Benjamin Shields: Boundary Management: How to Transform Pleasing Personality | Bouncing Back #19

In this episode, host Tia Harmer is joined by Benjamin Shields, a clinical psychologist with 16 years of experience, and a board-approved supervisor.

Setting boundaries is more than just saying “no.” It is also crucial for self-care and forming positive relationships. So, if you’ve been struggling with setting clear boundaries, this episode with Benjamin Shields will guide you.

Meet Benjamin Shields

Benjamin Shields is a clinical psychologist with 16 years of experience. He has his own practice, Spencer Street Psychology, in Melbourne, Australia, and is a board-approved supervisor. 

He works with a range of conditions, including low mood and depression, anxiety, and responses to traumatic events, including single events and trauma and neglect that occurred in childhood. 

Also, he has special interests in the ways that the nervous system and mind interact, using top-down and bottom-up approaches to treatment. He is researching several brain networks involved in post-traumatic stress disorder, sense of self, and neurofeedback to help people to recover from traumatic experiences.

Other topics he has been able to talk about include post-traumatic stress disorder, early trauma, how core beliefs influence one’s life, worry and rumination, and depression.

About the episode

This episode, hosted by Tia Harmer with guest Benjamin, started when the latter defined boundary management. According to him, it involves effectively establishing and maintaining personal boundaries in various aspects of life and encompasses the ability to set limits, say ‘no’ when necessary, and prioritize one’s own well-being.

He also talked about resilience, which is often misunderstood as being immune to stress or displaying no emotions. However, boundary management emphasizes the significance of maintaining healthy emotional responses and practicing self-care, and it recognizes that resilience does not entail invincibility but rather involves being adaptable, flexible, and capable of bouncing back from challenges.

Moreover, Ben said that boundary management refers to the concept of setting limits or edges for oneself and understanding how those boundaries interact with others. It involves maintaining personal boundaries and managing them in both directions: internally within oneself and externally with others.

On the other hand, he mentioned that people with pleasing personalities might struggle with boundary management and face difficulties such as vulnerability to exploitation, burnout from constantly prioritizing others’ needs, and internal conflicts between their giving nature and other parts of themselves. These challenges can lead to changes in relationships and a shift in one’s orientation toward oneself and others.

Ben also shared some practical tips for building boundary management skills. One aspect of his practice involves being able to detect when something doesn’t feel right or when there’s a strain on his boundaries. Then he acknowledges that self-awareness is crucial to understanding his own feelings and the challenges he faces in relation to boundaries.

In conclusion

Good boundary management is essential for personal resilience as it helps protect individuals from stress, maintain social support, and develop a stronger sense of self. 

However, practicing boundary management is an ongoing process and is not always perfect. Learning to say ‘no’ is an important aspect of boundary management, as it allows individuals to establish and communicate their needs and preferences.

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