Category Archives: Mental Health Seminars and Trainings

Staying Firm in Establishing Boundaries

Posted December 16, 2021

A stern young woman holds her hand out to stop someone and stays firm in her boundaries

We’re taught an array of practical life skills from childhood, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and driving. Rarely, though, are kids taught the skills of emotional regulation that help you build healthy relationships and protect your mental health. As you get older, the importance of these skills only becomes more apparent, but building them isn’t an easy task. How do you get better at assertion and self-confidence? Establishing healthy boundaries is one of the most important abilities a person can have. Learn how to develop this essential life skill and improve your mental wellbeing in the process in Apple Valley, MN.

How to Establish Boundaries

In psychology, a boundary is defined as an imaginary line marking a person’s limits. Establishing boundaries is a complex process. Though it happens in the context of communication with another person, it starts with you. Before you can set a boundary, you need to engage in honest introspection to determine its significance. Ask yourself questions such as the following:

  • How do I define this boundary for myself and others?
  • Why is it important for me to maintain this boundary?
  • How will I enforce this boundary in interactions with others?

Asking yourself questions such as these is the first step towards healthy and sustainable boundaries. There are many different areas of your life that you can and should set boundaries in. Some examples include:

  • Personal space
  • Emotions and ideas
  • Personal belongings
  • Sexual situations
  • Emotional and physical energy
  • Time-sensitive commitments
  • Cultural and religious issues

Each of these areas is a part of your life that you may handle differently than others do — and these differences can lead to interactions that feel disrespectful or violating if you don’t set clear boundaries with people.

Establishing boundaries offers a range of benefits to both you and those on the other side. One of the best benefits is the increase in self-esteem that often follows. Creating a boundary is a way of investing in yourself and preventing situations that may cause stress or harm. Boundaries also benefit relationships by establishing a line of communication between yourself and your partner. It also encourages those around you to be clear in their boundaries, thus creating an environment of mutual respect and open communication.

How to Set Boundaries

Once you’ve identified and established a boundary that’s important to you, maintaining it can be another separate challenge. Simply establishing your boundaries often isn’t enough. You will likely need to remind those around you about them, too. This can be difficult if you’ve never had a conversation about boundaries before, but it’s an important step in protecting your wellbeing. Maintaining boundaries requires that you be assertive, understanding, and communicative with the people who surround you.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to practice self-advocacy. Self-advocacy entails taking responsibility for your communication with others, voicing your concerns, and listening to others’ feedback. Most importantly, though, it is the explicit expression of your needs. If you are engaged in a project with somebody, for example, and they tell you that it will require a longer time commitment than you initially agreed to, this is an opportunity to practice self-advocacy. Keep the following principles in mind while doing so:

  • Be assertive without being aggressive
  • Be clear and direct when you state your needs
  • Do not feel pressured to justify your boundaries
  • Present with confidence and calmness

Maintaining your boundaries may take practice, but it’s a worthwhile exercise. Remember, too, that people cannot read your mind — so if you do not make your boundaries known, the people around you may unknowingly violate them. This can lead to resentment and the breakdown of a relationship, so It’s vital to make your needs known before your boundaries become a source of conflict.

When to Push Back When People Disregard My Boundaries

Unfortunately, people will resist your boundaries, even if you convey them with respect and clarity. People do this for many reasons, but the result is the same regardless of the motive — you will find yourself at a crossroads. You will either fold to avoid confrontation, or you will need to find a way to reassert your boundaries. Neither of these options is easy, but it’s a situation you are likely to find yourself in if you are committed to setting boundaries with people.

Determining when to push back can be a complicated issue, though. If a friend asks you to stay five minutes longer than you’d planned to help finish a task, is this a violation of boundaries that’s worth acknowledging? The answer depends on the firmness of your boundaries. Sometimes it’s okay to maintain soft boundaries that are flexible based on the situation you’re in. Other times, you need to be firm for the sake of your safety and wellbeing. Determining the rigidity of your boundaries is essential to effectively enforcing them.

When you have rigid boundaries, and you encounter a person who continuously violates them, even after you’ve made your needs known, you can employ any of the following strategies:

  • Minimize the amount of time spent around that person
  • Avoid conversations and interactions with them
  • Hold them accountable by seeking support from others
  • Do not escalate the situation with emotional responses

No matter which approach you use, you should be clear with the person and communicate the consequences that will follow if they continue violating your boundaries. Still, some people are unable or unwilling to respect boundaries, no matter how clearly you state them. When dealing with people like this, you may have to find a way to remove them from your life.

Mental Health Support That Works

Establishing clear boundaries takes work, but you don’t have to do that work alone. Partnering with a mental health professional can help you develop the tools and confidence you need to protect your wellbeing more effectively. Mental Health Systems has been serving clients throughout Apple Valley, MN, since its founding in 2002. We offer dialectical behavioral therapy to help you overcome life’s challenges. Call us at (952) 835-2002 or schedule an appointment online.

Image Source: Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock

5 Things to Think About When Working With Integrated Dual Disorder Clients

Posted October 19, 2017
  1. A basic truth of behavioral health interventions is that no two clients are alike.
    It is important to remember this as we do our work and it is especially vital to keep in mind with the complication of two significant behavioral disorders. How a client’s chemical health and mental health issues interact, impact daily functioning, affect willingness and even abilities to participate in therapy, is a very individual thing.
  2. Another basic truth is that for all clients, ‘perception is reality.’
    This is important in IDD treatment since mental health symptoms and chemical use (and the effects of long-term use) have real consequences for how a client might perceive their world.
  3. A harsh truth of therapy is that change is difficult, time consuming, and at times, difficult to notice.
    For IDD clients, there can be a significantly higher degree of difficulty paired with a lower level of skills. This can make the process even harder, longer, and more difficult to experience a sense of success.
  4. Acceptance and support are key additive factors to success in therapy.
    IDD clients tend to have heavily damaged, if not absent, systems of support and acceptance.
    There is a drive from payers to identify the primary diagnosis as the target for treatment.
  5. IDD clients have two significant primary diagnoses in all cases, and the majority have significant issues across what used to be the five axis’ of diagnosis. We have to attend to all significant issues.
    ~Steven Girardeau, PsyD, LP, Director of Clinical Services at MHS

MHS welcomes new practicum students and interns…our biggest training group yet!

Posted September 8, 2015

MHS is proud to welcome our largest group of social work, counseling, and psychology practicum students and interns this fall. Committed to excellence in training, MHS is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and has both new and longstanding relationships with Minnesota universities. While our goal is to provide a rich and diverse training environment for future therapy professionals, we find that practicum students and interns in turn enrich our therapists and improve our client services.

To explain, we have compiled the Top 5 Reasons Why Being a Training Center Improves Client Care:

1. Training brings increased energy and focus to providing top notch client care. With each fresh group of trainees all of our therapists recalibrate on what it meets to be a professional role model and mentor…making our therapists more effective!
2. Mentoring and supervising practicum students and interns keeps licensed therapists up-to-date with best practices and constantly growing in their occupation. Trainees have been taught the latest developments in therapy and come ready to ask questions and apply their knowledge. Our tenured therapists grow by meeting the challenges of developing the next generation of therapists.
3. Each new training cycle brings with it new growth and regeneration of MHS’ values and commitment to clients and excellence in programming. Training centers can never stagnate, but must constantly improve training and client services to stay relevant and effective. Many times our trainees have taken lead roles in developing new services and programs, such as our innovative Thrive Program.
4. Trainees add to our therapists’ job satisfaction and decrease burnout by providing energy and enrichment opportunities for our therapists. Happier therapists who enjoy their work can deliver more to our clients!
5. Practicum students and interns often become future MHS employees. Over 80% of our therapists have had training experiences with MHS, creating a therapeutic team centered on the same values and pulling in the same direction…the lifeblood of a strong organization.

MHS is grateful to embark on a new year of training with our practicum students and interns…the future of our field!

5 Tips to Reduce Stress

Posted September 8, 2015

Expert therapist, speaker, and mindfulness author Dr. Richard Sears generously shared a straightforward explanation of Mindfulness along with 5 useful tips that can positively change your relationship to stress and crisis. If you find yourself caught in judgments, losing perspective, or just struggling to manage everyday life, this video is worth your time. Click HERE to view.

For therapists who want to learn the essentials of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, register now for Dr. Sears upcoming two day seminar.

Fun Fact: Dr. Sears is a fifth degree black belt in Ninjutsu (receiving the warrior name Watoshi) and once served as a personal protection agent for the Dalai Lama of Tibet!

Dr. Pederson with PrairieCare Education Series (PES) May 7th, 2015

Posted May 6, 2015

Lane Pederson, PsyD, LP, DBTC will speak on Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Adolescents: DBT Principals, Skills, and Techniques in Practice as part of the PrairieCare Education Series (PES).

WHEN: 5/7/15 from 9am to Noon

WHERE: Mount Zion Synagogue in St. Paul

3 CE credits and breakfast for $20 cash or check at the door.

Click HERE to register.

Join Dr. Lane Pederson May 4th to learn about use of DBT for Co-Occurring Mental & Chemical Health Issues

Posted March 26, 2015

Lane IDD Book CoverDr. Pederson will present on the application of DBT to use with clients with mental and chemical health concerns later this spring.  This training will provide 6 CE hours, continental breakfast, and a free copy of DBT Skills Training For Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment Settings (a $29.99 value).  Click HERE to learn more about Integrated Dual Disorder DBT at MHS.



Dr. Steve Girardeau & Dr. Lane Pederson Present during Hazelden’s Clinical Connection April Sessions

Posted March 26, 2015

You are invited to join other health care professionals for a free forum to network, share, and discuss current hot topics. Hear from experts about new trends, research, and proven methodologies that are at the forefront of treating substance use and mental health disorders. Throughout April, Dr. Steve Girardeau and Dr. Lane Pederson, from MHS, will facilitate training and discussion around all-things DBT hosted by Hazelden.  For more information, click HERE!

MHS will attend MPA 2015 Annual Conference

Posted March 26, 2015

Be sure to stop by our booth during this year’s MN Psychological Association 2015 Conference.  Join us Friday and Saturday, March 27th and 28th, to explore Pathways Through the Times of Change.  Visit the MPA website for additional information  We look forward to connecting and learning with you!