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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.



Threshold issues are a huge force in your life, whether you are aware of them or not. The issue of threshold is around us every day, perhaps even every moment.

What exactly is a threshold? This seemingly simple word encompasses various meanings and implications, each shedding light on different aspects of our lives and experiences.

  1. A Physical Boundary:
  2. A threshold can be a physical entity. It's the piece of wood or stone placed beneath a door, often referred to as a doorsill. This unassuming element serves as both support for the entry and a foundation for your feet or vehicle as you cross into a space.
  3. Symbolic Entryway:
  4. Beyond the physical, a threshold can also be metaphorical. It represents an entrance or doorway, not confined to the material world. In this sense, a threshold embodies the idea of transition and change, extending its reach beyond mere physical territory.
  5. Starting Point:
  6. Another facet of the threshold is its role as a starting point or outset. When you step across a threshold, you leave behind what's established and embark on something new. This transition doesn't necessarily imply a linear path or a known destination. It's about venturing into uncharted territory, where the familiar gives way to the unknown.
  7. A Trigger for Change:
  8. In a different context, a threshold can also be the point at which a specific effect, result, or response is triggered. For example, a low threshold of pain means that a minimal amount of discomfort can induce a reaction. This concept extends beyond physical pain; it can encompass mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences that challenge our existing boundaries and perspectives.

As we navigate our lives, we encounter thresholds regularly. Consider the simple act of walking to the curb of a sidewalk. You are about to cross a threshold into the street, where moving cars pose new challenges.

To do so safely, you must possess awareness, physical balance, and an understanding of traffic dynamics. Meeting these criteria enables you to cross this threshold successfully.

In our society, entrance requirements and criteria for crossing thresholds are evident in various aspects, such as job applications, school admissions, military positions, and competitive sports. Striving to bypass these criteria can lead to entering unprepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Confronting barriers before being able to cross a threshold should not be viewed as a personal and forced limitation. It is a safeguard to ensure your ability to adapt and thrive in the new environment on the other side.

However, not all thresholds come with explicit criteria. Events like marriage, parenthood, or leaving home offer less structured transitions. When you experience fear or anxiety in the face of a decision, it may signify that you are approaching a threshold.

These emotions act as signals, urging you to assess your readiness for the changes that await. Are you adequately prepared to survive, adapt, and flourish on the other side of the threshold? Probably not entirely, as crossing a threshold often involves learning as you go.

The minimum requirements for crossing may be all you need initially. The key is to recognize when you're stuck in life, as this might indicate an inability to move through an important threshold. In such cases, you need to find a way to fulfill the necessary criteria.

Recovery work, too, can be seen as a threshold—a point where healing and growth await. When something feels just beyond your grasp, it might be an indication that a threshold is approaching. Knowing its existence and appreciating the criteria for crossing can help you determine if this is the path you want to follow.

Consider whether the criteria for crossing weaken or strengthen you. Do they demand conformity to standards you don't uphold, or do they require you to become more self-assured as you uphold your values?

The concept of thresholds is both profound and omnipresent. It represents the myriad transitions we encounter in our lives, from the physical to the symbolic. Understanding and appreciating these thresholds can empower us to navigate life's changes with confidence and resilience.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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