Dr Wendy’s Blog

Helpful and informative posts to add to the lives of my readers

Dr Wendy’s Blog

Through Dr Wendy’s blog I aim to provide helpful and informative posts that add to the personal and professional lives of my readers.

With over 30 years as a health professional (clinical, education and research), I have a strong interest in better education and training for all people working with people. I’m passionate about things like Professional Boundaries, Nursing, Training, Professional Supervision, links between childhood trauma and mental illness and workplace bullying. I’ve been training in Psychodrama for over 20 years  – some might say a life-long learning – and I’m committed to using experiential learning in the work I do with individuals and groups.

I also have the great honour of being invited to regularly present and facilitate at national & international conferences on the topics of boundaries, bullying and mental health in the workplace.

I hope that you’ll take a few moments to see what I have to say, and I encourage you to respond with your comments. I’d love to hear your opinions and insights on the topics I discuss here, to have you a part of this conversation…

To read a post, click on either the title of the post, or the ‘more’ link at the end of an entry below.

If you’d like to subscribe to our blog feed, click the RSS icon here to receive our entries in your feed reader:


Ep.4 Those Red Flags

Posted by on 15 Dec, 2019 in Boundaries, Featured, Podcast, self-care | 0 comments

Ep.4 Those Red Flags

Episode 4 – Those Red Flags – What are they and do I really want to listen to them?

New Professional Boundaries Podcast

In Episode 4, Dr Wendy McIntosh PhD, from Davaar Consultancy shares another potential Professional boundary transgression scenario, the red flags that were apparent, and how responding to those red flags in a different way could have prevented a challenging situation for a male teacher.

In this episode, Dr Wendy discusses what the alerts that we call Red Flags might look and feel like, in more detail and some clever ways to respond to them. Red Flags Poster

This is the fourth part of a dialogue that be will be continued in the following episodes. Use the links above to subscribe, or click the play button to listen. (more…)

Ep.3 Professional Boundaries Framework

Posted by on 9 Dec, 2019 in Boundaries, Featured, Podcast, self-care | 0 comments

Ep.3  Professional Boundaries Framework

Episode 3 – The professional Boundaries framework. Staying in the Zone of Helpfulness

New Professional Boundaries Podcast

In Episode 3, Dr Wendy McIntosh PhD from Davaar Consultancy shares another Professional Boundaries scenario and ways to identify when a professional’s behaviour risks boundary crossings or violations, or if a transgression might already have occurred.

Listen as Dr Wendy explains the Professional Boundary Framework model she uses in her workshops to help participants get a visceral feeling of the Professional Boundaries continuumThis episode introduces powerful and specific questions to ask while examining situations that are ripe for crossings or Professional Boundaries Frameworktransgressions and delves deeper into the reasons that they occur. The discussion of Red flags continues in this episode.

This is the third part of a dialogue that be will be continued in the following episodes. Use the links above to subscribe, or click the play button to listen. (more…)

Ep.2 Definitions and language of Professional Boundaries

Posted by on 2 Dec, 2019 in Boundaries, Featured, Podcast, self-care | 0 comments

Ep.2 Definitions and language of Professional Boundaries

Episode 2 – Professional Boundaries: Your safety, your well-being

New Professional Boundaries Podcast

In the Professional Boundaries Podcast – Episode 2 – Definitions and language of Professional Boundaries, Dr. Wendy McIntosh PhD from Davaar Consultancy shares a potential Professional Boundaries crossing scenario from her own nursing career, revealing some of the risks of crossings and transgressions when working with clients, customers, patients, and colleagues.

In this episode, boundary crossings are explained, and how they can so easily slide along the over-involvement and under-involvement continuum into transgressions and some of the reasons why. Wendy also begins the talk about Red flags – what they might signify, and how to spot them.Definitions and language Professional Boundaries poster

Listen as Dr. Wendy continues her discussion on maintaining Professional Boundaries, and why the context of the relationship is so important.  This is the second part of a dialogue that be will be continued in the following episodes. Use the links above to subscribe, or click the play button to listen.  Listen to Episode 3 about the Professional Boundaries Framework here. (more…)

Ep. 1 Professional Boundaries: What are they?

Posted by on 25 Nov, 2019 in Boundaries, Featured, Podcast, self-care | 0 comments

Ep. 1 Professional Boundaries: What are they?

Our New Podcast – Professional Boundaries: Your safety, your well-being

In this very first episode of the Professional Boundaries Podcast, Dr. Wendy McIntosh PhD from Davaar Consultancy shares a short story from her own career and talks about Professional Boundaries and why it’s so important for you to be aware of them when working with clients, customers, patients, and colleagues.

In this episode, Boundary transgressions are explained along with under-involvement and over-involvement and why they matter. Listen as Dr. Wendy begins a discussion on strategies to avoid transgressions and crossings. A conversation that Wendy will continue in the following episodes. Use the links above to subscribe, or click the play button to listen to Episode one. (more…)

Trailer: Professional Boundaries Podcast

Posted by on 20 Nov, 2019 in Boundaries, Podcast | 0 comments

Trailer: Professional Boundaries Podcast

Professional Boundaries: Your safety, your well-being
Available 25th November, 2019

In the Professional Boundaries PodcastDr. Wendy McIntosh PhD from Davaar Consultancy shares insights and strategies about developing and maintaining professional boundaries. Using examples from her own experience, Wendy will describe and explain Professional Boundaries for anyone in a public-facing job or role.

There are 6 episodes planned in this first season of the Professional Boundaries Podcast and we hope you’ll enjoy and learn from each of them.

Dr. Wendy McIntosh welcomes both your interest, and curiosity. Send Wendy questions at wendy@davaar.com.au

Professional Boundaries are not limited to the clinical or therapeutic arena. If you are in a professional role – a teacher, support worker, police officer, a prison officer, council worker, hairdresser. If you are a volunteer or belong to a theatre group, a choir, a sports club, there will be something in this podcast for you and the relationships you have with others. Setting boundaries in our life is necessary for our emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical well being. Setting boundaries is about our safety.

Since 2005 Wendy has been developing her knowledge and interest in the area of professional boundaries. Wendy delivers workshops on boundaries in Australia (where she now lives) and Internationally when invited to do so. She is continually integrating learning and insights she gains from the work she does in professional boundaries. Wendy comes from a nursing, and predominately psychiatric nursing, background. Wendy consistently receives feedback on her passion, knowledge, and creativity as a presenter and facilitator. Enjoy exploring boundaries in this podcast series as Wendy takes you on your own reflective journey on your professional boundaries.

Music from https://filmmusic.io
“Kool Kats” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) &
“Long Road Ahead” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Professional Boundaries and Cultural Bias

Posted by on 15 Mar, 2016 in Blog, Boundaries, Workshops | 1 comment

Professional Boundaries and Cultural Bias

Professional Boundaries and Cultural Bias

Dr. Wendy McIntosh PhD

Dr. Wendy McIntosh PhD

Sometimes the obvious connections slip to the edge of my consciousness. I had not made a specific link between professional boundaries and cultural bias until a couple of weeks ago.

I was invited to facilitate a seminar for Interpreters on the theme of Cultural Bias. As I was researching content for the seminar, and more specifically, from the discussions during the seminar, light bulbs started going off in my brain. Neuroscientists would say it was the sparking of my neurons – however, I like the image of the light bulb, I guess I just have to be careful when I switch the light bulbs off and on.


Why You Want Critical Feedback

Posted by on 7 Apr, 2015 in Blog, Boundaries | 0 comments

Why You Want Critical Feedback

Today I thought I would write about feedback, specifically what is known as critical feedback.

I have experienced critical feedback that has had both a positive and a negative impact on me. In reflection what has made the difference has been the delivery style of the individual who has given me the feedback. Where I experienced that the individual giving the feedback actually did have my best interests at the centre of their interaction with me I took in what they said and allowed myself to digest and make my sense of what they were saying. I felt able to approach them later to ask for clarification which also helped me to come to decisions.


Reflecting for a moment…

Posted by on 15 Jan, 2015 in Blog, Good reads | 0 comments

Reflecting for a moment…

A new year begins and with it endless possibilities and choices for the present and future. I received a lovely present in the post today. A calendar of photos which captured moments from a holiday I had in Italy last year, was hand delivered. Only twelve seconds were captured and yet so much more time, emotion, thoughts and friendships are held in those seconds. How many lifetimes do we humans live in a second? If we were to capture 60 seconds of delight, joy and enjoyment that we experienced in a day how much richer would we be, I wonder.

I have also been delighting in the daily photos and videos that I receive via email of my great niece born last month in Scotland. I see her face change as she takes in her environment and the actions and voices of those who engage with her. I enjoy very much all of the seconds that I watch her. The magic of the internet to be so close to someone and at the same time thousands of miles away. Amazing. (more…)

Welcome to 2014

Posted by on 24 Jan, 2014 in Blog, Boundaries, Nursing | 0 comments

Welcome to 2014
Welcome to 2014

Welcome readers, to another year. What does 2014 hold for you, your family and your community? What specific plans have you made for the year in terms of holidays, study, changing jobs or developing a new skill for the job your currently hold? Is this the year to start that activity that you have been talking about for some time? That book you always wanted to read, has it been purchased yet? If so have you made the book visible to remind you of your wish to explore the writing held in the pages?

I ask these questions of myself as much as to you. When I actually allow myself time to pause and consider there are many things that I have put on hold for a number of years. I say to friends “I will do that one day”. I might even set a plan I will do a certain activity by a specific date. The date comes and goes and somehow I have managed to fit something else into the space. The book sits beckoning, the golf clubs become a beautiful landscape for spiders to weave upon and the book that I want to write remains unwritten. Yet I have not given up on these plans, they remain planted in me and yes I will get there.

On a different topic yet somehow related I invite you to look at a new TED talk posted in December 2013. It is well worth a visit. The speaker is Andrew Solomon and he talks about depression – his experience of being depressed and also depression as a broader theme. He starts his presentation by saying “I felt a funeral in my brain” and I was intrigued. One word that he used several times during his presentation really resonated with me, VITALITY. As a mental health professional for over thirty years, I do not think I have been so awakened to the nexus between depression and vitality.

As I listened to Andrew, I considered the restrictive language that I have used as a health professional when talking about depression. It is as if the word itself or perhaps our interpretation of depression creates a void in using a more extensive, elaborate, and descriptive language. Then I wonder in what ways the language we use when interviewing individuals who have depression may actually assist in keeping a depressive theme going? What would be altered if we were to ask questions about vitality? I suspect we would witness different stories emerging from the folks we engage with. Give it a go next time you talk with someone. Be curious about vitality, what does it mean to and for you?


http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share.html [Photo by LadyDragonflyCC – >;< via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons]

Are you Crossing the Line?

Posted by on 8 Apr, 2013 in Blog, Boundaries, Nursing | 0 comments

Are you Crossing the Line?
Crossing the Line?

I have just returned from Adelaide where Colleen and I ran a one-day workshop, “Crossing the Line”, on Professional Boundaries as part of the Nurses for Nurses Conference held there 14th & 15th March. Those who have been to one of our boundary workshops will know that this is an area of professional passion for me. I’m always delighted to meet with a group of participants and share what I have learned, and also to hear their professional stories of boundary intrigue and transgression.

As part of my introduction to the boundary workshops, I share with the group that the content could easily fill four or five days training. In fact, at a recent workshop one participant suggested a five day residential and I am warming up to that idea for 2014.

Generally by lunch time on day one, participants express to me,

I can see how this could be five days long, I did not previously appreciate the complexities of professional boundaries.

This gladdens my professional heart to see so early on in the workshop that participants are delighting in their understanding of the depth of knowledge required to maintain safe boundaries in the clinical arena.

In professional boundary work I have done with individuals and groups I have become increasingly aware of the relevance of boundaries in order to maintain one’s own well-being (and that of the client). With knowledge and skills gained through participation in our workshops and through robust and challenging discussions, action and role plays, individuals inform us later,

I can go to work now, set limits, enjoy the day, feel satisfaction with what I have done, and enjoy being with my family.

For some this awakening has moved them from a state of negativity about their work to enjoying the work they do. For others, its a relief to learn that its okay to say ‘no’, to set limits and that indeed, in terms of professional ethics, it can be a requirement of the professional role.

I believe that an integral missing link to boundary maintenance is having a good understanding about attachment theory. I believe attachment theory offers an insightful lens through which to understand, create and maintain boundaries. Just as clients may become attached to professionals, I believe that professionals can also become too attached to clients. This opens up both parties (and potentially their respective families) to ab area of professional investigation that many would never have envisaged. Attachment theory and boundaries are a realm that I will write more about in future blog posts, so stay tuned.

To me, boundaries encompass all that it is to be human and a professional. I like a quote by Schimelpfening (2007),

Boundaries are the emotional and physical space that we place between ourselves and others. Setting proper boundaries is important to our mental health. When appropriate boundaries are not set, we run the risk of becoming either too detached from or too dependent upon others.

As always, I welcome conversation and comments from you about my blog posts.


Ref: Schimelpfening, N. (2007). about.com.health. Accessed http:// depression.about.com/29/12/2010

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