Sometimes I feel like I should have named my practice “Containers”. As a Capricorn I have a good relationship with Saturn which is all about containment. Sometimes we call them boundaries.  So today I want to talk about why I focus so much on boundaries and why boundaries are healthy.

But I like to think about it as more like the glass that holds your drinking water, the pot that you cook in, the alchemical vessel, and your own womb. It doesn’t have to be a physical womb for those who have had a hysterectomy. It is more about a feminine holding that is the archetype of containment. There are so many things in life, and they require a flexible but firm hold on something. If you hold too tight you wind up hurting yourself. However, if you don’t hold on to it at all things fall out of your grasp and can even take you off your balance.

Healthy Boundaries in Counselingimages of containment and holding such as a ceramic pot, a womb, and holding hands

A lot of the work done in therapy is about containment it’s about creating the safe container for you to have your emotions and for you to be able to work through the difficult ones like in the case of depression. It’s not the overly tight hold that strangles and it’s not the overly permissive parent that spoils the child by not teaching the necessary tension of self-discipline. Holding this tension is described in Angela Duckworth’s book grit. It’s about the tension between the patience needed to create something and that expansive push forward; it’s a push pull.

Manifesting anything new requires a container for it to form in. It also requires time another aspect of Saturn.  Structures aren’t bad but it’s hard to form anything without structure.

Why Boundaries are Important in Recovery

Boundary settings become necessary to make changes in your life whether that is about changing habits, recovery from addiction, or setting boundaries in relationships to have healthy relationships.  For example, with attachment trauma, often somebody has lived in a chaotic environment with no containment.  It unconsciously feels natural to have no containment and feels too tight if you’ve never experienced it before.  Therefore, it can be scary to show up over and over again in therapy to tend to that alchemical vessel.  This manifests in their life as continued chaos in their relationships.

Over the long haul though, getting used to a new type of containment in your life becomes the cauldron that is the vessel for rebirth.  Therapeutic containment can realign you with your own body autonomy, your feelings, and transform your symptoms.  Therapeutic containment changes how you set boundaries with others in your life.  You may even find that your boundary setting fell apart internally, and that you were spilling out your own integrity rather than it being about someone outside of you.  Boundary setting is hard in relationships and just in general.  It can feel restricting, cramping, and well, not fun. But in the long run, setting boundaries can be a healthy way to build your new life with health, sense of autonomy, and integrity.