Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2021

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 29 The Money Pit is a comedy movie from the 1980s about a couple who spend their life savings on a house. The house was structurally falling apart, but they didn't find out until after they moved in. For many therapists, it's a good analogy for our relationship with money in our massage practice. Most therapists invest substantial time and money on their education. Then, there are the testing fees, licensing fees, continuing education, and normal expenses of running a business if you are self-employed. And yet, many have an uncomfortable relationship with money. Many times, uneasiness about money is based in the belief that "I'm a massage therapist because I like to help people." We all like to help people, but unless you're independently wealthy and practicing massage as a hobby, most of us need to make a living—and we shouldn't just "get by." We should enjoy the fruits of our labor as well. You may not see money as an ethical boundary issue, but it can be. Let's explore a few scenarios: 1. A new client spends the entire session telling you about her money problems and says she really can't afford massage. At the end of the session, she asks for a discount. 2. A client has canceled several times at the last minute. She hasn't received consequences from canceling, so she continues to do it. 3. A client arrives 20 minutes late for her appointment. You were about to leave, as she was your last client of the day, but you stay for her. You end the session at the original time, as you have an appointment (although that's really none of her business), and but insists she should only pay for the time she used, although her appointment was for an hour. How do we handle these situations? Like the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Having clear payment and cancellation policies—and informing your clients of them—can eliminate these issues. For example: 1. Post your policies on your website and social media pages. Include your cancellation and late arrival policies. 2. Post your payment and cancellation policies at the front desk and on the back of your intake form. 3. Have your clients sign a statement agreeing to abide by your policies. 4. Use online scheduling so the client has to pay up front to avoid last-minute cancellations. If you feel led to give someone a discount, go ahead. Just don't allow yourself to be guilted into it. When we allow people to violate our financial boundaries, it can cause our own financial distress and create resentment about the work we should enjoy doing. Clear boundaries contribute to your financial and mental health. Laura Allen has been a licensed massage therapist since 1999 and an approved provider of continuing education since 2000. She is the author of Nina McIntosh's The Educated Heart, now in its fifth edition. Allen lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her husband and their two rescue dogs. The Money Pit By Laura Allen¦ best practices | HEART OF BODYWORK When we allow people to violate our financial boundaries, it can cause our own financial distress and create resentment about the work we should enjoy doing.

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