In my private practice my path is to remove obstacles blocking my patient's path to reaching their full potential. Many of the people who walk thru my door are in various stages of either substance abuse, substance dependence and other issues that take on the appearance of an addiction. I am very careful to refrain from labeling my patients as I find labeling is not helpful and only adds to the feelings of shame most of my patients are already experiencing from their inner critical voice.
In working with my patients one issue continues to bind them together and that is their inability to set healthy, flexible boundaries. Many of the self proclaimed addicts I work with also admittedly suffer from issues surrounding their codependence. As a result many would describe themselves as typically having very unhealthy interpersonal boundaries. Those of us raised in dysfunctional families often find the concept of healthy boundaries to be a revelation in our recovery. One of the first steps I introduce to my clients on their path to recovery is how to develop and implement boundaries. In doing so the first statement I teach them is as follows:
No is a complete sentence...
In helping my patients develop healthy interpersonal relationships I have received much feedback from my clients. They are often some of my most influential teachers. Below is a list that I have created and edited over the years that I have been informed has been helpful to my clients. Many items on the lists you may recognize from your own past. The purpose of the list is to simply bring consciousness and awareness to your own personal "operating" system and ask yourself if you identify with any of the statements have they proved to be obstacles in your pursuit of happiness?
Signs of Unhealthy Interpersonal Relationships
Recommend readings on boundaries
Thom Kessler, LMFT, RAS
Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Addiction Specialist