Book Review: Where to Draw the Line – How to Set Healthy Boundaries

Book Review Setting Boundaries

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How do you set healthy boundaries?

I just finished reading Anne Katherine’s book Where To Draw The Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day.


As the title states, it is a guide to setting healthy boundaries in many different kinds of situations. Katherine does an excellent job of explaining what boundaries are. Her definition rings true for me: “A boundary is a limit that promotes integrity…. By the limits you set, you protect the integrity of your day, your energy and spirit, the health of your relationships, the pursuits of your heart.” Her examples are very clear, which is essential on the topic of boundaries. I especially like the first half of the book that deals with defensiveness.


Understanding different types of boundaries

Book Review: Where to Draw the LineThe second half of the book gave a brief overview of boundaries in a variety of situations (holidays, possessions, parents, dress, etc). Some I found relevant and some I did not. But one can easily skip chapters that don’t apply to them. I would have preferred she went deeper on fewer types of boundary issues. For example, she devoted only 3 pages to boundaries in divorce. I’m sure one could write an entire book on that subject. So, be aware that she only taps the surface of boundaries in each particular area.


The other criticism that I have, is there isn’t any attention paid to compassion in boundaries. In my experience, many people who struggle to set boundaries, do so because they care so much, want to help to a fault, and feel guilty if they don’t. This book doesn’t address how to overcome guilt or other barriers to setting boundaries. At times, the examples and dialogue are a bit stiff and would feel more natural if a bit of compassion was added to soften the boundary. Sometimes, simply adding a “please” or “I know how hard this is for you too” can make it easier to set a boundary.

Overall, I think this book does a good job as an introduction to boundaries. I’m happy to recommend this book to anyone struggling with boundaries. I think you’ll find it helpful, reassuring, and straight forward.



Be sure to check out my book, as well! Setting Boundaries Without Guilt is available for immediate download.


Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in Northern California, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.