Boundaries really do create safety and self-care

Boundaries really do create safety and self-care

My son is still at an age when he rolls around a lot when he sleeps. So, we have bed rails attached to each side of his bed, in order to prevent him from falling out. And of course as soon as I think he doesn’t need them anymore, he proves me wrong - just the other night his whole body was squished into the side of one of the rails. (How he stayed asleep like that I don’t know!)

It’s been interesting to observe and reflect on the function of his bed rails - namely that they create actual physical boundaries for him to sleep safely. And in providing safety for him, they provide comfort for me.

As clinicians we all know about the importance of boundaries, first and foremost for ensuring ethical practice, but also for ensuring effective practice.

As females however, because of the messages we receive in our gender socialization, we might struggle at times with setting boundaries - for example, not wanting to seem ‘mean’ or ‘unhelpful’ or, gasp, 'selfish'.

But if we put boundaries in this context of safety - simply creating a physically and/or emotionally safe container for an activity - setting boundaries starts to feel pretty caring, helpful, and responsive. (Just like the bed rails on my son’s bed.)

Let that sink in:  Setting boundaries is caring, helpful, and responsive.

And an amazing means of caring for ourselves at the same time.

Are there any boundaries you have been struggling to set or enforce? What boundary can you set this week, knowing that in doing so you are caring for your clients AND yourself?