Category: Individual Treatment

Setting Boundaries

In any relationship, whether personal or professional, setting boundaries is vital. Your relationships will be healthier, and you will have the emotional and psychological space to thrive. Yet setting boundaries is a skill that can be tough to master. Here are some active steps you can take to create healthy boundaries.

Identify Your Boundary Limits

Setting boundaries requires you to do some introspection. How can you build a fence if you don’t know where your property line is? Begin by tuning into your feelings. Notice what situations cause you to feel uncomfortable, stressed, angry, or resentful. Odds are high that your feelings are caused by crossing your limits. Keeping a journal can help you take an objective look at stressful situations and identify which specific limits were crossed.

Know Non Physical And Physical Boundary Violations

There are many types of behavioral boundaries in relationships. It’s vital to understand specific boundary violations as you begin to set and master your boundary limits. This list illustrates  behaviors that are unacceptable. These behaviors and actions should not be tolerated or accepted as okay. Don’t let others cross the line. If they do, politely call it to their attention and let them know you are setting new boundaries and this is unacceptable for you. It may take several times of reminding them you are fully committed to improving your relationship and respect for your boundaries is going to be a necessary part of the process.  

Non Physical Boundary Violations:

  1. By word or deed, indicate that a person is worth less.
  2. Yelling or screaming.
  3. Ridiculing or making fun of.
  4. Lying.
  5. Breaking a commitment for no reason.
  6. Attempting to control or manipulate another person.
  7. Being sarcastic while being intimate. 
  8. Interrupting.
  9. Blaming.

Physical Boundary Violations:

  1. Standing in another’s personal space without his/her permission.
  2. Touching another person without his/her permission.
  3. Getting into a person’s belongings and living space such as one’s purse, wallet, mail and closet without his/her permission.
  4. Listening to a person’s personal conversations or telephone conversations without his/her permission. 
  5. Not allowing a person to have privacy or violating a person’s right to privacy.
  6. Exposing others to contagious illness.
  7. Smoking around nonsmokers in an identified non smoking area.

Be Forthright

Once you know what you can and can’t tolerate, don’t be afraid to tell people. You don’t need to go around announcing every boundary to every person—in fact, when dealing with people who have similar values and personalities to your own, boundary discussions may never come up, as you will likely approach each other in a similar way.

However, even people that you are very close to may have different boundaries than your own. When you notice yourself becoming tense and uncomfortable with someone, start a dialogue. Explain how you are feeling and what your boundary is. Some boundaries require a bit of compromise, as in a romantic relationship where one partner needs lots of space and the other needs lots of closeness, but you should never agree to behavior that is a clear violation of one of your boundaries.

Own Your Boundaries

Many people have trouble enforcing their boundaries due to feelings of guilt, fear, or self-doubt. Especially in your closest relationships, you might worry that you will anger the other person or even feel that setting boundaries means you are not a good partner, son, or daughter. In reality, though, boundaries are a sign of healthy self-respect and generally lead to healthier relationships. If someone becomes upset with your boundaries, it reflects that person’s issues, not yours. Own your boundaries and work hard to preserve them.

Remain Self-Aware

Very few people are naturally good at setting and sticking to boundaries. Now that you know how it feels when your boundaries are crossed, check in with yourself now and then. If you are starting to feel stressed or resentful, you may need to make a new commitment to honoring your boundaries.

Consider Environmental Factors

Your past and present environments play a large role in your ability to set healthy boundaries. If you were the caretaker of your family, you became accustomed to ignoring your own needs in service to others. If you are currently surrounded by psychologically unhealthy people, you may be giving more than you get. If you are in a job that demands a lot of overtime, you might feel pressured to constantly give more and more, regardless of what you need or want.

Combat these environmental drains on your boundaries by prioritizing self-care. As the airplane safety spiel goes, “put on your own oxygen mask first.” You cannot take care of others unless you are healthy and happy yourself. Identify the things that help you relax and put you in a good mood, and make time for them in your schedule. It is far easier to enforce your boundaries, and to navigate complex relationships, when you are in an energetic and peaceful state of mind.

Ask for Help

If you are having trouble with boundaries, find some help. There are numerous books and websites dedicated to the art of setting boundaries. Church groups, life coaches, mental health counselors, and even close friends or relatives can help you learn to set boundaries and hold you accountable for preserving them.

Take Baby Steps

You wouldn’t pick up a violin for the first time and expect to play a concerto. Any new skill requires a great deal of practice. Start with a small, nonthreatening boundary, and reward yourself for enforcing it. Over time, gradually build up to larger and more complex boundaries. With discipline and hard work, you will eventually find that setting and maintaining boundaries becomes second nature.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re in Houston and are ready to start your journey to better mental and emotional health with an experienced, compassionate therapist, contact Renee Lederman today at 832-969-3885 to schedule your first appointment.

Why It’s Important to See Beauty Everywhere

What is beauty?


You might think that’s an easy question to answer, but is it really? One thing to remember is that beauty can be subjective. Just because you find something beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean someone else would.


We all have different taste in romantic partners, for example. Just because you find someone unbelievably attractive doesn’t necessarily mean your best friend will too (fingers crossed). Some people think that the first snowfall in winter is stunning; others look at it and see cold and frigid weather. It all depends on who you are and your point of view.


But despite what you naturally find beautiful, I believe that it’s important that you learn how to see beauty everywhere. And believe me, there IS beauty everywhere, even in the unlikeliest of places. You just have to be able to see it. And that doesn’t always require using your eyes!


Seeing Beauty with the Heart

There are many different kinds of beauty. The two you might immediately think of are superficial and inner beauty.


Superficial beauty is what’s on the outside. If you find someone physically attractive, for example, that is entirely superficial. Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t base an entire relationship off that. However, when you get to know someone better, you start to see the beauty they have on the inside. That’s what makes for a loving relationship, being able to see the beauty of someone, even into our old ages.


Seeing inner beauty requires us to look, not just with our eyes, but with our hearts.


Not Being Able to See Beauty

Here is something that I find to be a tragedy: We are surrounded by beauty at all times, yet we don’t see it. Imagine going on a vacation to Venice, Italy. Every year, countless tourists go to see the canals and the architecture. It’s objectively a beautiful place, but what does it look like to the people who live there; the people who see these beautiful buildings every day of their lives. Do you think that they’re overwhelmed by the beauty all the time? Of course not! Eventually, they become desensitized to it because they see it every day.


To a lesser degree (depending on where you live), we are all guilty of this behavior. We stop seeing the beauty that is all around us because it is always there. It becomes, for lack of a better word, boring!


I think that it’s so important that we put effort into genuinely appreciating the beauty that surrounds us. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by it, but realize that it is there. By reminding ourselves of how beautiful our homes are, we can train ourselves to find the special in the mundane. And isn’t that just a fantastic definition of what beauty is?


A Beauty Exercise

If you want a reminder that beauty can be everywhere, here is an exercise you can try.


On a nice day, pick a spot outside (preferably not in the sun) and sit down. This could be on a park bench or even the grass in your backyard. I want you to close your eyes. Now, this isn’t meditation (although it CAN be used for that purpose), but you could still find it relaxing. Don’t fall asleep! Instead, I want you to forget about your eyes and wake up all of your other senses.


Let’s do smells first. Some people find the smell of freshly cut grass to be pleasant. Some might say, beautiful. The scent of flowers can often be just as lovely as the flowers themselves. If you are sitting inside while someone is cooking, close your eyes and take a sniff of the air. Smells delicious, doesn’t it? Well, that’s just another word for beautiful.


What about sounds? With your eyes closed, listen to all of the sounds around you outside. Birds chirping, the wind blowing through the trees. What sounds do you find particularly relaxing and lovely? If you want to “cheat,” you could try listening to beautiful music with your eyes closed. There is so much beauty that we can hear without seeing.


And how about tastes? This one is easy. Ever close your eyes before you eat something mouth-wateringly delicious. It’s almost like the lack of sight makes it taste even better. And personally, I find that beautiful.


What About Things That No One Finds Beautiful?

Ok, this section is going to be a challenge for many people. If you read something that makes you super uncomfortable, then don’t worry, you can skip ahead.


There are things out there that many people find hideous or terrifying, but are actually just signs of nature. And if you can find beauty in them, even in small amounts, it can have a drastic impact on your positive mindset.


Find a picture of a snake online. Instantly, I suspect some reading this have just sat up a little straighter. Yes, snakes can be terrifying, but let’s try to see the beauty. Don’t pick a scary snake, pick a cute, little corn snake. Look at the delicate pattern of their scales. Look at the colors. Look at the texture. When you separate these things from the idea of “snake,” they can be quite beautiful.


I know this can be a challenge. If you don’t want to think about snakes, try to think about something else that you find unattractive. Then really analyze it, trying to find the beauty in it. It doesn’t need to be a TON of beauty, just a little shimmer.


So, how can all of this help you to thrive? Easy. It’s all about your mindset and positivity. When we close ourselves off to the beauty all around us, we are closing ourselves off to the possibility of positive emotions and feelings. We are less likely to see kindness, forgiveness, and generosity. But when we open ourselves up to beauty, all of these feelings become more available to us! That’s why I believe that it is important to see beauty everywhere!

We will be exploring this in more detail in the Time to Thrive program. If you’d like to learn more about it, I invite you to click here!

Judgement Vs. Truth

Do you want to know who your harshest judge is?


No one in our lives is harsher on our choices, physical appearance, work ethic, morals, etc. than ourselves. Just think back to a time when you messed up somehow. I bet that an incident came to mind almost instantly. While everyone in that situation has probably forgiven you, forgotten about it, or put it behind them, you still feel a little burning shame about it. That’s your judge inside, still punishing you after all these years.

What’s worse is that, even though we are our harshest judge, we are also usually the WORST one to judge ourselves. We lack perspective and are full of emotions and conflicts that impact the way we see things. Often, we judge ourselves for what we THINK is true. But that doesn’t necessarily make it the truth.

So, what’s the difference between judgement and truth? Let’s take a look at some examples.

A Work Conversation

Let’s say that at 5 PM just before you leave work, your manager tells you that they want to see you first thing the next morning. You ask them what it’s about and they say that you’ll find out then.

Right away, your mind probably springs into action, coming up with scenario after scenario. That’s just innate human curiosity. Why do they want to see you? What for? Why so early?

Then, because we always tend to go for the worst case scenarios, your mind might start spinning a terrible story. What if they are going to fire you? Your brain casts back to a few weeks before when you messed up in an unimportant way. At the time, you didn’t think much of it, but what if that was the straw that broke the camel’s back?

As you lie in bed, your brain starts to solidify this theory, and you begin to judge yourself. You can’t believe that you even got this job in the first place. It was such a stupid mistake; you can’t believe you made it. You can’t fall asleep because your inner judge keeps you up, berating you and putting you down.

You go into the office the next morning, knowing with 100% certainty with you’re going to be fired. You walk into the manager’s office, they ask you to sit down… and then request your help putting together a surprise party for a coworker’s birthday.

So, what happened here? Your inner judge spun a worst case scenario out of almost no evidence, fully convincing you that you did something wrong and that your manager was going to fire you. The truth was that your manager wanted you to pick up Janice’s birthday cake. Between the 5 PM the previous day and now, your inner judge berated you and made you feel useless, all based on absolutely nothing.

While this kind of scenario might be a little exaggerated, I’m sure that you’ve experienced something similar in the past.

A Future In-Law?

Here is another example of how your inner judge can get in the way of the truth.

Let’s say that you are meeting your brother’s girlfriend for the first time. The three of you head out to dinner together so you can get to know her a bit better. During the conversation, she makes an off-handed comment about the earrings that you are wearing. There is something about the comment that rubs you the wrong way, but you put it aside and have a perfectly lovely dinner.

Later that night, her comment about your earrings comes back to you. You can’t believe she was that rude. And now that you think about it, there were lots of other things that she did that annoyed you — the way she picked up her fork, the way she occasionally chewed with her mouth open. Without meaning to, you start to judge her. She’s obviously a terrible match for your brother; he could do so much better. By the time you’re in bed, you have a picture in your head of his girlfriend that has almost no barring in reality.

The following week, your brother asks you out for another dinner with her. You dread it. You don’t want to tell your brother what you think of her; that’s she’s secretly a monster. You finally decide to go to the dinner, you sit down with them, and a half-hour into the meal you realize… she’s perfectly nice. Smart. Interesting. And totally into your brother.

Once again, your inner judge went to work, picking apart this woman with the flimsiest of evidence to support your judgement. One thoughtless comment was spun into a negative opinion about this woman. But then the next time you met her, you started to realize that your previous judgement was just flat out wrong.

What Can We Take Away from This?

Now, I am in no way telling you not to trust your gut here. That’s different. Trusting your gut is when your instincts kick in. No, what I am warning you about is something that actually gets in the way of your gut. Without even meaning to, you can create judgements that obscure the truth, leading to misunderstands or even feelings of depression.

How can you learn to tell the difference between judgement and truth? One way is through the Time to Thrive program. Here, you will get to work with a supportive tribe who can offer a sounding board. With their help and mine, you will be able to re-analyze many of your past judgements and possibly even reconsider if that judgement might not have been the truth.

This is not easy work, I’m not going to lie. But it’s the kind of work that needs to be done if you want to thrive! If you’d like to learn more about the Time to Thrive program, you can visit here! I can’t wait for you to join our tribe!

The Difference Between Good Boundaries and Bad Boundaries

Establishing healthy boundaries is an important part of being, well, healthy!

Clear boundaries in both our lives and relationships are the key to success in both. Whether you are out on a date with a new person or taking on extra work to help out some of your teammates at work, it’s crucial that your boundaries are well defined and well inforced.

Unfortunately, boundaries are not always healthy. Sometimes, the boundaries we put up designed to prevent us from being hurt or facing rejection can backfire, inflicting real harm on our ability to thrive.

So, what are some good boundaries and what are some bad boundaries?

Read more

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FAMILY OF ORIGIN – Our Family Of Origin Plays A Huge Role In How We Turn Out As Adults.

There’s an old saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in many ways, this observation is true.  Our family of origin plays a huge role in how we turn out as adults. Take physical traits, for example.  Mom has dark hair and brown eyes; daughter will often have dark hair and brown eyes.  But when it comes to the way you interact with and relate to others, the emotional patterns set in place during childhood by your parents or other caregivers doesn’t  have to be the patterns you choose as an adult with your own family or relationships, particularly if they were painful, abusive, unresponsive, detached, judgmental, abusive, etc. Read more

Setting Boundaries

In any relationship, whether personal or professional, setting boundaries is vital. Your relationships will be healthier, …

Why It’s Important to See Beauty Everywhere

What is beauty?   You might think that’s an easy question to answer, but is it really? One thing to remember is …

The Power of Gratitude

Do you remember when you were very young and your grandmother would give you socks for the holidays? Sure, socks sound like …