Frail elderly person in wheelchair with caregiver

3. Being with’ and ‘ways of being’: Boundaries and the Family Dance

The "family dance" is an easy-to-use model for understanding the role of therapeutic boundaries in caregiving relationships.

Using this model and the captivating podcasts from Elizabeth Causton you will learn how to develop your therapeutic boundaries, how to identify unclear boundaries and ways to maintain boundaries when providing care. Understand the challenges of providing care in a smaller community, when you may be a friend/family member as well as the member of the health care team. Learn practical skills and phrases for working with boundaries and providing compassionate care.


Course Overview

Understand the benefits of therapeutic boundaries for PSWs providing palliative and end-of-life care. Through the model of the family dance, learn to recognize when boundaries are not clear and develop skills to maintain healthy boundaries. Learners will benefit from practical strategies for working in smaller Indigenous communities in a dual role, and will understand why boundaries are essential when working with team. Learn how PSWs may be the first to know about changes to a person's advance care plans, and how they can best collaborate with team by advocating for the person's wishes. 


Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Define “therapeutic boundaries” and identify the benefits of maintaining therapeutic boundaries.
  • Explain the metaphor of the “family dance” in terms of therapeutic boundaries, crossing, signs, and hooks.
  • Explain how to maintain therapeutic boundaries and recognize signs that indicate boundaries are clear.
  • Describe strategies for maintaining therapeutic boundaries when working in health care and working in small communities.
  • Identify phrases to use that explain your relationship with the person and family.
  • Explain the PSW's role on team and why boundaries are essential when working on team.
  • Describe strategies for collaborating with team.



In this course you will need:

  1. Access to a printer for course documents
  2. A writing journal or notebook for writing reflections and course notes.
  3. Recommended internet browser: Google Chrome 



Individual course certificates of completion can be downloaded from the MY COURSES page after passing the quiz with a grade of 70% or higher.


Quiz Completion

If you cannot submit your completed quiz for grading, it is possible that you may not have opened every slide and allowed the time line to complete. To correct this issue, return to the modules and check or play every slide to the end of the timeline. 


Module 1: Learning Outcomes and Reflective Activity

Understand the learning outcomes for this course and begin learning in a reflective activity on boundaries.

This module provides learning outcomes regarding therapeutic boundaries and begins with a reflective activity. 

Included in this module is a review of the course tools and downloadable version of the learning outcomes. 


Module 2 The Family Dance

The metaphor of "the family dance" is explained as a way to understand how family member interact. Understanding the role of the family dance can help caregivers to maintain their boundaries.

We're excited to introduce this course, that begins with "the family dance" as a way to understand how family member interact. Understanding the role of the family dance can help caregivers to maintain their boundaries. The family dance is a concept developed by Elizabeth Causton, a social worker and palliative care response team counsellor with Victoria Hospice. She lends her expertise and experience to this course to help students understand and develop therapeutic boundaries that will benefit themselves and the people they are providing care for.

Module 3 The Essential Role of Therapeutic Boundaries

Learn why therapeutic boundaries are essential for care providers and how they benefit the person and family you are providing care for, as well as yourself.

In Module 3, you'll learn why therapeutic boundaries are essential and why they are beneficial for care providers, and the people they provide care for. Maintaining boundaries helps you to be resilient to the stress of caring for people, saying hello and then saying goodbye time and time again.

Learn about boundaries and why they are good for everyone!

Module 4 Strategies for Maintaining Therapeutic Boundaries

Develop strategies for maintaining your boundaries and ways to know when your boundaries are clear, and not clear.

This module identifies ways to know if your boundaries are clear, and when they are not clear. Learn ways to maintain boundaries and to avoid 'hooks' which can make boundaries vanish!

Module 5 Strategies for Providing Care in Small Communities and for Collaborating with Team

Learn practical ways to address the specific challenges of providing palliative care in small communities, and strategies for collaborating with team.

Maintaining boundaries when working in small communities and when collaborating with team can be challenging. Learn ways to navigate the dual caregiver role, and how best to collaborate with team when providing palliative care.

Module 6 Course Quiz

Welcome to the final module for this course.

Requirements: 70% or greater to pass the course.

3 opportunities to pass the quiz.

The answer key is shown only after you have passed the quiz.

Check here before starting the quiz

Have you viewed, or clicked on all slides of all modules?

If you have missed any slides, the quiz will NOT be graded.

You will know you have missed slides if you submit the quiz for grading, and you do not get a grade for it within minutes.


How to fix this

  1. Go back into the modules, select "Menu" in the top left (red circle in image below). This view displays all the slides in the module. 
  2. A viewed slide will have a check mark beside it (Red arrows are pointing at the check marks).
  3. If a slide does not have a check mark beside it, click the title to set it as viewed. A check mark will appear.
  4. Repeat this process for all modules of the course.
  5. When finished, open the quiz module. You will now be able to submit the quiz for grading.

Good luck!