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Boundaries – Why are they important?

Driving into town the other day I was stopped at the traffic lights whilst waiting for the traffic from my left to pull out. Watching cars pull out (note these

were all average size family cars, no 4x4’s lorries or tanks!), I became very aware that as they turned left out of the road they were on they all swung right over the central white line before straightening back onto their right lane except the last car who stayed in their own lane. I thought, Wow! When I learnt to drive my instructor taught me to always try and remain approximately 6 inches from the kerb side, that way you remain safely inside your lane away from vehicles coming in the opposite direction thus minimising accidents. What I felt like doing was shouting to these drivers to make them aware of how dangerously they were driving – “The council put these white line markings on the road for a reason – to help us stay safe, they are boundaries to stay within to minimise any of us getting hurt. What part of stay on your own side of the road do you not understand?”

Okay rant over, needless to say I did not say of this to anyone, only to myself in my car.

Often, we don’t like boundaries, they may feel controlling, that others are stopping us from doing things, and yes, at times that may be true but usually it is to keep us safe even we can’t see it, we don’t understand the reason for it, or we just don’t want to see or understand the boundary.

This can often come from our past. Whilst growing up we would often have been told no, or that we couldn’t do something and often without an explanation. Speaking from my own experience that just made me want to rebel – it wasn’t being told I couldn’t do/have something, it was that there was no explanation, leaving me frustrated. When we understand the reason behind something it is easier to accept and let it go, even if we don’t agree with the explanation at least we know.

As a counsellor I work within many boundaries: Being a member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) I work with their ethical framework (you can access this by going to their website – this boundary is the foundation for my practice supporting to keep both me and you the client as safe as possible whilst you are in sessions with me.

Working within boundaries is important in developing trust with another person. In counselling you as the client need to feel safe if you are going to be able to open up and explore fully what is on their mind. By consistently providing a safe and confidential space on the same day, at the same time in the same location by myself, a trusting relationship can develop that will allow you, as trust develops, to talk freely of what is on your mind, explore this and find your understanding of the situation, this understanding will support growth in confidence will allow you to come to your own conclusion on how best you want to manage it. Where am I in all this I hear you ask. I’m right there alongside you, listening to your story, asking for clarification if/where needed to ensure I am hearing and understanding you properly, this also helps you to think about what you have said, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding.

Often when we come to counselling it’s because our boundaries have been stretched too far or even violated. If this resonates with you and you would like to explore this or any other concerns that you have, contact me for a free 30 minute, no obligation telephone call to explore whether we may be able to work together so you can find your understanding of what has happened and find a way you can manage this effectively.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

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