Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2016

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Whether in a classroom lab or in a professional setting, giving valuable feedback to your counterpart during massage exchanges can feel uncomfortable. We try to avoid the situation by offering vague general comments like, "It was great," or "Thanks for the massage," or "I was really relaxed." It's not hard to see that such generalizations rarely prove useful to help students or colleagues improve their massage skills. Giving and receiving good feedback is essential to professional development. Self-awareness, boundary setting, basic communication skills, and massage technique improve when you and your fellow bodyworkers move beyond comments that are evasive, judgmental, personal, or vague, and start offering feedback that is specific enough to promote positive changes in professional behavior and massage technique. Once both partners are on board for this level of communication, here are some suggestions to help you achieve feedback mastery. GUIDELINES FOR GIVING CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK When you give constructive feedback, you focus on a behavior that needs to be changed or adjusted in order to improve performance, not on the person themselves. Comments that address one's inherent characteristics or personality should be avoided because they tend toward praise or criticism, which is different than feedback. 38 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j u l y / a u g u s t 2 0 1 6 CLASSROOM TO CLIENT education Giving and Receiving Feedback How to Get the Most out of Professional Massage Exchanges by Anne Williams

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