Developing Empathic Boundaries

Developing Empathic Boundaries

Setting flexible boundaries in an often rigid world

In this live 2-hour workshop with Karla McLaren, M.Ed., you’ll learn many ways to create and define boundaries that make plenty of room for the deep interactions that empathy requires.

Many highly empathic people have difficulty setting and maintaining boundaries, and this difficulty tends to come from a misunderstanding of what boundaries are and what they can do.

Karla McLaren, M.Ed.

Many of us have been taught that boundaries should be rigid and wall-like, and this rigidity tends to reduce empathy (which is sometimes a good idea).

But healthy boundaries can also be living, flexible structures and agreements that shift and change with changing circumstances.

Rigid boundaries can be fine in some situations, but highly empathic people need boundaries that make room for the fluid and interactional ways they live in this often rigid and empathically challenging world.

Join Karla for an empathic exploration of boundaries that support empathy and deep interactions while protecting highly empathic people from overload.

What You’ll Learn

  • A definition of boundaries that embraces our human tendency to share emotions and co-regulate each other
  • Experiential practices to help you identify and feel into your own boundaries
  • Boundary-definition practices to help you create and define your own boundaries
  • An understanding of the boundary-defining emotions (anger and shame) and how they work to support and define you
  • A simple but powerful renegotiation process to help you reset and redefine your boundaries if they aren’t working well for you

Workshop Details

Length: 2 hours

Live Webinar: Saturday, September 28th, 2024 from 4pm to 6pm Pacific Time

Price: $45

Learning and Interaction Structure: We will meet and learn together using the Zoom video conferencing program. (Please download Zoom here for free if you don’t have it yet.)

This course is suitable for: Everyone who wants to develop fluid and responsive boundaries that include the needs of others rather than being entirely self-focused.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Everyone talks about boundaries in different (and confusing) ways. What are boundaries?

A: Boundaries are a big concept, and the confusion comes (in many instances) from not being clear about what type of boundaries we’re referring to. In this course, we’ll focus on the inner boundaries we create for ourselves in regard to what we value, and the outer boundaries we create between ourselves and the exterior world. Unlike many rigid definitions, these boundaries are often fluid and changeable, and they respond differently in the different situations we face.

Q. Can I set boundaries empathically? It doesn’t feel like I can right now.

A: Yes. And perhaps the reason it doesn’t feel possible is that boundaries and empathy have been presented to us as opposite things. They’re not! In this workshop we’ll explore new ways to bring these two concepts together so that we can have flexible, healthy, and fully empathic boundaries.

Q. Will we talk about people who don’t allow us to have boundaries?

A: Yes, lightly, because that’s something that may require individual support from a counselor. Sometimes, people don’t allow boundaries because they’ve never learned how they work. Some people don’t realize that boundaries are required for health and well-being, and they’re trying to relate with you in the only way they know how. In other instances, not allowing boundaries can be a form of control or abuse. Sometimes, it’s all of these things, and sometimes, the people may be responding to a lack of boundaries that they sense in you. It’s really important to know the entire story before you address this issue!

Q. Will this workshop be recorded?

A: No. This is a live, interactive conversation and experience, and we want to protect the privacy of the group and of each individual. If you can’t make the live workshop this time, this workshop will be offered again soon.

About the Instructor

Karla McLaren, M.Ed.

Karla McLaren is the author of The Art of Empathy and many other books, audio learning programs, and online courses. She is also the creator of Empathy Academy and Dynamic Emotional Integration® (DEI), and her lifelong work focuses on her development of her groundbreaking “grand unified theory of emotions” and her six essential aspects of empathy model.

Karla developed and teaches the DEI licensing program, and she’s a lead instructor in the Entering the Sacred River of Grief and Embracing Your Anxiety courses here at Empathy Academy.