Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2019

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BEING HONEST ABOUT YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE Kate is a licensed physical therapist, and her scope of practice is by definition wider than Robyn's as a massage therapist. We both practice craniosacral therapy, but Kate has more latitude in other techniques she can employ. Think about the recommendations you make to clients. For instance, you might ask yourself whether your licensure allows you to diagnose or advise on medication. This area is one that is clearly defined. Working within the boundaries of your professional licensure is vital to the integrity of your business. You can also take a fresh look at your intake form, which should only include questions that are covered by your scope of practice. It may be tempting to use intake forms from medical practices since they are widely available. But using a form that asks for information that is out of your scope can give the wrong impression to a client. It also may not give you the information that is most relevant for your work. Committing to staying within our scope of practice helps us quickly identify when we are out of our depth. That is our cue to make a referral to an appropriate professional, such as a physician or licensed mental health professional. UNEARNED INTIMACY In therapeutic work, there is an unavoidable power differential. We can aim to minimize it, but the fact is that there is always a certain amount of what one of our mentors called an "unearned intimacy." People share with us much more than we share with them, in the hopes that we can help them. In addition, there is an intimacy in the conversations that happen. We imagine most of you have heard a client say, "I've never told anybody this." Kate recalls being asked by a male client, "Kate, do people fall in love with you?" In exploring the question with him, she found what he meant by that was, "A lot of what we talked about today, I'd only really talk about with my spouse." Often, clients are sharing something for the first time, and they are taking a chance to trust us. This is a healthy process that can promote a healing response in our clients. We may be accustomed to this level of therapeutic connection, but it could be new for our clients. It can 76 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 9 It may be tempting to use intake forms from medical practices since they are widely available. But using a form that asks for information that is out of your scope can give the wrong impression to a client. It also may not give you the information that is most relevant for your work.

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