Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2015

Issue link: http://www.massageandbodyworkdigital.com/i/588318

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 13 of 133

F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 75 74 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 74 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 Sexual misconduct by health-care practitioners can destroy clients' lives. This story illustrates the tragic devastation brought about by one individual's irresponsible behavior. In my 25 years teaching professional ethics and boundaries, and 10 years as an expert witness on sexual abuse by manual therapists, I've seen far too many cases similar to the scenario Emma K. describes. I've also seen circumstances where the victim herself is blamed: "Why would she go back?", "What's wrong with her", or "She brought it on herself." This attitude doesn't account for the vulnerability of someone whose trust has been previously broken through systematic abuse. It also doesn't recognize the enormous influence of the power differential in a bodywork relationship. All of us who are horrified and saddened by these stories can do our part to prevent further abuses by advocating for: the careful screening of students who enter massage schools; a rigorous licensing process in every state; a professional massage board that monitors professional therapists both within the state and between states; and procedures to monitor unlicensed, poorly trained, or untrained therapists and prevent them from doing harm. No client who comes to a practitioner for support and healing should ever be subjected to the indignity and mistreatment that was inflicted on Emma K. F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 75 BY BEN E. BENJAMIN, PhD NOW this isn't professional. KNO this isn't The article that follows is an honest and disturbing firsthand account of one client's experience with a sexually abusive therapist. I have great respect for Emma K.'s courage in sharing her story, which carries important lessons for all hands-on practitioners: the vulnerability associated with clients' prior history of trauma, the dangers of amplifying the mystique of alternative and complementary practices, the impact of the power differential in therapeutic relationships, and the long-term consequences of abusing that power. READER FORUM EMAIL YOUR LETTERS TO EDITOR@ABMP.COM. INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME AND THE CITY AND STATE IN WHICH YOU RESIDE. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO EDIT LETTERS FOR LENGTH AND CLARITY. BROKEN TRUST Please let Emma know how much I appreciated her article. I was incested as a child. The article helped me heal signifi cantly some of the broken trust issues I had with caregivers. The pictures in the magazine are quite accurate in that it felt like I, at one time, was cracked into 1,000 pieces. Due to many holistic therapies, I'm much better right now. I very much accept myself. It has been a long road, but it is so worth it! Emma needs to know that complete healing really is possible. I thank Emma for her courage in telling her story that is the beginning of her healing. A FELLOW WOMAN Kudos to you for your excellent coverage of sexual abuse in massage. Emma's tragic story was so well presented in a candid, non- sensational manner that graphically transforms the usual vague theoretical coverage into painful reality. Your Editor's Note was also very important to demonstrate that such boundary issues are not always clear-cut, with gray areas of what is considered proper, and offered specifi c ways for clients to listen to their intuition and to protect themselves. I hope that Emma's candid account will free many others from guilt over similar situations, will prevent such criminal behavior from succeeding with others, and enlighten some therapists to lesser behavior that is inappropriate. ART RIGGS OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA Happy to get the new Massage & Bodywork [September/ October 2015]. Interesting that your [sexual abuse] article [with a foreword] by Ben Benjamin came out as a massage therapist in Boulder County was sentenced. I've been following the Boulder County story over the past year, because I know a couple of other therapists who have worked with him. They are in total shock, because they had enjoyed his work and respected him as a therapist and teacher. I got involved because one of them had given me a gift certifi cate to get a session from him. When I went to make the appointment, I found out his business was closed. This incident, and others over the years, have certainly pointed to the need for ongoing discussions and education about ethics and boundaries. I've been sorely disappointed that online ethics are the norm now. It takes real, professionally facilitated in-class discussions, including role-playing scenarios, for massage students and therapists to begin to get the depth of awareness required for keeping professional boundaries. There are technical skills that support clear professional boundaries— they should be integral to the teaching of massage skills, but sadly, too often ethics gets separated out from massage instruction. MARY KATHLEEN ROSE LONGMONT, COLORADO 75 F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 75 75 75 75 F r e e S O A P n o t e s w i t h M a s s a g e B o o k f o r A B M P m e m b e r s : a b m p . u s / M a s s a g e b o o k 11 TOUCH OF GRAY Loved reading this today [in my magazine]. KERI BOONE KELLEY FROM FACEBOOK The elderly are so touch deprived. Hopefully the baby boomer generation will realize this and build spa therapies into their lifestyle as they age. SPA TECH INSTITUTE FROM FACEBOOK I absolutely love working with elders. They are so appreciative. MARIE GALLAGHER FROM FACEBOOK YOU'RE WELCOME! We love your content and persistent educational approach. Thanks for all you give! YOGA OF TOUCH FROM FACEBOOK

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2015