Brian Collinson

Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Jungian Psychotherapy & Setting Boundaries at Work

August 18th, 2009 · Identity, Individuation, inner life, Jungian, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy

setting boundaries at work This week I spoke with a very large number of people who are confronting serious issues around setting boundaries at work.  I don’t mean facing boundaries issues like sexual harassment, or things like that — although that’s common enough, unfortunately.  I mean situations where people are being asked, or more often told, to put up with working arrangements that take working life right inside their private lives.

Often these situations have to do with expectations around availability that completely obliterate the distinction between personal and private life. For instance, it seems that more and more people are expected to carry Blackberrys or pagers and to keep them on 24 / 7.

If you look on the web amongst thinkers who are identified as “advanced thinkers” or “those ahead of the curve”, you may find justifications being put forward for this kind of thing.  You can find people saying that the division between personal and work life is obsolete.  That in the new era, people don’t need to make that kind of a distinction anymore.

Maybe that explains the man I saw today on a hiking trail.  He was talking animatedly on his cell phone, and completely ignoring his wife and children.  The wife and kids didn’t look too happy about it, but he didn’t even seem to notice.

The plain fact of the matter is that work is a fluid, like a gas.  It will expand to fill the space you give it.  If you don’t want it to take everything — including your soul — you have to establish boundaries.  If you don’t have boundaries around your working life, you either are — or are in great danger of — becoming a workaholic.

You cannot possibly find your own individual path if you don’t spend some time with yourself, alone, exploring yourself.  That’s the only way to really, truly see yourself.  If a person keeps letting work have more and more of themselves, they run the risk that soon there won’t be anything left inside of them but work.

Here are some very concrete actions that you might think about to establish your boundaries in the workplace:

1.  Cut the Electronic Tentacles

Think carefully about how you might keep some of yourself and your privacy free from electronic intrusion.  You might want to cut out answering your cell phone or Blackberry during meals. Maybe you need to free up specific blocks of “me” on the weekends when you’re “electronically unavailable”.  Consider keeping computers laptops and Blackberrys out of your bedroom, the family room and the dining room.

2.  Priorize…For Real! 

This can be a very important skill: developing the ability to decide what’s most important — and just accepting that there is less time than tasks that demand to be done.

3.  Get Real About Your To-Do List — And Make Sure that Your Needs Are On It

The endless to-do list isn’t an efficiency tool — it’s a tyrant.  Decide on a small, reasonable number of things to put on the list.  Make sure that your own needs for growth and for fun don’t get left off the list.

 4.  Take a Very Hard Look at Your Own Motivations 

It’s easy to blame an employer for letting work take over my life.  Oftentimes, employers do overload their employees, particularly in hard economic times.  However, there may be motivations that I have, and parts of my personality that help ensure that I’m continually behind the 8 ball.  Do I have an identity other than my role at work?  Do I use work to avoid facing things and relationships in my life?  Do I face overwhelming anxiety when I don’t work?  Do I regard my over-busyness as a badge of status? It may be very important to address these kinds of issue with a therapist, and as soon as possible.

 I’d be interested in your comments about the challenges you face in keeping boundaries intact in your life — and the solutions that you may have worked out.  

 My very best wishes to you on your individual journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson

Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca 

Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

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© 2009 Brian Collinson    

 

 

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Depth Psychotherapy: Can I Get a Witness?

August 9th, 2009 · depth psychotherapy, Identity, Individuation, inner life, Jungian analysis, listening, Psychotherapy

Witness for Vibrant Jung Blog

Some of you will recognize this phrase from R and B music; some of you may recognize it as a phrase used in the black church; but, it has an awful lot to do with depth psychotherapy!

A lot of people come into therapy because they need someone else to simply see and acknowledge the reality of their lives.  This is a very basic human need.  We all need someone, at some point, to see us, really see us, the way that we actually are, rather than the way that we might seem in all our social roles, and amidst all the pressures that we find in our lives to be what it is that others want us to be.

To have someone to whom we can actually tell our story.  Just as importantly, maybe more importantly, to tell our story with someone to witness it…  To finally have the chance to do that can be one of the most important and precious things in human life.  I certainly know that is the gift that my therapists gave to me.  I know that it is a precious thing for many who come into therapy.

I invite you to tell your story, to someone who really knows how to listen and who is not burdened with a lot of preconceptions about who you are.  You way well surprise yourself with who it is that you really are!

 

I’d be interested in your comments about the times in your life when you have felt really seen, heard … witnessed.  

 

My very best wishes to you on your individual journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson

Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca 

Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

Get “Vibrant Jung Thing” posts delivered to your email using the “FeedBurner” box in the left column!

PHOTO CREDITS:  © Nyul | Dreamstime.com 

© 2009 Brian Collinson    

 

 

 

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