Setting Boundaries With Kyla Neely MSW, LCSW

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Kyla Neely, MSW, LCSW

Hi. My name is Kyla Neely, and I’m a licensed clinical social worker with Crosswinds Counseling. Today, I’d like to talk to you about boundaries. I’ll define what boundaries are, give some examples of when it’s appropriate to set boundaries, and then also give some examples of what those boundaries can look like.

So the definition of boundaries is essentially just rules we set with ourselves on how we’re going to interact with people. Dr. Henry Cloud who’s a clinical psychologist and he wrote a book about boundaries. [He] defines boundaries by property lines. So he says that if you could imagine a property line, it helps us identify who’s in control, what choices that person has to make, and who’s responsible for those choices. And so keeping that in mind we can use boundaries and relationships to make those same definitions.

What does that mean if you are feeling maybe anxious or disappointed [or] you get fixated on certain topics? These are all signs or symptoms that it might be appropriate to set a boundary. We can set boundaries with ourself, we can set boundaries in relationships, and we can also set boundaries in the work environment in order to avoid things like burnout.

Some examples of that would be a boundary with yourself. It could simply just be, ‘I’m going to be kind to myself. I’m not going to use negative self-talk.’ So instead of saying things like, ‘I’m worthless. I’m selfish. I hate my body.’ We could we could use kind words that just you know say, ‘I will be nice to myself,’ or’ ‘I will be kind to myself.’

A boundary in the work environment. If you notice yourself getting anxious or frustrated every time an employee sends you an email or every time you get an email, you could simply just respond to that email by saying, ‘Hey I’d like to talk about this in person,’ in order to help yourself kind of decrease that frustration and again give you some of that control.

Boundary and relationships. Oftentimes we can go to friends, spouses, partners to vent and sometimes they start giving us advice, and that’s not what we need in that moment. That causes more frustration that causes more anxiety for us. So simply by just saying, ‘Hey, I just need you to listen in this moment. I don’t need your advice.’ That’s a boundary. Boundaries, ultimately they just give us that inner peace. They help us feel safe and comfortable in social situations, or safe and comfortable within ourselves. If this is something you’re interested in exploring more, feel free to contact me at Crosswinds Counseling.

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