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To prevent oneself from becoming emotionally involved in a certain situation.

As a therapist sometimes you have to step back from your clients' lives.

Additional definitions for 'step back':

step backUsed other than as an idiom: see step, back.
step backTo stop what one is doing and evaluate the current situation.
step backto depart driving the train following the train they arrived into the station driving, so as to decrease service turnaround time.
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"step back." Phrases.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 25 Nov. 2017. <http://www.phrases.net/phrase/step-back_15114>.

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