing that really is unique and great about this book is that she outlines an action plan to actually do something concrete to help achieve your goals. It isn’t just an easy read to uplift you (although it did inspire me a lot). It is a book of exercises that you will want to do the rest of your life. I understand now why it is called the “practice”. I only regret that I didn’t have this book many years ago.
  • Rob Kish Rob Kish UK
    What I love most about this book…its’ simplicity! As I went through this book over the course of a couple weeks, and several weeks thereafter, I would constantly catch myself doing The Work in my head when I recognized a thought that wasn’t serving me. This book really taught me that just the simple act of questioning our thoughts is enough to see through all our made up bull shit. Who would I recommend this book for? EVERYONE. Seriously…everyone. There is not one single human being on this earth that could not benefit from this book. I will warn you, the exercises are not for the faint of heart, and you must check your ego at the door. If completed, the exercises are life changing, I speak from personal experience.
  • I'm a wife and mom of two young children in my 30s. After reading Carol's personal story, I could see many parallels to my own journey of struggling in life. She has a gift for articulating what sufferers of anxiety and depression feel but are often unable to put into words. Different life experiences-- including illness and parenting a child with autism-- have propelled me to seek various resources to help me better understand myself and implement practices to change my thoughts and actions for the better. Along the way, I have gravitated towards learning that emphasizes mindfulness, deep thinking, self love and forgiveness, empathy, vulnerability, and resilience. And little by little, I feel I have gained some levity over my struggles with depression, anxiety, feelings of anger, shame, and self-doubt. After reading the first two modules, I had a strong feeling that the Holding Space Practice could help me build upon the concepts and practices I've been learning and take them to the next level of spiritual growth. I'm very grateful to have come across this material, and I believe Carol's willingness to share it so freely in a spirit of giving is a testament to the profound impact it can have on people's lives.


Every month we will send you a new module to work on.  The once monthly time frame gives you plenty of time to practice and apply the content of that module in your life before you try to add and practice the next.  Half way through the month you will get encouragement to continue to think about and practice that month's module.