Massage & Bodywork

MARCH | APRIL 2017

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C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 35 HEART OF BODYWORK best practices A Red Flag Bending Our Own Boundaries By Laura Allen Other clients may describe debilitating pain and want to be seen immediately, but when the practitioner asks how long they've had the pain, they'll say, "About six years." Their pain may be real, but you don't need to rearrange your schedule to see them right away. You don't do clients—or yourself—a favor when you let them hook you into ignoring your own policies. A massage therapist working in my practice told me she'd like Thursdays off. For several weeks, she appeared on Thursdays, harried and aggravated. I said, "I thought you wanted to be off on Thursday." She said, "I know, but so-and-so can only come on Thursday." I assured her that was not true, and that as soon as she said, "I'm not available on Thursdays, let's see what other day we can get you in," she would see that client would find another day open after all. That turned out to be true, and she started being able to enjoy her day off—and her work—much more than when she was trying to be accommodating and ignoring her own boundaries. Steadfast rules may be an ideal rather than a reality, but honoring our own boundaries is actually a kindness to the A good reason for being consistent with boundaries is that you will be more inclined to notice when you alter them. It's a red flag when you step outside your professional boundaries and encourage others to treat you as if you're not a professional. One of the primary ways practitioners get into big trouble with clients is through treating them as inordinately special in some way. Keeping boundaries when it concerns our own time off from work is one example. Distinguishing between a client who is sincerely in a crisis and a client who has a pattern of being manipulative can be a difficult judgment call, but there are often clues: a client may call and say she is in terrible pain and must be seen right away. If the practitioner says, "I can't see you Sunday, but I have an opening at 10:00 a.m. on Monday," and the client responds, "Oh, I can't then. That's when I get my hair cut," it's clear the client isn't being completely honest. client, so we can keep enjoying the work we do instead of becoming resentful of it. Laura Allen is the massage division director of Soothing Touch. A licensed massage therapist, she is an accomplished author and educator. Allen resides in Western North Carolina with her husband, Champ, also a licensed massage therapist. Contact her at educatedheart@gmail.com. Illustrator Mari Gayatri Stein traded her hometown of Hollywood for an artist's vocation in the mountains of Oregon. From the organic farm she shares with her husband and two rescue dogs, she has authored 10 books and illustrated countless more. To learn more, visit www.mariswebsite.com. Editor's note: In 2017, we are delighted to print excerpts from Nina McIntosh's The Educated Heart 4th edition. Nina was a longtime Massage & Bodywork columnist. Prior to her death, she handed her work over to Laura Allen who's created this new 2016 edition (adapted with permission from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins).

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