The field of social services inadvertently attracts people who are empathetic, benevolent and dedicated. To remain healthy and resilient in the chosen field of service requires that we remain within professional and personal ‘guidelines’ established by the organization we are employed with. Professional boundaries have been well researched and tried in the field for applicability, effectiveness and workability. However it is usually our personal boundaries, often times unidentified or unrecognized, that intersect with our professional boundaries and leave way for unhealthy practices and engagements with service recipients.


In this session we look at the reasons why professionals, including volunteers, challenge or even cross well described boundaries. We inquire personally why certain boundaries within a defined role are challenging to maintain, with an eye on developing an awareness of the feelings behind the reasons that direct our consequential actions. We also examine the differences between Sympathy and Empathy, as an internal response to a situation ‘in the field’.


TOpics include addressing such statements:

  • When is it not good to help?
  • I can't help it I have to do something, they have nobody but me.
  • I just can't say no, I don't know how to.
  • I can't stand to see them suffer.
  • I feel helpless that I can't do more.
  • I see myself in their shoes.
  • It is my duty before God to help in anyway I can.