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What is Psychological Safety and why is it essential?

When genius is expressed in conscious genius ways everybody gains; An extract from Creating Psychological Safety

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Clearly, when genius is expressed in conscious genius ways everybody gains. The psychological safety required for the latter to emerge is where consciousness of each person’s amazing nature is actively present and, indeed, jealously nurtured. The contrary operates when genius is largely expressed in unconscious ways. Many of the psychological safeguards secretly created in the face of threats in turn become threats to the wellbeing of others – for example: aggression, depression, passivity, violence, harsh criticism, absence of love, presence of conditional relating, perfectionism, addictions.

Other safeguarding responses – what I call protective ways of getting attention in the face of non-attention to one’s presence and awesome nature – may also pose threats to the wellbeing of others. Examples are gaining protective recognition through work, success, sports achievement, musical prowess, fame as a writer, artist, scientist, poet, computer expert, business tycoon – indeed in any field of the endless manifestations of what we humans are capable. Even though these accomplishments may be driven by fear, indeed, sometimes terror of invisibility, and are a powerful unconscious means of gaining protective attention, nonetheless the rest of us can enjoy and benefit from these pursuits, and when we are conscious, have compassion for those individuals’ inner torment. 

My hope is that at some point they will encounter the psychological safety so that they themselves will begin to move from fearfulness to fearlessness, from surviving to thriving and leading their precious lives from the inside-out. When the latter inner-determined shifts occur, they will automatically begin to engage their limitless passions as creative play rather than as means of Self-validation.

Psychological safety is where there is the predictable and consistent presence of unconditional love for Self and the other and belief in Self and in the other.

Psychological safety is where there is the predictable and consistent presence of unconditional love for Self and the other and belief in Self and in the other. There is also the accompaniment of Self where you are at and accompaniment of the other where the other is at – accompaniment with no judgment or imposition or hidden agenda. Only what you consciously experience within Self can you truly express for another. The person who dedicates her life to others is unconsciously dead to Self and to the others for whom she is ceaselessly there – but not really there. In the same way that genius may be unconscious or conscious, so too love can be veiled or openly expressed. Indeed, what is frequently missed is that veiled love of Self – for example, “I feel nothing for myself” – is an act of love. Its protective purpose is to reduce the possibilities of further rejection. If genius is always present – in a hidden or open way – so is love always present. In other words, we cannot but be loving.

The greater the threats to our presence, the more powerful are the protectors – lovingly, knowingly and unconsciously created. No matter how terrifying are the protective responses – to children, adults, partners, pupils, employees – be assured there is always a story to match the intensity of the protectors. Any hint of judgment – a protector in itself – poses a threat and no shift from unconscious to conscious loving and from unconscious to conscious genius expression of your power beyond measure will emerge. Your inner knowing will ensure these processes. When psychological safety is patiently and predictably present, inevitably the inner psychological creative move to conscious expression of love and genius will gradually emerge. 

An extract from the introduction of Creating Psychological Safety by Tony Humphreys

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