Obviously, in the field of counseling we need to be at our best. What happens when we are not at our best? We don't make great decisions and can cross boundaries. Think of nurses, doctors, priests, counselors etc- who are really run down, then try to keep good boundaries. It takes a good deal of energy to maintain boundaries, even on a good day.
The training emphasized that we all need to take better care of ourselves on a regular basis, but when we do not, we are more likely to make decisions that get us into trouble. From good food and exercise, to regular supervision and a good night's sleep, we all have room for improvement. We are also modeling for our clients how to take good care of ourselves. We owe it to them to be in good shape.
One part of the training highlighted Dr. Melfi from The Sopranos (never seen it) TV show. She was being chased by the Mafia at one point, and was unhinged, crossing many boundaries at once, fearing for her life. Sounds like it made for good TV.
What was fascinating to me, was listening to the other counselors in the training from many different disciplines (Psychology, Marriage and Family, Social Work and Psychiatry) and counseling orientations, different states within the USA pick apart Dr. Melfi. (They had done the training awhile back and I was listening to a rebroadcast.) There were some really easy things to say she did wrong, some were a bit gray and some were just that she was doing marriage counseling from a psychodynamic perspective. Counseling is very tough ethically, from how we greet people we may know in a public place to advice we are asked for in a social setting, like a party. We absolutely need to stay on our toes to be of best benefit.
There is tremendous benefit from opening yourself up and having other people look at how you are practicing, give their feedback and ideas and yet it can be a bit intimidating. There is always room for improvement, no matter how long you have been doing it and how much training you have received. Let's all take better care of ourselves, too.