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December 8, 2003

Massage Ethics

Ethics is a very hot topic in the massage industry right now. Ethics are important because they help massage therapists keep our clients and ourselves safe. It would be easy to define the ethics of massage, given our history and culture, by saying that therapists should not engage in illicit activity with our clients.

But what about more subtle issues? It is easy to be flattered by clients who see us wonderful and desire to deepen their relationship with us outside of our practice. As professionals, it is important for us to recognize that transference may be occurring and at that point maintain impeccable boundaries.

We must act professionally by continuing to support our client with stable and consistent care. To act otherwise should raise a red flag for the therapist. This indicates that countertransference may be ocurring and that self-examination may be necessary for the therapist. In fact, our clients may not want to know who we really are. That would be disillusioning. When positive transference is occurring, it means that our client trusts us. To engage in a relationship outside our practice would not be helpful to the client. In fact, it may sabotage the therapeutic process and disrupt the trust of the client.

For more clarification on ethics issues, I recommend reading The Educated Heart by Nina MacIntosh and/or The Ethics of Touch by Ben E. Benjamin and Cherie Shonen-Moe

Posted by linda at December 8, 2003 2:47 PM

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