Boy giving woman a giftThis week we are going to focus on exercises that prompt discussions of boundaries. Our work is so complex that no boundary policy can cover the many boundary decisions that come up. The message here is that when you are facing a decision about boundaries, talk about it with someone, your supervisor or your team. Having these discussions in advance will help staff be alert to situations that they need to think twice about and talk with others about.


Excercise One:

Jonathan is a particularly good staff, thoughtful and caring towards the children, well respected by other staff. Unfortunately he is now leaving the agency to attend graduate school in another state. He is having a hard time thinking about saying good bye, especially to a certain child Monica. Jonathan is aware that his leaving comes at a very difficult time for her, as Monica has just learned that she will not be able to be discharged to her family and will have to go to a group home.

  1. What are some of the boundary questions that might arise as Jonathan prepares to leave?
  2. How should Jonathan resolve these questions?

Exercise Two:

What do you think the staff member should do in each of these situations?

  1. Margaret is a teacher, and one of her students, Rachel, is having an especially hard time as her mother has disappeared and no one knows where she is. Margaret plans to come in and take Rachel to lunch this Saturday to help her through this.
  2. Danny’s mother, Darleen, felt that his teammate Seth was particularly kind and sensitive to her during a recent episode when Danny ran away and was missing overnight. She brings Seth a $30 gift certificate to a local restaurant as a thank you.
  3. Doug, a staff member, recently bought his son some new expensive sneakers, and his son wore them once and didn’t like them. It is too late to return them, but he knows that Jarell is just the same shoe size as his son so he brings the sneakers in for Jarell.
  4. Sarah is a therapist and is seeing Anita’s family. They can’t concentrate on their issues with Anita because, they tell her, they do not have any food in the house and do not know where to get any for that night. Sarah wonders if she should just give them $20.
  5. Melissa, a program resident, approaches Juanita, a part-time third-shift staff member. Melissa says that Juanita is the only staff who understands her, the only one she can talk to. She has an important secret she must talk with someone about, but first Juanita must promise not to tell any of the other team members.

Discuss as a team.

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