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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 75 Many of us start our practices and only begin to address ethical issues as they arise. But when you want to create a full, thriving business, it is important to know where you stand on issues that can get thorny. It is vital to get support and put plans in place before you run into trouble. In our experience, developing clarity in this realm has been key. Engaging with these topics increases our self-awareness. Our increased awareness allows us to be more present for our clients. And our referral sources consistently tell us they value and rely on our high level of professionalism. We cannot foresee every ethical dilemma we may encounter, but by thinking through those we can anticipate, we can avoid panic when something unexpected crops up. We have developed a sense of our own ethical standards and can apply what we have learned to new situations. Knowing where you stand ethically supports you, your business, and your therapeutic field as a whole. In this article, adapted from our book Elements of a Successful Therapeutic Business, we will discuss how we interact with clients, including being honest about skill level, licensing, certifications, and scope of practice; intimacy and touch; and sharing personal information with clients. BEING HONEST ABOUT SKILL LEVEL, LICENSING, AND CERTIFICATIONS We believe clients can receive benefit from practitioners at all skill levels: ones who are just starting out and those who have decades of experience. It is the fit between client and practitioner that is key. So, it does us no good to pretend to have more experience than we actually do (nor does it serve us to sell our years of experience short). Be honest about where you are in your practice. Clients can tell when we overstate or hedge our experience. Consider this example: At what point in our practice do we work with populations with special needs or who may require specialized training or skills beyond our core training? In craniosacral therapy (CST), one such population is children. Their bodies are just different enough from adults that a specialized curriculum has been developed for the therapists who work with them. Some colleagues feel it is sufficient simply to have read the cautions that should be observed when working with young children, but we have each chosen to receive specific pediatric training. There is no rule that prevents therapists who do not have this training from working with children; it is a choice that each therapist has to make, based on their personal and professional sense of ethics. Can you think of an issue like this in your own practice? These questions can help guide you: • Where is my skill level? • What is my experience? • What is my licensure? Does it entitle me to work with this population? You can then make an informed decision you feel comfortable standing behind.

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