This semester in Group focuses on the topic of relational boundaries. Our special guest is Rick Presley, LCMFT. 


1.  What are boundaries?


  • DEFINITION OF BOUNDARIES:  Boundaries, in a broad sense, are the lines or things that mark a LIMIT, BOUND, or BORDER. In a PSYCHOLOGICAL SENSE, boundaries are the realization of our own person apart from others. This sense of separateness forms the basis of personal identity.
    • It says WHAT WE ARE and what we are not,
    • What we will CHOOSE and what we will not choose,
    • What we will ENDURE and what we will not,
    • What we FEEL and what we will not feel,
    • What we LIKE and what we do not like,
    • What we WANT and what we do not want.


  • BOUNDARIES, IN SHORT, DEFINE US:  In the same way that a physical boundary defines where a property line begins and ends, a psychological and spiritual boundary defines who we are and who we are not.
    • PURPOSE:  Boundaries are what give us a sense of purpose and direction.
    • A ‘PROPERTY LINE’ Their purpose is to help us know what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for.


    • Keep good in and bad out
    • Act as an alarm system
    • Help us to withdraw
    • Protect our freedom
    • Trying harder, being nicer, and taking responsibility for others doesn’t make our lives work better.


  • LEVELS OF BOUNDARIES: There are three levels of boundaries…
    • Contact
    • Limited Contact
    • No Contact


2.  Give us some SIMPLE EXAMPLES of boundaries?


    • Skin/body
    • Words (truth)
    • Geographical distance
    • Time
    • Emotional distance
    • Other people


3.  Give us some RELATIONAL EXAMPLES of boundaries?


4.  What happens if we DON’T set boundaries?


  • 3 AREAS OF BAD FRUIT:  A lack of boundaries produces a variety of bad fruit. These show up in three main areas of life:
    • CLINICAL SYMPTOMS include depression, resentment, rage or anger, and obsessive and compulsive behaviors.
    • RELATIONAL SYMPTOMS stem from a sense of loss of freedom and loss of love. 
    • FUNCTIONAL SYMPTOMS include inability to complete a goal or task, extreme disorganization, low energy level, and problems of concentration.