When starting a new relationship thoughts must be given to a person’s own set of personal boundaries, some people may have a defined set of boundaries that are healthy in order to socialize and form new relationships, others may have rigid boundaries, meaning that they may perhaps not trust anyone and have built a wall around themselves to protect themselves making it a little more challenging for them to open up new positive and helping relationships, where as other people may have enmeshed boundaries meaning that the person is more susceptible to allowing others to manipulate their own values and feelings.
A healthy relationship is based upon trust and integrity, from the outset of a relationship it is important to outline a set of boundaries in relation to duration of a relationship, the duration of each session, the limits of confidentiality , appropriate touching, sending and responding to emails and appropriate durations of phone calls and have in place strategies for managing episodes of self harm.
Each person’s boundaries need to be carefully addressed and understood to build a trusting and healthy new relationship, I is difficult establishing a person’s own specific boundaries in the first instance for example…a person may have a dislike of answering communications via phone and feels uneasy about communicating in this way, by discussing from the start of the relationship a set of boundaries and agreeing as to what is expected and acceptable from the new relationship this helps to build a sense of mutual trust from the beginning.
A counselor is in a position of trust and must also include their own professional and personal boundaries during sessions for example, appropriate touching, I often start a new relationship with a hand shake but would not as a therapist as it is important to take into account and understand that others may see this as a form of dominant behaviour or culturally unacceptable to themselves and therefore it could be perceived by the person as inappropriate touching and inadvertently upsetting that person, so from the outset it is important in a therapeutic environment to adhere to and set boundaries for the helping relationship to evolve.
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