Thrivival 101: A Fresh Take on Self-Care for Female Mental Health Clinicians

“No” is a Complete Sentence: A Conversation with Kim Long about the Importance of Boundaries

December 01, 2023 Intentional Therapist Season 2 Episode 11
“No” is a Complete Sentence: A Conversation with Kim Long about the Importance of Boundaries
Thrivival 101: A Fresh Take on Self-Care for Female Mental Health Clinicians
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Thrivival 101: A Fresh Take on Self-Care for Female Mental Health Clinicians
“No” is a Complete Sentence: A Conversation with Kim Long about the Importance of Boundaries
Dec 01, 2023 Season 2 Episode 11
Intentional Therapist

New! Send us a text message with your thoughts on the episode

As clinicians we often speak with our clients about the importance of boundaries but how often do we actually apply that same wisdom to our own self-care?  

In this episode we speak with psychologist Kim Long about the incredibly important yet uncomfortable topic of boundaries.  Kim shares some of the common misconceptions about boundaries, some of the reasons why this is so hard for female clinicians, and how this might show up differently if we’re working in a public versus private setting.  We go on to explore the warning signs that might suggest we need to strengthen our boundaries and Kim shares her perspective about how resentment is actually envy in disguise.  Kim also explains why listening to our bodies is such an important step in identifying our boundaries.  

 Episode highlights:

  • The common misconceptions about boundaries
  • Why setting boundaries is so hard for female clinicians
  • Warning signs that suggest we need to work on our boundaries
  • Why listening to our bodies is such an important step towards identifying our boundaries
  • Kim’s favorite “non-conventional” self-care practices

Kim Long has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a registered psychologist in Alberta.  In 2016 Kim opened Dochas (the Gaelic term for hope) Psychological Services.  Kim’s practice has grown over the years and now includes a team of professionals who work with clients to discover their strengths, identify what’s getting in their way, and help them find the life they want.  Kim and her team have also developed The Dochas Life Jacket App, a free app that provides self-regulation support: https://www.dochaspsych.com/lifejacket-app/

Connect with Kim:
https://www.dochaspsych.com/
https://www.instagram.com/dochaspsych/
https://www.facebook.com/DochasPsych/

Connect with Melissa & Karen at Intentional Therapist:
intentional@intentionaltherapist.ca
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmelissatiessen/

Sign up for our newsletter to receive access to our FREE '4 C's' mini-course:
https://www.intentionaltherapist.ca

Thrivival 101 is proud to be part of the PsychCraft Network - a collaboration of independent podcasters out to change the world! Learn more at:
https://psychcraftnetwork.com/

Disclaimer: Thrivival 101 is a podcast that seeks to be educational in purpose and is not to be used as clinical advice. Please connect with a therapist one-on-one for personalized support.

Show Notes Transcript

New! Send us a text message with your thoughts on the episode

As clinicians we often speak with our clients about the importance of boundaries but how often do we actually apply that same wisdom to our own self-care?  

In this episode we speak with psychologist Kim Long about the incredibly important yet uncomfortable topic of boundaries.  Kim shares some of the common misconceptions about boundaries, some of the reasons why this is so hard for female clinicians, and how this might show up differently if we’re working in a public versus private setting.  We go on to explore the warning signs that might suggest we need to strengthen our boundaries and Kim shares her perspective about how resentment is actually envy in disguise.  Kim also explains why listening to our bodies is such an important step in identifying our boundaries.  

 Episode highlights:

  • The common misconceptions about boundaries
  • Why setting boundaries is so hard for female clinicians
  • Warning signs that suggest we need to work on our boundaries
  • Why listening to our bodies is such an important step towards identifying our boundaries
  • Kim’s favorite “non-conventional” self-care practices

Kim Long has a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a registered psychologist in Alberta.  In 2016 Kim opened Dochas (the Gaelic term for hope) Psychological Services.  Kim’s practice has grown over the years and now includes a team of professionals who work with clients to discover their strengths, identify what’s getting in their way, and help them find the life they want.  Kim and her team have also developed The Dochas Life Jacket App, a free app that provides self-regulation support: https://www.dochaspsych.com/lifejacket-app/

Connect with Kim:
https://www.dochaspsych.com/
https://www.instagram.com/dochaspsych/
https://www.facebook.com/DochasPsych/

Connect with Melissa & Karen at Intentional Therapist:
intentional@intentionaltherapist.ca
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmelissatiessen/

Sign up for our newsletter to receive access to our FREE '4 C's' mini-course:
https://www.intentionaltherapist.ca

Thrivival 101 is proud to be part of the PsychCraft Network - a collaboration of independent podcasters out to change the world! Learn more at:
https://psychcraftnetwork.com/

Disclaimer: Thrivival 101 is a podcast that seeks to be educational in purpose and is not to be used as clinical advice. Please connect with a therapist one-on-one for personalized support.

Karen Dyck:

Welcome to Thrivival 101, a fresh take on self-care for female mental health clinicians.

Melissa Tiessen:

A podcast where we have the courage to talk about what actually supports and gets in the way of our self-care, so that we can redefine what it truly means to take care of ourselves, our best tools, and thrive in this work. We are your hosts, Dr Melissa Tiessen

Karen Dyck:

and Dr Karen Dyck of Intentional Therapist. We're so happy to have you joining us today.

Melissa Tiessen:

Well, today we're really looking forward to speaking with Kim Long about an incredibly important topic I think should be relevant to every single one of our listeners, which is boundaries.

Melissa Tiessen:

So Kim has a master's degree in counselling psychology and is a registered psychologist in Alberta, Canada, and in 2016, Kim opened Dochas Psychological Services, and so interestingly, Dochas is the Gaelic term for hope. So Kim's practice has grown over the years and now includes a team of professionals who work with clients to discover their strengths, identify what's getting in their way and help them find the life they want. And listeners who are familiar with our concept of self-care hopefully will immediately notice the similarities between Kim's work and our desire to help female clinicians create the type of life from which they don't need to escape. So, in addition to her clinical work with veterans, adolescents and adults, Kim has also written quite a bit on the topic of boundaries, and, of course, this is something that we believe really aligns with our 4 C's framework for self-care, in particular, our courage and compassion pillars. So we're really excited to have you here with us today, Kim, on the podcast, and excited to dig into this very important topic.

Kim Long:

Thank you and I really appreciate that you did the one of the Irish versions of our business name so that you can say that so many different ways. For your listeners if they feel more comfortable, y ou can just say 'Dochas' as well. That's typically what we hear, but 'Dohas' is actually, or 'Dukus', like yeah, it just means hope, so I think that's what we're all about.

Melissa Tiessen:

Yeah, that's beautiful. So maybe it would be helpful if we start off by just talking a bit more about your definition of boundaries, as well as, I think this is so important, what are some of the common misconceptions about boundaries, because I think there's a lot of them.

Kim Long:

Yeah, you know, for me this this has been a work in progress. When I first started out, boundaries were very the idea of them were very rigid, but I think we can think of boundaries as things that can change even in the moment by moment as we learn more information about the context. So, giving yourself permission to say, oh okay, I learned a little bit more about this, I can move that pyl on out a little bit further. So if you think of the pylons on the road guiding us where, like, don't go here, that's kind of what a boundary is, but you can move them as needed.

Kim Long:

So, remembering that boundaries can be flexible, another word I like to use for them are limits. So it's just, this is my limit right now, and it can change day by day or moment by moment. You just really need to listen to yourself and what's going on. So I think the biggest misconception about boundaries is that it has to be black and white and rigid and that if you change your mind about them, that you're somehow weak or giving it. But that's not necessarily the case. So there's ways to figure that out.

Melissa Tiessen:

And I love that pyl on analogy, Kim. I think that is so helpful for reminding us that this doesn't have to be something that you set once and then it stays that way forever and you can never change it and there's no opportunity to rethink it or any of that. So really, really love the clarification that this is something that can be changeable, and really loved your wording too, of like this is my limit right now.

Kim Long:

Yeah, because we're working relationship right. So we're working relationship with other people and we can't just, oh, and that's another misconception. As we talk. I'm realizing these things.

Kim Long:

But when we're working in relationships, sometimes we do have to take into consideration the other person. We can't just be like, no, now, this is what I said before and this is how it always has to be. Well, no, as you learn more, you can change it. And the other misconception about boundaries is that if we set the boundary, it's about controlling the behavior of the other person. No, it's not the boundaries about what are we going to do if the situation doesn't change or if it's something that's pushing against our boundary. It's not about we have to force the other person to do this. That good luck with that. I used to teach junior high. You can do anything.

Karen Dyck:

And I think one of the points that you're making that is so important is the importance of us giving permission to change our boundaries, because I do think you made a really valuable point that it's not a weakness, and I think sometimes we also feel like, when we do things in a certain way, with respect to kind of how we set limits and boundaries, that if we change that it means we're not reliable or dependable right, because people can't trust what we say because we change it, and I think that's such a damaging belief that we have that can keep us stuck in doing things in ways that are no longer working for us, and you know whether that means changing our work hours, how late we work, when, what days we work, etc.

Karen Dyck:

I think it can be so damaging so I just I just so much appreciate those comments as well, Kim, and kind of related to that why why do you think boundary setting is so challenging for women, and even more specifically women who are mental health clinicians? Because there's, I think, some unique dynamics in in our group that maybe makes boundary setting or limit setting even more challenging.

Kim Long:

Yeah, I might be putting my foot in it here when I when I discuss this, and so please know that this doesn't reflect the views of my college. It doesn't even necessarily reflect the views views of the research out there, depending on who's doing the research. For me, I think, unfortunately, women in many ways are still raised to keep the peace and we are raised to get along with others and be the nurturers and and all of those things, so that when we take what can be perceived as a hard line, we are called certain names which don't belong on the podcast and it.

Kim Long:

So it's not only that we get viewed in a way that isn't necessarily true for us, but we also don't want to be thought of that way. So for some it's we set the limit and then we think we have to backtrack on it. For others it's we won't even set the limit because we don't want to open that door of being called. These names are thought of in this way because especially for female practitioners well, no, I shouldn't say especially for practitioners in general we entered this field sometimes because we've experienced trauma ourselves, so that already makes it difficult to set boundaries. But also we're healers, we want to help.

Kim Long:

So saying no to someone or having to set a limit when we know that maybe it doesn't work for our clients, that can be incredibly painful and difficult to do, especially for female practitioners, because we are considered to be almost in this motherly nurturing role in a way that maybe, maybe a male practitioner isn't. So you know, I just and there is also this concept that women can do it all and we, I unfortunately find and again this is a bias, I find us women are harder on each other than men are towards us. So there's all of these like it's a mess, it's like a societal expectation of self. It's all sorts of things that go into it. So I wish it was easier, because then we could unravel it easier.

Karen Dyck:

But it's yeah, and and you know certainly what you're referring to, Ki m we talk a lot about in our in our self care model, about the influence of gender socialization and even some of our training and kind of that student mindset right, that we work these ridiculous hours and that somehow that's supposed to be sustainable, when you know it really it really isn't. So everything that that you're talking about just aligns, I think, so nicely with with our framework for self care, yeah, which I love, by the way.

Kim Long:

I love the work that you're, you all are doing so great. Thanks, so much.

Melissa Tiessen:

Kim, I also appreciate. I appreciate that that compliment and I think something that has really stood out for Karen and I is how the framework that we've developed resonates with so many other clinicians and because, as you said, this stuff is messy. It isn't just one thing right. There isn't this like perfect one to one correlation, and why we struggle with self care and why we and here's how we can, you know, magically improve it it there are all of these multiple factors that are impacting on our ability to take care of ourselves in so many different ways and, as you just described really nicely, just even when it comes to boundaries or limit setting, like you said it, it could be that, excuse me, we are struggling to even set a boundary in the first place, or we're struggling with the concern about how other people's, other people will respond when we do set a boundary, which might also lead to them just not setting in the first place or leads to a lot of discomfort after we have set a boundary.

Melissa Tiessen:

So I and I can imagine all different kinds of ways, not just imagine personally know different kinds of ways that this shows up right. One thing we'd really love to hear any of your thoughts on as well as do you think there might be any boundary related situations that maybe differ for clinicians who are maybe working in the private sector, like in private practice, versus in publicly funded positions, or or maybe also like it's all just the same thing and it's it just? You know, these slightly different flavors show up in these different settings. But 11 a Fox you have about maybe found any boundary related situations that might particularly show up in different settings that people work in.

Kim Long:

Yeah, you know, I think, for me, the public sector. I haven't really worked in as a psychologist, but I use, as I said, I used to be a teacher, so in in many ways, those boundaries setting issues show up when you're teaching in the educational system. In terms of psychology, though, I think the biggest one that is probably a difference is fees for service. So in the private sector or sorry, in the public sector they're just kind of understood that this is how it is like. In Alberta we have Alberta Health Services. They cover those fees. Clients don't have to worry about it. But there's some other boundaries that come up as a result in terms of limitation on sessions and and things like that. Whereas, private sector, we are having to have those discussions about fees for service and whether or not we are able to accommodate a sliding scale that works for the client.

Kim Long:

There's, I think, there's a little bit more conversation around scheduling issues as well. Whereas in the public sector it's just understood well, this person only works these hours and that's the way it is. But in the private sector there's, I sense, that there's this additional expectation well, will you run your own practice? So why can't you be flexible in this time that you're giving to me. Well, okay, but I I need to. I need to pretend that I have a life. Can you give me that image? You know? With that said, I need to qualify. If any of my clients are listening to this, I honestly have the best clients on the planet. They are totally understanding and actually do more to take care of me sometimes and I do take care of myself, so I love them for that. But I would say that those are maybe the the two areas that I could see really being struggles between the the private and the public sector.

Karen Dyck:

And that makes sense. I mean, melissa and I have worked in the public health care system as well as private.

Karen Dyck:

we're both in private practice right now, and you know we often joke that sometimes, when, when you make the leap from public to private, you find out the boss that you have in your private setting is far more demanding than the one you have right because now we're struggling with that, right, because we do have the flexibility to work different hours and and so it's very easy as a private clinician to work with that as well as fee setting and and I think so many of us we didn't really get trained in any kind of business and so my whole money exchange for our services can feel so uncomfortable for so many reasons, right. So I think I think those are really valid points.

Kim Long:

Yeah, and if I could just jump on to that to Karen, you brought up another one that I can think of. So when I started in private practice, I was by myself, and now I'm fortunate to have a team around me, and it really is a difficult mind shift I'm finding, even for myself. I'm so used to being an employee and having those boundaries set for me, and then when you go into private practice, it's like wait, what do you mean? I'm in charge of my own thing. So being able to talk to my practitioners about, yes, you're working for doaches, but you are also the owner of your own business because you're an independent contractor.

Kim Long:

So it is a discussion about what happens relating to your practice. It's not me telling you that this is how it's going to be, and that takes a lot of of discussion to be able to create that understanding. And and in a way, it's exciting as a business owner to see the practitioners say no, this is my business and I'm going to take ownership of that. I'm going to advocate for myself and that's great. As a business owner, sometimes it really sucks, but I'm so proud of them for being able to say no, that's not going to work for me and learning that language of how do you remain professional while still setting a limit, because it's hard for us to have that language. We aren't used to saying no without it feeling like it's a slap or a push. Well, it doesn't. That's not no. Elizabeth Olson said this once and I think it also came from the Olson twins no is a full sentence.

Melissa Tiessen:

Yes, yeah, and that is such a great reminder because I think again, especially as women, we often feel like we need to explain our own right and, yeah, sometimes we actually do ourselves, I think, a big disservice by adding more words onto that. Yes, yes, like you said, no can be a complete sentence on its own, absolutely.

Kim Long:

It feels ick though.

Karen Dyck:

It does For such a short sentence.

Kim Long:

it's amazing how much effort it takes to get it out. Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Tiessen:

Well, it's funny. Just, we all just said yes and I feel like yes feels like a complete sentence. So why can't no feel like complete sentence, to right?

Kim Long:

Absolutely, Melissa, for sure yeah.

Melissa Tiessen:

And Kim, I just wanted to go back to your point about when you're working in a publicly funded position. The boundaries are sort of being set for you.

Karen Dyck:

And.

Melissa Tiessen:

I think that's a really important point too, and of course there can be benefit that comes from that, and of course there can also be real struggle that can come from that.

Melissa Tiessen:

And just to acknowledge because, as Karen said, she and I have both worked in publicly funded positions, both in community mental health, and I've worked in a hospital setting as well I think one of the things that can very much be a struggle, depending on what the responsibilities of your job are, of course, but I think for many people in publicly funded positions, there's various tasks that they're responsible for, and of course, especially for many psychologists, but others as well, research might be a requirement of a publicly funded position, and I think that can be a huge area where people might struggle with setting those limits on right. When do you work on research? When do you see clients? When do you do administrative things? When do you do teaching supervision, right? There might be all of those other responsibilities as well, right? Especially someone who maybe works in a university setting and has administrative and teaching responsibilities as well. I think, then, just navigating, even if there are certain boundaries that are set by your organization, there's still so much to navigate within that.

Kim Long:

And I think you know, Melissa, as you say, that I wonder if perhaps in the private sector there's maybe more permission going back to that word to say no, whereas in the public sector I wonder if it becomes even harder to be able to say no because, well, this is just an expectation of your job and if you can't do it then we'll find somebody else who can. And that speaks to something we were talking about before the podcast. Even. Is this idea of balance versus harmony right? We were talking about the mess that boundaries can be, because there's so many other factors and you know, as you describe that public sector and how you have so many different hats that you have to wear.

Kim Long:

It's not about I've learned this from a client of mine it's not about balance. It's about harmony. It's about sometimes work has to take priority and then home won't take as much of a priority and then sometimes that switches. And it's about creating flow between all these different aspects where being able to recognize this part has to take priority right now, and that's okay. It doesn't mean you're failing, it doesn't mean that you're not taking care of yourself. It means you actually are by recognizing this needs to take priority, and then I'm going to flow it back or create harmony where the other part can take a little bit more priority now. So hats off to anybody who has worked public sector and continues to work public sector. I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine what the things I've been hearing. So hats off and kudos.

Karen Dyck:

Yeah, and I do think that the concept of harmony and flexibility right, that it's dynamic. Self-care is dynamic. What makes sense one week maybe doesn't make as much sense the next week. And I really appreciate your comment that that doesn't mean we're failing, because I do think sometimes we can judge ourselves or others can judge ourselves simply based on the hours we're working and what that says about whether we're taking care of ourselves or not. And I do think it's much more nuanced than that and it's again just putting it in this kind of black and white categories where self-care is much more dynamic than that and needs to be fluid and change with our circumstances. So much like boundaries, absolutely, absolutely. One of the things I really appreciated in one of your blogs, Kim, was talking about the importance of self-awareness in setting boundaries and specifically listening to our bodies as an important component in identifying our boundaries. Really appreciate you just talking a little bit more about that. I think our listeners would find that really helpful as well.

Kim Long:

Well, I really like the idea of the three brains the cognitive brain, the emotion brain and then the body brain. And the way I understand it is, the emotion brain and body brain are besties and they are constantly scanning the environment for threat. But they don't have language, so a lot of times they're trying to communicate to us through sensation. So I'm still learning to listen to how my body feels, because it's going to tell me that something is wrong far before my cognitive brain will, and we live in a society that really values the cognitive brain, but we've forgotten to listen to our instinctive brain or brains. So, for example, if I the fastest way that I can tell that I actually have a boundary because I'm not always aware that I have a boundary is when somebody crosses it, and so once somebody's crossed the boundary, then typically for me, I either feel like a bleh that's a technical term in my body where I almost feel like I wanna. I feel like that acid reflux kind of thing, like a volcano, or I feel it in my shoulders where I wanna push and it's like no, get away from me, I don't like that. And then my thoughts kick in about. I don't like that, something's wrong, but I'm not quite sure what it is. So then I have to reflect on what made my body react in that moment, and then I'm able to determine oh yeah, it's about this for me, so I need to. And then I can choose do I speak up about it or do I let it go? And that's a lot of stuff to try to figure out in a short span of time.

Kim Long:

So it's okay to loop back and say I just wanna go back to kind of what we've been doing in this conversation. I just wanna go back to that moment where you said this I need to let you know that I didn't really like that, or what about this? It can then become a discussion. You don't have to catch it in the moment for you to still be able to set a boundary. You can go back to it, especially as you're learning the language of your body, because for me it's a push. For others it could be a different sensation. It could just be like a fluttering in their tummy, or it could be, oh, my feet feel like they wanna walk away, or I feel like making the noise, like, ah, how dare you? So our bodies and our emotion brains tell us so much more faster if we just pay attention to them.

Karen Dyck:

You know. And that also fits so nicely, kim, with where we started our conversation, because when I hear you talking about the importance of listening to our bodies, it might mean then, at some point, we're agreeing to something and we're noticing, though, our bodies are sending a message to us and essentially again giving ourselves permission to go back to that person and say I've just been thinking about this a bit more and I just feel like I really can't commit to doing that or whatever kind of boundary or limit setting you feel you need to do, because I can certainly appreciate having that reaction after the fact I've agreed to something, and then afterwards I'm noticing oh, my body is not liking this, there's something about this that isn't feeling comfortable to me, and being okay with giving ourselves the permission to shift our decision and go back and read this and that.

Kim Long:

I love that word shift and even in the moment to be able to say, okay, sure, I'll do that. Oh, wait a minute, I'm noticing something. Just I need a moment to think about that and then I'll get back to you, because if you can build in some time before you just say, yes, we're taught to be agreeable, we want to get along with others. Well, you can still get along with others and just say can I have a day to think about that? Yes, again.

Kim Long:

For a couple of hours to think about that. That's still a limit without saying no.

Karen Dyck:

Yes, and isn't that again about giving ourselves permission to take some time and not feel pressure to respond immediately? I think it's Brene Brown who has this ring that moves, and so she uses that to give her some time before she agrees to things, and so she'll spin her ring before answering as a way of just reminding her to pause and not right, which I think is so valuable I'm stealing that I need to find a ring like that.

Kim Long:

Right, anything that we can build in. I'm playing with my ring right now and thinking about that. I'm like maybe I slide it up and down two times before Because really, I think Dr Siegel is the one that says you just need three seconds and then your thinking brain will catch up. So if you can build in three seconds which doesn't sound like a long time but it actually is and then it's like, okay, or take a sip of water before you answer re-regulate your system, notice what's happening. Answer yeah, building in those strategies to help you. Right, it's not easy. It's a lie if they say that it's easy, it's not.

Melissa Tiessen:

Kim, I really love the emphasis on connecting with how our body is trying to communicate with us, because absolutely there's such incredible wisdom that we can receive from our body if, as you were just saying, we're willing to pause even just for three seconds to listen to what it has to say or to give our thinking brain the chance to catch up to what our body is trying to communicate, to kind of help our thinking brain decode what our body is trying to communicate.

Melissa Tiessen:

And so I think I mean, in some ways, I feel like just if people would notice that and take that away. That is so helpful like starting point. But I'm curious if you have any other thoughts about maybe any other signs that might suggest. Oh, maybe I do need to be a little bit more intentional about strengthening my boundaries or helping myself feel more capable of seeing no, seeing no as a complete set, right?

Kim Long:

So for me that's kind of a two pronged question, the being able to see no as a complete sentence.

Kim Long:

I would invite people to practice, even just in their own imagination, first saying no and seeing how that feels, and then being able to ask themselves what or how questions, because why feels blaming? So if you just ask yourself, what is it that made me feel that way, and then you're starting to dig down to what makes no so difficult, what makes it so icky. So so that's one thing For me. The other signs around do we need to do some work on, on strengthening our boundaries is like, if I mean I don't have a lot of time to begin with, I'm working on it, but anyway I don't have a lot of extra time to begin with. So if I notice that I have even less time than usual, so oh, wait a minute, I need to evaluate what's going on here, because with that I start to notice resentment, and again, not something I can take credit for, but I read somewhere that resentment is actually envy, because we're envious that the other person is able to do for themselves what we are choosing not to do for ourselves.

Karen Dyck:

I really like that, actually, Kim.

Kim Long:

Yeah, I grabbed on to that way. It's lovely how we find all these little nitty, like niggly little things that speak to us, and that one really did. I'm like, oh God, I'm feeling resentment, that I'm actually mad at myself for not taking care of myself. So that would be another sign, and that typically goes with no time. The other thing in terms of emotion that I would notice is I would feel taken for granted and then behaviorally withdrawing from relationships or avoiding relationships because I feel unappreciated. But I have to ask myself what's my role in that? Is it because I'm consistently saying yes, whereas they're able to say no or set a limit around it? Or you know, the other thing that goes along with that is body tension. Like you know, there's that joke about turtle turtle, because we start to turtle to protect ourselves.

Kim Long:

If you're noticing that maybe you're giving a little bit too much of yourself away, sleep would be another big key. An external sign that we need to work on strengthening our boundaries is if we're experiencing a lot of boundary crashing. So what that means is, as you've set the limit and people are like, yeah, I don't really care what your limit is, what I'm going to ask you again, or I'm going to ask you in a different way, or I'm just going to do the thing anyway. Well then, then we need to learn the skill of reestablishing the boundary, or following through on our stated consequence for it. So that's why setting the consequences so important. Right that and being able to communicate this is what I'm prepared to do if this doesn't change.

Melissa Tiessen:

Yeah, and I actually had never heard anybody say boundary crashing before boundary crossing, of course, but not crashing.

Melissa Tiessen:

But I really love that idea because I know I've had conversations with clients a number of times about this really important piece that, of course, when we're setting boundaries or limits, it's not just that first conversation. And, as difficult as that may be, I think often what can be even harder is the need often for continued conversations, continued negotiations that continued connecting with, like you were saying, what's showing up in my body? And connecting with, yeah, is there resentment showing up? And I loved that description that's actually representing envy. I think that is 100% true and so recognizing that, yeah, if other people are not respecting when we set these limits again doesn't mean that we've done something wrong. It's actually just the natural order of the experience that, okay, now it's a sign we need to have that conversation again or have it in a different way, or check in with our bodies again, or whatever it is that we're most gonna need as our first step.

Melissa Tiessen:

But again, also, as you said, this isn't a failing this is just also the nature of our boundaries can be changeable, need to be changeable, and that's gonna mean we have to have ongoing conversations and of course, the hardest part I think often is just we don't wanna have this ongoing conversation, we just wanna do this difficult thing one time and be done with it, and of course it's just not how it is.

Kim Long:

And that's where frustration can come in right. So if somebody's crashed your boundary and you're having to restate the boundary or reset it or reconfigure it, that can be incredibly frustrating. So if you notice your frustration increasing, increasing, increasing while you're in conversation with this person, that might be a sign that either you're not communicating your boundary clearly in a way that they're hearing you, or that you're not following through on your consequence. But that's not. Again, I love that you said that that's not a failure. We're learning and we're in relationship with another person who also has wants and needs.

Kim Long:

So you may find that you set the limit, and especially if it's the first time that you're doing that in a relationship with someone you're changing. As Sue Johnson says, you're changing the dance and you gotta help them learn the music that you're now dancing to so that they can dance with you. So you kinda have to expect that at first they're gonna push back right. So just being able to say, okay, I know this is new, but this is what I'm needing and is there a way that we can negotiate this or no, I'm actually firm on this and my consequence is this and after the second time, if they crash it again, okay, you know what I gotta follow through on my consequence no harm, no foul. This doesn't have to ruin our relationship, it's just we're learning how to be in relationship with each other in a different way.

Karen Dyck:

Yeah, and I do think it is so important to talk about boundary crashing because I do think when this is already difficult for us to do, if people don't immediately kind of respect the limit we've set, it is so easy to start thinking am I, maybe I'm being unreasonable? Like, maybe I'm being unreasonable about this, and I think probably all of us have been in situations where we've had colleagues or friends or clients have that experience and immediately second guess themselves and us, being kind of outside the situation, can clearly see they're being totally reasonable, they're not asking for anything that is unreasonable. And yet when we're in those situations, we probably go through those same experiences where we start immediately questioning are we being unreasonable? Maybe we need to rethink this.

Kim Long:

So I think that is so important Personally. Sometimes it's not even just that we doubt ourselves, sometimes it's that, oh, they don't like me enough or they don't care enough about what I'm trying to say. They don't see how hard this is for me, so it can feel like a personal attack to have the boundary crashed. And, Melissa, I appreciate what you said about boundary crossing versus boundary crashing. I used to teach language arts and so language is really important for me, and boundary crossing sounds so gentle, you know, like, oh, I'm just dipping my toe across, I'm just crossing it. But that's not how. When someone doesn't respect our boundary, it feels more like they are ramming into it. And so, yeah, for me boundary crashing just feels and maybe it's because I struggle with my own boundaries that it feels like a crash rather than a cross. But again, I mean, I guess it depends on what every individual's experience of that is, and one word might fit more appropriately, you know.

Karen Dyck:

I actually like the crashing because in some ways, the image that that contrasts up for me is that two people are having different boundaries or limits, right, and they're kind of colliding and crashing, and I do think that's kind of what it is right One person is wanting to set the limit in a different place than the other person, so I can see the terminology crashing actually capturing it probably a bit more accurately than crossing.

Kim Long:

And Karen, I love that idea of they're just setting their boundary in a different place. So, again, that language gives the idea of it's not, it doesn't have to be combative, it's just about recognizing oh, their boundary is somewhere else. Okay, so now it's a discussion, we're not in battle with each other. So again, the importance of language in all of this, absolutely.

Karen Dyck:

And I think you know you've already talked about this, even just by talking about some of the signs where you know that might be clues we need to do something a bit different with our boundaries. But I'm curious. I think our listeners would probably appreciate any thoughts you might have on even you know one small step our listeners could take over the next week that might increase their awareness about their boundaries or areas that maybe need strengthening. And I think for sure I mean even just paying attention to some of the warning signs that you've just outlined would be a great first step. But I'm wondering if there's any additional things you wanna add to that in terms of a small step.

Kim Long:

Honestly, my bias, and it'll be a small step but also a huge step. So it's all kind of the same thing is taking a moment to reflect on what's happened to your body over the day, or even over the last 10 minutes. Like just pause after a conversation with someone and notice how you feel and then ask yourself okay, if I'm feeling wonky in any area, what is it trying to tell me? What kind of wonky is it? You know it might be just. Oh, that conversation surprised me. Okay, well, that's not about boundaries, but just even building in the time, maybe. Maybe that's breaking it down a little bit smaller. Build in the time to notice your body.

Karen Dyck:

Yeah, and you know, honestly, I think that's another good example of something that doesn't need to take a lot of time, but can be such an important part of our self care for so many reasons, right, Even if it's not a boundary issue, maybe our body is trying to communicate something else to us that we need to really listen to, that can indicate what we need in that moment, even if it isn't about a boundary or a limit setting, as you had suggested. But and it doesn't need to take a long time right, If we end our sessions you know, on the 50 minutes, which I will admit is one of my limits.

Karen Dyck:

I have a hard time with oh, that is self disclosure.

Melissa Tiessen:

That's right, that's a whole other episode.

Kim Long:

Yeah, yeah, for my supervisees it's a do as I say and not as I do. Um, yeah, it's. It is really about listening to our body and that and that is that is my bias for sure around it, and being aware that if we don't pay attention to our bodies, they get louder, they're like toddlers right Tugging on you. Pay attention to me, pay attention to me, pay attention to me. And then, next thing you know you, because you've ignored them for so long you're now out sick for two weeks because you're body is so weak and we're done.

Kim Long:

The body sets its limit right. So so yeah, it's, your body will let you know. You just have to listen. It's a hypocrite moment, but whatever, I'm working on.

Melissa Tiessen:

Exactly. We're all continuously working on it. That, and that's the changeable nature of it all. Absolutely so can. This has been such a enjoyable and helpful conversation. Well, just speaking for myself, but I think I can speak on behalf of Karen and our listeners Absolutely so, before we we wrap up, where can people go to find out more about you and the services you offer?

Kim Long:

Well, before we get into that, I also want to reiterate to you and Karen that you know I always learn something more just by talking with other people about this, and so being able to have that dialogue and both have given me some great insight and ideas that I'm going to take with me, right. So I really appreciate having the discussion today and I appreciate all the work that you both are doing to help support practitioners in the field, because we spend so much time taking care of other people that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. So, but where you can learn more about me, we have a website, wwwdotchespsychcom. We also will soon we will have courses on the web. I think we're going to have that on our website, but also through Learn Worlds.

Kim Long:

We have our Facebook channel, instagram and a YouTube channel, and we just actually branched out into TikTok. So, oh, it's going to be a gong show, but that's okay. So the talk is more about where we're leaving, like car confessionals and some funnies. But yeah, we're definitely. I think most of the feedback that we get is our Instagram channel seems to be where people really enjoy the content.

Karen Dyck:

So right, thanks, Kim. And of course, we always love ending our podcast interview asking our guest to share one of their favorite kind of non conventional self care practices. So love to hear yours, Kim.

Kim Long:

Yeah, um so actually my partner is going to laugh at this because I love changing my tires. I'm changing my tires twice a year because it's something mechanical and it's heavy, so I like to move heavy things when I'm taking care of myself because I think I have a so many unprocessed emotions from working with complex trauma that I need to. I need to feel like I'm successful in something where I've moved it and I can see the change and its instant feedback and it's like, yeah, I accomplished something. So that's and I'm very touch based, so I have a bunch of different fabrics in all of my rooms because can aesthetically the movement and the touch and the feel, and also by doing something mechanical it keeps my brain occupied so it quiets that while I'm also getting that physical release.

Kim Long:

So, yeah, I'm. I like tools.

Karen Dyck:

It's, it's actually. I actually really love those examples, kim, because it taps into so many things like one of our pillars is creativity and we define that very broadly and talk about how, what's. So I think appealing to therapists with that is that immediate gratification, right, you can see. So I love that yours included that and that it included a sensory piece like whether it's living lifting something heavy or the touch of fabrics. Again, I think going back to our bodies and even what, what helps our bodies kind of release some of the emotions that come with the heavy lifting we do at work every day by listening to people's being in trauma.

Kim Long:

What a great analogy, make me feel so smart. The heavy lifting I'm expressing the heavy lifting through Thank you, Karen, I appreciate that. And shameless plug I'm going to do a shameless plug. We actually also have the Dochas Life Jacket app and it's meant to help you in those moments where you're feeling dysregulated. So it's not something you have to use every day and it incorporates the five senses. So if you are a touch person, it should give you touch strategies. So that's something else to check out.

Karen Dyck:

But yes, actually, Kim, thanks so much for mentioning that. I did notice it on your website so I really, I really actually do appreciate you mentioning that.

Kim Long:

Thank you, and it's free, so we do not plan on putting a cost to it, we just want people to use it and have another resource. So so I guess for unconventional activity I should have said my app, but really it's changing tires.

Karen Dyck:

Well, thanks so much for joining us today, Kim, such an important conversation, and I'm sure people will be checking out your website and your social media platforms, as well as your really developed app. Thank you so much.

Kim Long:

Well, thank you both so much and good luck with everything you're doing. I absolutely love it, so thank you.

Melissa Tiessen:

And thank you for joining us as well.

Karen Dyck:

If you would like to learn more about how you can thrive in your work as a female mental health clinician, please visit us online at intentional therapist. ca, where you can discover more resources, read about our 4 C's framework and sign up for our free newsletter.

Melissa Tiessen:

We look forward to connecting with you there and creating a courageous community of like-minded women.