il_570xN.513916752_lne6In the helping profession, we come across many people whose lives may be unmanageable and need help with getting their life back on track.  We spend countless hours doing case management and therapy and if we are not careful, we can eventually burn out.  Self care is important, and with that comes boundary setting.

I shared some of this information with a small group recently, and decided to share it here.  When we think about boundaries, we should also encourage the discussion of enabling behavior. Here are a few things to think about.

What is Enabling?

  • Putting the needs of others before our own
  • Over-extending our kindness
  • Doing for others what they can do for themselves
  • A lack of healthy boundaries

What Are Boundaries?

  • A limit regarding how far we can go with comfort.
  • Difference between self and other
  • Healthy and necessary
  • Can be emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, social
  • Create a sense of safety
  • Self care

Am I an Enabler?

  • Do you do things for another person that they are capable of doing for themselves?
  • Do you worry that you are not “doing enough” to help the person?
  • Do you feel like you are the only one that looks out for this person?
  • Do you think no one else understands the person like you do?
  • Do you feel this person is manipulating you?
  • Are you afraid that this person cannot handle a situation without falling apart?
  • Are you protective of this person?
  • Do you wish you can make yourself more available to this person?

In part 2, we would look at examples of enabling and the benefits of setting healthy boundaries.

What have you learned about boundary setting?

Photo credit to SplashOfPhotography on Etsy
Book reference: Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying The Self by Charles Whitfield




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    Last reviewed: 16 May 2014

APA Reference
Callender, K. (2014). Setting Boundaries In The Helping Profession: Part 1. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2015, from



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  • Karisse Callender, MS, SAC, LPC: Thanks for sharing that Laurie!
  • Laurie: I am in favor of setting healthy boundaries. I also opt to be a caring and nurturing person whenever possible...
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