Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 443118

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Question About Boundaries

Posted by mair on January 17, 2005, at 13:07:08

In reply to Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah, posted by daisym on January 17, 2005, at 12:39:03

Are boundaries about the lack of physical and social contact or are they about a lack of knowledge - making the T the proverbial blank slate? I'm not always sure. I know alot about my T - how can that mean there aren't good boundaries when alot of my knowledge doesn't come from her own self-disclosures?

Mair

 

Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on January 17, 2005, at 13:11:42

In reply to Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries?, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 10:43:14

I think your therapist has good boundaries, too.

The only exception I could think of was when he said he had problems with [I can't remember the adjective he used] women.

 

Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries?

Posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 14:31:28

In reply to Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah, posted by fallsfall on January 17, 2005, at 13:11:42

I doubt he even had in mind the time he talked about his problems with dependent women. I think he's blocked that from his consciousness unless I bring it up.

The only specific example he gave was allowing me to take his photograph. But he implied there were other things. Like maybe saying that he cared about me or that I was special because I was his longest term client. I still think that doesn't count as a boundary violation because it's based on something as objective as length of service.

There are some back and forth discussions sometimes, and he discloses things from his childhood or very limited things from his current life. Nothing I would consider a boundary violation at all.

But I remember back to my early days with him, and how his boundaries were crazymaking strict. I guess that's how he thinks boundaries should be, and that by those standards he's bent a lot. I'd agree, actually. I just hope he sees his bending as appropriate and something to be proud of. And not "Egads, now I think of it, I've bent the boundaries a LOT for this client. I'd better re-establish them forthwith."

It still strikes me as funny, because in terms of therapists in general as represented on this board, he veers toward the firm boundary side. Especially considering he's not a psychoanalyst.

 

Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah

Posted by Fallen4MyT on January 17, 2005, at 16:20:17

In reply to Any impressions of my therapists boundaries?, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 10:42:01

Dinah the only part I will comment on is that nose picking ..if he flicks it at you then he has crossed :D

> We were talking boundaries today, and he thinks someone from the outside might think he bends the boundaries too much. While I was bemused because for the most part I think he has boundaries of iron. That's why I always have trouble believing he actually cares anything at all about me. The very few boundary violations I recall are the things that made me feel that maybe he didn't just see me as his 9 am Friday. Not that I don't like the boundaries. I really do. The boundaries are what makes me feel safe being myself. But they don't lead to any warm fuzzies.
>
> When I think of our relationship, I never think in terms of boundary violations or how much he cares about me. I always think in terms of how *hard* I've worked at this relationship. How hard we've both worked at it to get over the inherent problems with working with someone so different.
>
> I think in terms of safe harbors. And I think in terms of slightly withholding professionalism with few exceptions.

 

Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah

Posted by littleone on January 17, 2005, at 20:27:12

In reply to Any impressions of my therapists boundaries?, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 10:42:01

Dinah, the only possible boundary crossing I can recall is when he offered to go to your dad's funeral. But I never really considered that as a boundary crossing. Somehow it just seemed reasonable considering the circumstances and your history. Even then, he may have thought you wouldn't take him up on the offer, it was more the offer of attending that helped you.

And Fallen, you crack me up.

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT

Posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:52:25

In reply to Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah, posted by Fallen4MyT on January 17, 2005, at 16:20:17

a free session at least.

 

Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? littleone

Posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:53:49

In reply to Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? Dinah, posted by littleone on January 17, 2005, at 20:27:12

That was the one I brought up, as an example of what might be considered a boundary crossing that had very good therapeutic results. He seemed surprised, but agreed that someone on the outside might wonder if it was a boundary violation.

 

Re: I think maybe....

Posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:55:34

In reply to Re: Any impressions of my therapists boundaries? littleone, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:53:49

They're not aware that we're so aware of what constitute boundary violations.

He *is* aware that managing the boundary is the "art" as opposed to the "science" of therapy. He said the science is what happens well within the boundaries, the art along the edges.

(I know there will be those who disagree that there's any science at all. :) )

 

And a tissue (nm) Dinah

Posted by littleone on January 17, 2005, at 20:58:28

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:52:25

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah

Posted by Fallen4MyT on January 17, 2005, at 21:44:12

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:52:25

> a free session at least.

Lol I could NOT resist :) I cannot imagine having to watch him pick it..I might say nicely do you have a dry nose from this cold weather...to maybe make him aware but not embarrass him ....yes free if flicked hahaha

 

Re: I think maybe.... Dinah

Posted by pegasus on January 18, 2005, at 12:35:19

In reply to Re: I think maybe...., posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 20:55:34

"They're not aware that we're so aware of what constitute boundary violations."

I think this is a great insight and very true. It seems like most of the folks on babble can recognize a boundary violation when they're faced with one. But on the other hand, there are a lot of different ideas about what constitutes good boundaries, so I suppose that by one person's standards some things may cross, while by another person's they'd be totally fine.

I've never heard you mention anything from your T that sounded at all concerning regarding boundaries. The comment about having issues with dependent women seems like the worst (and if I recall correctly, you really pushed him on that issue, because you were feeling it anyway. So maybe that was something the two of you needed to discuss). In fact, I'd say that he sounds like he has relatively strict boundaries.

pegasus

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT

Posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 18:22:30

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah, posted by Fallen4MyT on January 17, 2005, at 21:44:12

It's one of those things I just never "notice". I wonder if he does it with all clients, or if it has something to do with the fact that I close my eyes during sessions. But I seem to easily be able to feel the nose movement and look up in time to see it.

At least he doesn't adjust his crotch. My minister adjusts his crotch and it's a very distracting thing.

 

Re: I think maybe.... pegasus

Posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 18:29:56

In reply to Re: I think maybe.... Dinah, posted by pegasus on January 18, 2005, at 12:35:19

> "They're not aware that we're so aware of what constitute boundary violations."
>
> I think this is a great insight and very true. It seems like most of the folks on babble can recognize a boundary violation when they're faced with one. But on the other hand, there are a lot of different ideas about what constitutes good boundaries, so I suppose that by one person's standards some things may cross, while by another person's they'd be totally fine.

I've got what I call the ick factor. I think it's an unfailing guide to my personal idea to boundaries. Even if it's not something that I logically think *should* be a boundary crossing, if I feel icky about it, I suspect it is. I don't suppose I ever told the board, but once he called me at home to ask me about a doctor I had recommended. My ick factor went through the roof, though I couldn't in any way figure out why it should. He was in a bind, and he called someone who had mentioned a solution to check on the name of the doctor. What's to object to? Yet I felt icky about it. Go figure.
>
> I've never heard you mention anything from your T that sounded at all concerning regarding boundaries. The comment about having issues with dependent women seems like the worst (and if I recall correctly, you really pushed him on that issue, because you were feeling it anyway. So maybe that was something the two of you needed to discuss).

Absolutely. That was one of the best boundary violations *ever*. He figured it out himself when he told me, and made the necessary corrections. And I finally no longer felt gaslighted.

> In fact, I'd say that he sounds like he has relatively strict boundaries.
>
That's certainly my impression. Such strict boundaries that I get jealous of others sometimes. It's a very professional level relationship. Goodness only knows where he thinks the boundaries *should* be, if he thinks he's crossed them enough for other therapists to comment on with me!!!

(Maybe it's the phone calls. I don't just call for desparate emergencies. We've found it works better if I can call him for less than desparate emergencies. But I think he doesn't, in general, encourage phone calls.)

> pegasus
>

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah

Posted by Fallen4MyT on January 18, 2005, at 18:39:38

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT, posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 18:22:30

lMAO OMG DINAH I cannot imagine seeing him do that and to hear it? the nose movement :-)

> It's one of those things I just never "notice". I wonder if he does it with all clients, or if it has something to do with the fact that I close my eyes during sessions. But I seem to easily be able to feel the nose movement and look up in time to see it.
>
> At least he doesn't adjust his crotch. My minister adjusts his crotch and it's a very distracting thing.

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT

Posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 18:43:04

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah, posted by Fallen4MyT on January 18, 2005, at 18:39:38

That's the advantage to closing my eyes during therapy. I am so intensely attuned to him and to the space between us that I'm aware of everything. Nose picking is easy. But I'm also aware when he's *about* to lean back, or when he emotionally starts to disconnect because the session is almost over.

I'm goooood.

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah

Posted by Fallen4MyT on January 18, 2005, at 18:58:29

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT, posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 18:43:04

Wow you ARE good and that is kinda funny..well very funny on the nose. I do not think I would like my eyes closed durring therapy I keep them open at the dentist too

> That's the advantage to closing my eyes during therapy. I am so intensely attuned to him and to the space between us that I'm aware of everything. Nose picking is easy. But I'm also aware when he's *about* to lean back, or when he emotionally starts to disconnect because the session is almost over.
>
> I'm goooood.

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah

Posted by 10derheart on January 18, 2005, at 20:29:39

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Fallen4MyT, posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 18:43:04


This is remarkable - just a week ago, my pastor also adjusted himself briefly (no pun intended), thinking I wouldn't notice...? I was in his office, facing him, for goodness sakes. It was...very weird. In a way, I think it's because I've become friends with him and his whole family, and he's super-comfortable with me. But really, I think I could stop myself from tugging down on my bra, or other similar stuff. A *man thing*, perhaps? (sorry guys reading - love ya' :))

I only closed my eyes one time, with former T. It was the best session we ever had, and the first time I cried in front of him in 8 months. I found it scary but totally freeing, too. The sound of his voice without distractions was wonderful.

Yes, you most certainly are gooood.

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for

Posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 20:39:09

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah, posted by 10derheart on January 18, 2005, at 20:29:39

Yeah, my therapist used to think it was very schizotypal of me to think I had this ability to see much better with my eyes closed. But I've been spot on the money so often, that he now just thinks I'm supersensitive. :)

I know it's been a good session when my eyes stay closed the entire time. If I open them to look out the window, I know I'm not fully engaged. A really good session is eyes closed, attuned to him, and what's going on inside me, and to the space between us.

It's almost a religious event. No wonder I like therapy so.

(And my pastor does it *constantly*, even while teaching a class. Not so much in his robes. It's enough to make me think he has some sort of delicate problem, though I suppose it could be a nervous habit that he's unaware of, because who's going to tell their pastor that?)

 

Above for (nm) 10derheart

Posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 20:39:47

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah, posted by 10derheart on January 18, 2005, at 20:29:39

 

Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for Dinah

Posted by annierose on January 18, 2005, at 22:14:42

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for, posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 20:39:09

... Maybe your pastor lets the guys run free with his robes on :) (only the undies itch, just a thought)

I agree with Dinah on the eyes closed thing, although so far this month I have kept them open (just to see her). The tone of their voice is very telling (inflection, strength, softness, etc).

 

oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing!

Posted by Joslynn on January 19, 2005, at 8:48:58

In reply to Re: Agreed. That would be grounds for, posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 20:39:09

My former boss did the same exact thing of closing his eyes for lengthy periods of time when he spoke. He was very creative and I think it made him visualize things better, but it was sometimes disconcerting, especially when he was giving me a performance review or something. Breaking eye contact like that would make us feel uncomfortable at first, before some of us all got to talking at lunch and realized he did it to everyone, it was just his way of thinking.

Sometimes my pdoc will also take off his glasses and close his eyes before he says something. It's usually something pretty "deep" that comes after the glasses off/closing eyes thing.

It must access another part of one's mind.

 

Re: oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing! Joslynn

Posted by pegasus on January 19, 2005, at 9:54:41

In reply to oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing!, posted by Joslynn on January 19, 2005, at 8:48:58

I think you've got something there, Joslynn. I bet closing the eyes helps people think differently. Dinah, you said you were very sensitive, and maybe it helps you shut out some of the input that would otherwise be distracting. And it makes sense that it might also engage the brain differently somehow. I wonder if there's a theory about it that's been studied out there.

This is a cool idea, and now I want to try a session with my eyes closed. For me, though, I think it would feel weird. I really need that eye contact thing to feel connected. Even though I spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling and the corners of the room instead of my T. ;)

Now, the crotch adjusting business . . . I just don't know. I'm glad I don't have any habitual crotch adjusters in my life!

pegasus

 

Re: oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing! pegasus

Posted by Dinah on January 19, 2005, at 16:14:18

In reply to Re: oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing! Joslynn, posted by pegasus on January 19, 2005, at 9:54:41

Hmmm... I think that probably *is* true, it probably does access a different part of my brain.

You know, it's funny. I'm jut remembering a time fairly early in therapy, when only rational me showed up, when he suggested I shut my eyes. It was terrifying! I got all dizzy and everything. I couldn't concentrate on a thing. Now when mainly emotional me (or a deeper level of consciousness, whatever you want to call it) goes mostly, my eyes are closed nearly all the time. My therapist mentions it as a point of difference, but I had forgotten that it was actually a problem at one time to close my eyes.

We all ought to try switching around. Except it wouldn't work. When I try at his urging to make eye contact, I end up doing this whole weird eye rolling thing. I know I must look very very odd when I try to make eye contact. :(

 

He surprised me again.

Posted by Dinah on January 19, 2005, at 16:37:37

In reply to Any impressions of my therapists boundaries?, posted by Dinah on January 17, 2005, at 10:42:01

I brought this up today, and the fact that I had been anxious after our last session that he might say "Eeek, I've let my boundaries go to h*ll. I'd better shore them up!" He thought that was funny. He said he was very comfortable with his boundaries, and the fact that his boundaries in long term therapy aren't the same as ones in short term therapy.

But then he really surprised me. He said that I have formidable boundaries of my own, and that, while he respects them and is careful to honor them, that he does run into them from time to time, and feels restrained. He mentioned my physical boundaries about touch. That's probably true. But I had thought I was totally no boundaries when it came to emotions. We're both supposed to give the matter more thought.

He did say my emotional boundaries had definitely loosened over time. Quite probably true.

It's astonishing that he can still surprise me after ten years. I'll have to give it a good deal of thought.

 

Re: oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing!

Posted by gardenergirl on January 19, 2005, at 19:00:30

In reply to Re: oh my gosh, my boss did the same thing! pegasus, posted by Dinah on January 19, 2005, at 16:14:18

I don't particularly close my eyes during sessions, but I do cover them when I am thinking or lately, I've been putting my head on the back of the couch and looking up at the ceiling. Except I'm not looking. Hmmm, maybe I close my eyes when I do that. I often wonder what it looks like from his end, though. I've been told by a supervisor (this makes me laugh!) that I "model good eye contact", but when I am the client, I am sure that I do not. I wonder if I would bother myself as a client? ;)

gg


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