The Therapeutic Relationship in the Massage Therapy Profession

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massage blog5Since effective and successful massage therapy is very much dependent upon the trust and relaxation of the client, it is important that clear practitioner/client boundaries are defined. It’s helpful to take advantage of some tips for creating good client practitioner boundaries.
Clients come to a massage therapist with varying degrees of understanding and expectations, so having clearly understood boundaries can help set the right tone from the beginning. If the client is not aware of the boundaries (or that boundaries even exist!) it creates an environment where both the therapist and client will be outside of their comfort level.
Here are some tips for creating good client practitioner boundaries:

  • The practitioner should take time to consider and define what the boundaries are in their own mind. This leaves little room for ambiguity – clear, consistent, guidelines create a more relaxing and productive environment for everyone;
  • Some practitioners create a written set of boundaries and have the client sign read and sign them as part of the initial consultation. Developing these guidelines into a written form forces the practitioner to clearly think about and articulate where, exactly, those boundaries lie. Since the client has signed them, it is easy to reference them as a mutually understood point of reference should the need arise.
  • Be clear about what you are able to “fix” for clients and what the limits are to the therapy you provide. This can help prevent disappointment from a client with unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished with therapy.

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