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Pittsburgh Counseling Alliance

   Setting solid boundaries with family members, significant others, coworkers and friends is a critical aspect of mental health. Communication goes hand in hand with the concept of boundaries. When our expectations are reasonable, we can be assertive in the way we communicate. We don’t need to take on guilt for having reasonable expectations, a pitfall that many of us experience when we allow others to manipulate. Being passive until things boil over and then feeling as though we need to apologize even though we weren’t wrong in the first place is another misguided strategy in our interpersonal relationships.

   Improving these things can lead to reductions in stress and anxiety levels and higher self-esteem. Making these abstract concepts more concrete is a part of what I like to think of as “emotional self-defense.” Being assertive and having boundaries is not the same thing as being unreasonable or being aggressive.

   My strength as a psychotherapist is in helping you articulate your thoughts and feelings as well as solutions to any problems you may be experiencing. This point of view assumes that the therapist is not an expert on the person seeking help, but an assistant on the journey of self-discovery.

Brandon Graf, LPC

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