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30 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j u l y/a u g u s t 2 0 2 1 Managing Intellectual and Environment Boundaries By Cindy Williams education | BACK TO BASICS and often get to know them well. Our role is to provide a client- centered, safe, and competent bodywork experience. Sometimes that means our clients will express themselves, including their social frustrations. Client expressions might include personal opinions about politics, social or cultural groups, social movements, people who are different than they are, or someone whose opinion they strongly disagree with. Unfortunately, sometimes you might hold opinions they disagree with. It is highly likely you will have clients who are significantly different from you. It is important that these differences do not affect the therapeutic relationship. That responsibility lies in your hands. HOW TO AVOID INTELLECTUAL BOUNDARY VIOLATIONS The most effective way to avoid this type of relational friction is to create a respectful, neutral environment. To do this: • Avoid displaying items in your office that might challenge a client's belief system. This includes artwork that is philosophical, religious, or political in nature—or quotes that could spawn disagreement. Ask yourself what value and purpose your décor has on your professional work. • Always ask permission if energy work is part of your therapeutic approach. It is no different than asking if a client feels comfortable having their glutes worked. Boundaries—defining them, communicating them, and guarding them—can be tricky. All humans have a right to choose their boundaries. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to intellectual boundaries in the therapeutic relationship. Intellectual boundaries relate directly to a person's thoughts, beliefs, values, and opinions. In school, we are taught to respect the thoughts, beliefs, values, and opinions of others. We are also taught to keep our personal thoughts, beliefs, values, and opinions to ourselves. In other words, professionalism involves leaving one's personal life at the door. But what happens when a client stirs a reaction within you that promotes a feeling that an intellectual boundary is being violated? Or, what if you unintentionally stir a client with something you say, do, or display? We all carry past experiences that shape our perspectives. Added to this, our culture is hot right now with opinion, expression, offense, and defense. What happens when these perspectives and emotions, be it ours or our clients', filter into the treatment room? Here, we will explore how perspectives might collide, how to avoid this occurrence, and how to respond when a boundary is crossed. HOW DO PERSPECTIVES COLLIDE? Our profession is unique. We spend a significant amount of time with our clients HUTOMO ABRIANTO/UNSPL ASH.COM

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