Protective Wraps and Liminal Space

What are protective wraps?

Protective Wraps (Beschermjassen) is a concept developed by Kitlyn Tijn A Djie and Irene Zwaan that is related to the idea of ‘enveloppement’ in French transcultural psychiatry (i.a. Marie Rose Moro). Protective wraps reconnect you with the people important to you, with your extended family and friends, even though they live far away, and with your history and culture. They are the safe wraps that help you through a difficult period. In the wisdom of generations, you can find what helps you in the here and now, in the liminal space, with the matter at hand. You can ask yourself: What do I need from my old context to be able to find anchorage in the new context? They can be people, but also rituals, smells, tastes, music, sensations, pictures, memories, objects, an activity, . . .  What- or whoever it is, they can help you find grounding in this vulnerable in-between space, often marked by a profound feeling of loneliness, and give you the courage to take a step towards the future.

For instance, for me, moving and hiking in nature and video calls with my family help me resource and reconnect with myself in difficult moments. And the pictures on this website are all linked to special memories, to moments in my life that can envelop me in a warm feeling when I feel anxious, sad, . . . What helps you when you are upset?


What is liminal space?


If you look for coaching or mediation, chances are that you are in a liminal space. Liminal space is a term that comes from the anthropological concept of Rites de passage. According to this, life transitions usually follow three phases. First, there is a period of farewell, of grief for what is lost. Then there is the liminal space, a confusing period where nothing is as it was. The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word limen, which means threshold. A liminal space is the time between the “what was” and the “next”, the “betwixt and between” (Victor Turner). It is a place of transition, of insecurity, of not knowing what the future brings. Of realising one´s loss and vulnerability. It is a space where losses from the past may be felt together with the present loss, which can make the impact all the more painful. Retrieving something from the past that is familiar (protective wrap) can make you feel better, more grounded. The liminal space is also where all transformation happens. Where, once you feel anchored through your protective wraps, creativity can flourish and new things can take shape. Eventually, in the third phase, there is re-integration, a phase of re-attachment, of adaptation to the new situation.

In coaching and mediation, we are in this liminal space together, looking for what might help you and where you long to go. It is a space of presence in the here and now and of listening to each other.