Elizabeth McCormack talks about boundaries for your life!
Boundary expert, Elizabeth McCormack’s, journey to becoming a therapist began in the Midwest. She grew up in Illinois and graduated from high school in Bloomington, just a couple of hours outside of Chicago.
After high school, Elizabeth attended Hanover College in southern Indiana. As a Presbyterian, she was drawn to the college’s religious affiliation. During her four years at Hanover, Elizabeth developed a passion for understanding and helping others. This passion led her to pursue a career in therapy.
In 2001, Elizabeth enrolled in graduate school at the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in Kentucky. It was there that she met Megan, who would later become her close friend and colleague. The two formed a bond that has lasted over 20 years.
Throughout her journey, Elizabeth has lived in various places, including Austin, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona. These experiences exposed her to different cultures and perspectives, further shaping her understanding of human behavior and the importance of mental health.
Elizabeth’s desire to help people problem solve and listen to their problems all day led her to become a therapist. She finds fulfillment in guiding individuals through their challenges and helping them find solutions. Elizabeth’s empathetic nature and ability to create a safe space for her clients make her an excellent therapist.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for Elizabeth to expand her practice. With the ability to renew licenses in multiple states, she now sees clients both in Florida, where she currently resides, and in Kentucky. Elizabeth’s familiarity with both areas makes her a valuable option for clients who may relocate from the Midwest to Florida.
As a therapist, Elizabeth understands the importance of following the rules and laws governing her profession. While state lines may currently limit her ability to see clients in certain locations, she remains hopeful that these restrictions will be resolved in the future. Elizabeth believes that the future holds a more inclusive and accessible approach to therapy.
Boundaries are important for self-care.
One key aspect of Elizabeth’s approach to therapy is her emphasis on boundaries. She believes that boundaries are essential for self-care and maintaining emotional well-being. This belief is rooted in her own experiences and observations of the world around her.
Elizabeth recognizes that we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with external influences and the emotions of others. It can be easy to absorb these feelings and allow them to dictate our own behavior. Elizabeth firmly believes that our job is not to fix the emotions of others, but rather to be in control of our own.
For Elizabeth, boundaries serve as a protective barrier against the negative emotions and energy that can be draining and detrimental to our own well-being. By setting boundaries, we can create a space where we prioritize our own emotions and needs, rather than being at the mercy of external factors.
One way Elizabeth teaches this concept to her clients is through the metaphor of Spongebob. She explains that just like Spongebob, we shouldn’t be “sponges” that absorb the feelings of everyone around us. Instead, we should focus on paying attention to our own emotions and taking care of ourselves.
This emphasis on boundaries is not limited to individuals, but also extends to relationships. Elizabeth believes that healthy relationships are built on clear and respectful boundaries. By establishing and maintaining boundaries, we can create a space where both parties feel safe and respected. This allows for open and honest communication, fostering deeper connections and understanding.
Elizabeth’s training at the Presbyterian Seminary further reinforced her belief in the importance of relationships and boundaries. She recognizes that relationships are not just about our interactions with others, but also the relationship we have with ourselves and with a higher power. By setting boundaries, we can navigate these relationships in a healthy and balanced way.
Stay in control of yourself.
Elizabeth discusses the importance of staying in control of oneself. She uses examples such as driving in traffic and parenting to illustrate how maintaining emotional boundaries can lead to healthier relationships and overall well-being.
One of the first examples Elizabeth mentions is observing people who try to zip through traffic, disregarding others and showing that they are in more of a hurry. She suggests that instead of getting caught up in their behavior and trying to override them, it is important to focus on what is in our own lane. This means taking care of ourselves and being aware of the emotional state of others around us. By staying in control of our own emotions, we can provide empathy and compassion without absorbing the emotions of others. This approach is more helpful and allows us to be good listeners rather than getting overwhelmed ourselves.
Elizabeth also applies this concept to parenting. She highlights the importance of letting children experience their own emotions, even if they are tough or overwhelming. Instead of getting overwhelmed with them, she suggests that parents should stay calm and provide support and understanding. By staying in control of their own emotions, parents can create a safe space for their children to express themselves and process their feelings. This approach allows children to learn how to handle their emotions and develop resilience.
The idea of staying in control of oneself is not limited to driving or parenting. Elizabeth also mentions how therapists practice this concept in their work. Therapists do not join their clients in their emotional state but instead stay in their own lane and provide a safe space for clients to explore their emotions. This approach allows therapists to offer guidance and tools for clients to handle life stressors effectively.
The key message throughout the podcast is that staying in control of oneself is essential for maintaining healthy relationships and emotional well-being. By setting and maintaining boundaries, individuals can prioritize their own needs and protect their emotional state. This allows for more effective communication, empathy, and understanding in relationships. It also enables individuals to navigate challenging situations with a greater sense of control and agency.
If you want to hear more about how boundaries would be beneficial in your life, make sure to check out Season 2, Episode 5 of Shift Our Shit!