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Boundaries and Personal Space

Quite often when I ask clients about their boundaries they look at me perplexed and ask what I mean. And I must admit that when I was younger I was probably similarly unaware of personal space and boundaries. I was aware however, that there were some people that I would have to take a step back from when they were talking to me as I just felt their energy was too close for comfort, and some people who left me feeling drained because they offloaded so much on to me, I had, at that point, no training in counselling or therapeutic work, so no way of dealing with this.

Since the pandemic, we have all been forced to be aware of social distancing, although I have noticed that many people still struggle with the 1.5 metre rule, especially in the supermarket!

Working with horses is excellent for bringing into awareness respect for boundaries and personal space. We learn that horses, like people, all have different boundaries or bubbles, and these can alter when they interact with different horses and humans.

Angela Dunning in her book "The Horse Leads the Way', talks of horses having physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries, and I feel that we humans are no different. Physical boundaries speak for themselves, how big is your bubble, and who do you allow into it? Are some allowed closer than others? Are you aware of others personal bubbles?

Emotional boundaries are about not allowing people to project their feelings onto you, or you projecting feelings onto others instead of acknowledging them and dealing with them. Clients sometimes worry more about the horse being affected by their big emotions, instead of delving into them and working through them.

Angela sees the spiritual boundaries of the horse being around whether the horse chooses to do the work with humans. Not all horses are suited to this work, I have no doubt that, although two very different personalities, Zen and Banjo love the work. Similarly it is a calling for those of us who choose to become counsellors or therapists, for me it was not a direct path, but a definite knowing when I found it that I had arrived at the place I was meant to be.

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