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Help with Boundaries

Help with Boundaries

addiction counselling boundaries

Help with Boundaries. The boundaries that should be attended to when starting a new helping relationship are subjects such as:

Addiction Counselling – Time keeping 

Help with Boundaries. This is important in most helping relationships. In some professional helping relationships such as chiropractors the speaker will be allocated a time and length of time for each session. There may be other speakers during this day so unless the speaker is on time, they may have to forfeit their session. In other helping relationships it is important to be clear about the times and make sure it is convenient for the speaker and the listener. Such as in a friendship role both listener and speaker may need to agree a convenient time for matters to be discussed.

Confidentiality – Help with Boundaries 

Confidentiality is one of the most important boundaries. Within a listening relationship generally means within limits what is said between listener and speaker is kept between them. . A speaker would not expect a listener to discuss their case with others unless this was mentioned to them at the start. Listeners should make efforts to protect and respect their speaker’s privacy. In certain helping relationships such as Doctors or Social Work this will include looking after personal details as well as records of any sessions they have had. Some listeners such as those just mentioned work to their Code of Ethics which means they must inform the speaker of the limits of confidentiality and stick to these rules.

Helping relationship Listening Boundaries 

Confidential it should be taken seriously by all listeners and this should be discussed when starting any helping relationship. Ethically, there should be no such thing as “absolute confidentiality” and it is misleading for a listener to imply this. There are a number of limitations that prevent total confidentiality which speakers, when starting all types of helping relationships, professional or friendship should be aware of.

Listeners have legal and ethical obligations which could cause a break in confidentiality. In some helping professions eg nursing, records can be opened when it is required by law if there is a suspected crime there are some helping professions such as teaching in schools, where there are laws which demand reporting of suspected child abuse. A listener also may have to break confidentiality or to refer a speaker to other agencies for example, if the speaker is suicidal or is talking about self-harming. This can also apply to helping relationships such as friendships or work colleagues.

Trust – Help with Boundaries

As with any helping relationships you need trust. This can be established at the start of most helping relationships including professional and friendships by setting out the boundaries such as confidentiality above. The speaker would not be able to open up if they felt they could not trust the speaker and by stating the boundaries at the start this will encourage trust

Appropriate settings

As with all helping relationships, it is important that the speaker is happy with where the sessions or conversations are going to take place. The speaker needs to feel comfortable and safe. One way this can be met is to arrange a space where the speaker knows they will not be over heard.


The structure should be agreed at the outset. In a professional relationship such as life coaching some of this could be; how many sessions is the speaker going to need,  and over what time span will the speaker need their these sessions. These are some of the things which need to be taken into account when starting a new helping relationship.

When starting a new helping relationship it is important to know how to agree objectives. There are many ways to accomplish this. Objectives such as what would the speaker like to gain from this relationship; would they like clarification or someone to take their side eg go with them to court as in a Victim Support helper. As with most helping relationships, many people see a listener to help sort out something which is worrying them and interfering with their everyday life.
Therefore objectives should clarify if this can be met. If so, a good listener will support and challenge and help in whatever helping role they have so as to come up with a solution. A good listener will help you look at things more clearly. There must also be boundaries set out by the listener too such as, maybe a review to see if objectives have been met; also time keeping and confidentiality are greatly important. I feel the speaker will gain a lot from the setting out the objectives. They will know where they stand; they have proper guidelines set out and a better understanding of  what can be aimed for so they are no longer in the dark.

Identify the core counselling skills that may be used in a helping relationship and describe how they may be used

The core counselling skills that may be used in a helping relationship are: reflecting, paraphrasing, silence, summarising and body language to name a few. These core counselling skills may be used in the following way:
Paraphrasing; is repeating back to the speaker a sentence they have just said in the listeners own words, to guide them further into that part of the conversation and keep the momentum going.


Reflecting their own word back to the speaker so as for them to clarify more in depth of what they are saying.
Silence to me one of the greatest tools we have to use. It makes the speaker continue, helps them to reflect etc.
Body language, this is useful in many ways. If the session is coming to a close, it works to shift your weight to one side. You can tell a lot from the speaker’s body language, are they telling the truth, are they nervous, are they frightened, are they upset etc.
Summarising is a great way to end a session, and also a useful tool to help you understand if you or the speakers are getting a bit lost with the way the conversation is going. This is another example of other helping activities.

Describe useful strategies for ending a helping relationship and the possible impact of the relationship coming to an end

It is important to end the helping relationship at the agreed time so as the speaker knows the ground rules. Useful strategies for ending a helping relationship are things such as allowing the listener to summarise. It is a good idea to summarise what has happened during that time to help end. For example, a massage therapist may state: “So as we are coming to the end of these sessions now maybe we could summarise on …”  “So to recap on these sessions as we are drawing to a close, we are able to …” etc.
 It’s a good idea to ask the speaker, what will they be taking away with them from this ending. In my business when listening to speakers, towards the end of the helping session I summarise. This gives the listener and speaker a good idea of what the both have learnt, understood and how progress has been made.
Evaluating, review and countdown are all good strategies for ending. Reviewing and letting the speaker know it is coming to an end is important as is gives both people some time to reflect on the time spent.

Helping relationships – Help with boundaries

Help with boundaries. For most helping relationships which are coming to an end, especially if they have had the relationship for a while, there may be some impact even if they are ready to carry on with their day to day lives without the helping relationship. The possible impact of a relationship coming to an end could be feelings of anxiety or abandonment.. I feel it is important for the speaker to have spoken about other support structures and there may also be a need to meet again if necessary. The coming to an end should never be rushed.
The speaker should feel sure they will be able to cope once the sessions are finished and the door should be left open if things don’t work out as planned.  Being clear of the amount of meetings you are going to have with the speaker from the outset is also important and will help ending a relationship more affectively. The speaker should not be left to feel they cannot cope so independence should be aimed for during the time together to minimise the impact of ending the relationship.
If you would like any help with the above on anything to do with addiction. Call us now on 07811 606 606


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