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Confessions of a Former People Pleaser

The Radical Act of Rethinking Your Boundaries

Alicia Muñoz

By Alicia Muñoz - I used to view boundaries as a fancy way of dressing up rejection, incompetence, and selfishness. But after a decade of working as a couples counselor, I've learned just how much they create safety in relationships. They’re guardians of our life force, energy incubators, protectors of precious emotional resources, stokers and fuelers of self-respect.

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May Quandary: Is It Ever Okay to Break Confidentially If I Know My Client Is Dating an Abuser?

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Diedre was widowed about three years ago, but was excited to tell her therapist about a man she's started dating. She's very happy. As her therapist heard more, he realized this is the same man another client used to date, who slowly became controlling and abusive. Should Diedre's therapist share this info? Five therapists weigh in.

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February Quandary: My Clients Are Asking Personal Questions!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist works from his home office, which means clients sometimes observe elements of his personal life. He's had clients ask about his electric car in the driveway, his dog, and where his kids go to school. He's gently asked these clients if they can stay on topic, but worries about seeming callous. Here are five creative examples of how other therapists have dealt with this.

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When Therapy Calls for a Boundary Crossing

A Story About When Professional Helping Meets Human Concern

Dea Silbertrust

By Dea Silbertrust - After surgery, my therapist's willingness to trade the comfort and security of her office for my apartment would be considered a boundary crossing by some. But in accommodating me, she demonstrated the difference between a boundary crossing and a boundary violation, and, more important, what it means to offer a simple act of grace to another human being.

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January Quandary: Should I Keep One Partner’s Secret in Couples Therapy?

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Mark and his wife, Nicole, have been in couples therapy for almost six months. But Mark recently requested an individual session, where he revealed he recently shared a kiss with an old girlfriend and has plans to rekindle their friendship. He's asked his therapist to keep the whole thing a secret. Here's how five clinicians say they'd tackle the situation.

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VIDEO: Addressing Political Stress in the Consulting Room

Reevaluating What's Appropriate to Discuss in Therapy

William Doherty

It's no surprise that, with all the political infighting going on, many people are anxious about the direction of our country. But is there room to discuss political matters with clients, or does this constitute an ethical breach? According to therapist Bill Doherty, clinicians are not only well-equipped to discuss politics, but sometimes have a duty to do so. In the following video clip from his 2017 Networker Symposium Keynote address, Doherty explains how to get the ball rolling.

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October Quandary: My Clients and I Use the Same Dating Apps!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recently joined a few online dating apps after finding herself newly single. She's seen several clients come up in these apps, and suspects they've seen her too. This puts her in an awkward position with these clients. Here's how five therapists say they'd tackle the situation.

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Remembering Catherine

Coming to Terms with a Client’s Murder

Maggie Mulqueen

By Maggie Mulqueen - Over the course of my career, numerous world events have entered my office. But none of them prepared me for grieving the murder of Catherine, my client of 15 years.

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Inside the Ayahuasca Experience

Gabor Maté on When Shamanism Meets Psychotherapy

Gabor Maté

By Gabor Maté - Several years ago, I began to receive inquiries about what I knew regarding the use of ayahuasca in the healing of addiction. Since then, I've developed deep respect for the collaborative power of shamanic medicine allied with the insights and practice of depth psychology. Respect may be too mild a word—awe hits closer to the mark.

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Setting Boundaries in an Age of Informality

Discussing Ethics with Clients from the First Session

Mary Jo Barrett

By Mary Jo Barrett - As the status of the therapist has shifted from that of an oversized figure with Svengali-like powers to that of an overworked and underpaid service provider at the mercy of the client-consumer who might sue him or her for some infraction, what are we to make of our traditional ethical codes?

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