- Defining values: Healthy relationship are an “inter-dependent” relationship of two “independent” people. Healthy individuals should establish values that they honor and defend regardless of the nature of a relationship ( core or independent values). Healthy individuals should also have values that they negotiate and adapt in an effort to bond with and collaborate with others (inter-dependent values).
- Asserting boundaries: In this model, individuals use verbal and nonverbal communications to assert intentions, preferences and define what is inbounds and out-of-bounds with respect to their core or independent values. When asserting values and boundaries, communications should be present, appropriate, clear, firm, protective, flexible, receptive, and collaborative.
- Honoring and defending: Making decision consistent with the personal values when presented with life choices or confronted or challenged by controlling people or people not taking responsibility for their own life.
Having healthy values and boundaries is a lifestyle, not a quick fix to an relationship dispute.
Values are constructed from a mix of conclusions, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning. Jacques Lacan considers values to be layered in a hierarchy, reflecting “all the successive envelopes of the biological and social status of the person” from the most primitive to the most advanced.
Personal values and boundaries operate in two directions, affecting both the incoming and outgoing interactions between people. These are sometimes referred to as the ‘protection’ and ‘containment’ functions.