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Boundary Styles

Personal boundaries are the limits and rules we set in a relationship to define what is acceptable, and what is not. Boundaries are influenced by our values and culture. Boundaries—which can be porous, healthy, or rigid—may differ from relationship to relationship.

The Boundary Styles worksheet is a one-page handout that describes differences between the three boundary types. For example, someone with porous boundaries lets almost anyone get close to them, while someone with rigid boundaries keeps almost everyone at a distance. By contrast, someone with healthy boundaries is selective about whom to let in and keep out.

This worksheet teaches clients about differences between boundary types, and can start a discussion on how to create healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow a person to form close, safe, and trusting relationships while remaining true to their own values and needs.

For more information on boundaries, check out the Setting Boundaries worksheet.

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1. Green, K. (2022). An exploration of setting healthy personal boundaries as a veterinary professional–part 1: at work and beyond. Companion Animal, 27(6), 96-101.

2. King, M. E. (2016). Family Boundaries. Encyclopedia of Family Studies, 1-3.

3. Schutt, M. K. (2020). This World is Exhausting, don’t Let it Exhaust You: Setting Emotional Boundaries to Prevent Fatigue.

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