The Therapeutic Relationship in the Massage Profession
After completion of this course, the participant should be able to: 1. Define “Ethics ” and .. All of these put a therapeutic relationship at risk if crossed. Boundaries. respecting boundaries is critical to the prevention of abuse and sexual abuse in particular. This Standard is Definitions are available at the end of this document. The therapeutic relationship begins with the client's experience of the Massage Therapy Registrants must ensure the practice setting for Massage Therapy. The therapeutic relationship that occurs between a massage therapist boundaries you can create are those around things like cancellation.
It's this vulnerability of the client and corresponding power imbalance that necessitates a clear approach to the issue of professional-client sex.
The Therapeutic Relationship in the Massage Profession
In my mind, the "cooling off" periods of time after breaking off a therapeutic relationship should not govern a therapist's private sexual relationships. It governs whom the therapist can see professionally. Therapists who wish to pursue a sexual relationship with a client can refer the client to another therapist or postpone the personal relationship until the professional relationship is completed. As further example of this, in the same state as the cited massage therapist, physicians and nurses not involved in psychotherapy have no specific time limits for relationships with former patients, but physicians must discuss ramifications and cease treatment.
It would seem unnecessary that massage therapists would have stricter rules. In the many blogs and chat groups picking up this story, some of the more clever comments that caught my eye are: I think the state needs to be on one side of the fence or the other. Otherwise, ex-wives rule the Secondly, if the two-year rule 'protects consumers,' can I use that same two-year time frame in my advertising?
Where should the line be drawn between ethics and regulation? Are there "circumstantial" ethics?
My bottom line here is to remember the importance of good boundaries, and to make sure you know the applicable laws in your practice area.
Professional association membership and a recurring study of professional ethics as continuing education can go a long way to avoiding needless legal complications. That "tipping" issue still is bothering me - I may need to revisit it in a future editorial! Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters related to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue or online. In real life regular friendships and romantic relationships also start in transference.
Transference is normal and will happen whether you are aware of it or not or whether you want it or not. Massage clients also have special vulnerabilities because of the fact that they also end up on the massage table in some state of undress and are not feeling well or are injured.
Drawing A Line—Defining Boundaries for Massage Therapists
There are many signs of transference but often you will not really know if it is a case of transference. Creating boundaries for yourself as a massage therapist is what allows someone who is in a state of transference to have a chance to see their own issues and is a major part of the healing process.
As a massage therapist, you will also have your own issues that come up when working so closely with people. It is basically unconsciously thinking that the client resembles a parent figure and we look to them to get our needs for recognition, appreciation and to be heard.
The more you know your own values, needs and feelings and the clearer your boundaries are for yourself — the less problems you will have with difficult clients. Some examples of simple boundaries you can create are those around things like cancellation policies and fees, hours of operation, creating dual relationships with clients becoming friends with them or even dating clientsgiving advice and sharing personal information.
The clearer your boundariesthe easier you will be able to make decisions that will support your massage business. That last sentence above took me about 15 years to really understand and the process of creating and defining my boundaries took another 5 years or so and is actually an ongoing process.
The clearer my values and boundaries, the more successful I became as a massage therapist. It requires that the massage therapist have a clear idea of what their own needs are and learn to get their own personal needs for appreciation, validation and to be needed met in other areas of their lives so that they can become and stay more present with the client for the clients healing process. Working within the therapeutic relationship requires that you be able to give empathy for the client.
To be able to give empathy, one needs to have met their own needs for empathy first by doing the grief work that is related to not getting your needs met and working with a skilled peer supervisor or mental health counselor to rewire the brain and body for empathy.
Since so many of our needs are really unconscious, it is important to begin to become aware of our own needs and learn to take care of them outside of the therapeutic relationship so that we can become more present to witness the healing process in clients.
The massage therapist will often start sacrificing their time and energy in order to help a client or so they think.
Massage + Ethics | Massage Therapy Journal — American Massage Therapy Association
There is such a fine line between helping and when helping is actually hurting that it is near impossible to distinguish until it is too late. The presence of a massage therapist depends on their own awareness of themselves and the reasons why they feel compelled to help. Our early childhood is where it all starts.
Our self esteem is developed at an early age. We begin projecting our unrecognized feelings on others shortly after birth. When our early needs for nurturing, appreciation and acceptance were not met, we see ourselves as less than worthy and it is reflected in all of our actions and reactions.