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Setting Boundaries In The Helping Profession: Part 1

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


Setting Boundaries In The Helping Profession: Part 1

Karisse Callender, MS, SAC, LPC

Karisse Callender, MS, SAC, LPC, is a native of the Caribbean, living in the Midwest. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and is a licensed Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). She does individual and group therapy with a Not-for-Profit Agency where she incorporates various treatment modalities to aide in client care. She has a special interest in relapse prevention, integrated treatment, counselor and client wellness and dual diagnosis. She enjoys reading, crafting, baking, socializing with friends and trying out different brands of tea. Lessons From the Couch was created out of her experiences on her new journey as a professional. This blog is about the process of seeing things unfold with clients who have mental health and addiction concerns and her keen interest in self care. Feel free to contact Karisse at: Follow her on Twitter: @lessonsbykc

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APA Reference
Callender, K. (2014). Setting Boundaries In The Helping Profession: Part 1. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 May 2014
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