We speak with clients all the time about healthy boundaries. This is important in creating a healthy life balance. We as counselors and therapists are no different. We all have our own way of doing things and managing our work, but the greatest gift I have given myself in the last few years is the ability to say I am unable to make a commitment, to offer options that work for me, and to look at my time differently. I prioritize what is important, or take on tasks that provide reward and balance. I am fortunate to be at a place where I can share time and resources and help others build their practice. I have learned to allot my time according to priorities, such as family, learning, creating community, and providing a standard of work that I can be proud of.
Beyond boundaries of time, are boundaries of treatment. I truly believe that any therapist, or counselor, cannot do everything well. We find an approach, a practice, a method that works well with our belief system and this begins to define our work. We may find a population that we work well with, and that helps us hone in on our best work. When I hear counselors say they work with everyone and use many different approaches, I wonder if they have found where their best work lies. This is not to say we shouldn’t be eclectic. I sure am. But I know my strengths and can honestly offer those in a way that I know I can help people. I also know my limitations or concerns outside my reach, and can say “no” and feel like I have served myself in the process. Having a terrific referral list, with other counselors I know and trust, has helped make this feel even better.
As the Tao Te Ching says, A wise man has his yes and he has his no. You too, should have yours.