Contact Boundary and Serenity Prayer

Grab a piece of paper.  Write “Not Me” on it.

The world existed before you did.

[ The serenity to accept the things I cannot change ]

Now write “Me” on the paper.

You have arrived with the world.

[ The courage to change the things I can ]

Now draw a circle around “Me” in order to distinguish between “Me” and “Not Me.”

[ And the wisdom to know the difference ]

This “wisdom to know the difference” is, in gestalt terms, the ‘contact boundary.’  It is the line that distinguishes You from The World. If you wouldn’t have drawn the circle, how would you know where one ends and one begins? The clarity, function, and effectiveness of that ‘line’ is the difference between feeling powerful and feeling helpless, between feeling peaceful and feeling deep chaos.  What can you control? What is yours?  What belongs to other people?  What are the laws of the universe? What can you control?

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About Kip Watkins, MSEd, NCC, LPC

Kip is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Saint Vincent College and his Master's Degree from Duquesne University. Passionate about existential and systemic modes of therapy, he completed the post-graduate program at the Gestalt Institute of Pittsburgh. He deeply enjoys his work with his clients and he also loves helping other clinicians have more meaning and joy in their work.