Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 62 of 100

H ave you ever given a massage therapy session in which a client made an inappropriate sexual joke and you didn't know what to do? Did you freeze? Did you feel a mixture of rage and helplessness? Did you wish you had the skill to set a firm boundary at that moment or express your anger at such a comment? We should have learned how to deal with these kinds of comments in school, but most therapists never received that type of training. Setting a verbal boundary is an important skill for everyone, especially for female massage therapists. Female therapists are frequently the targets of harassing comments by male clients who have inappropriate boundaries. This has happened to almost every female massage therapist I've met. How do you set a firm boundary when someone crosses the line or says something offensive? This is not easy unless you have been trained in boundary setting or have honed that skill on your own. First, let's look at what boundaries are and then examine the ways you can set them in challenging situations. BOUNDARIES A boundary is a limit or a line we set, beyond which no one should step. Certain boundaries are implicit norms in our culture. We learn these boundaries unconsciously, for the most part, as we grow up. In Western culture, we know not to ask questions that are too personal. We know not to touch a stranger's body without their 60 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 2 SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH INAPPROPRIATE CLIENTS KEY POINTS • Strong, clear boundaries help create functional professional relationships that last. • When a person is starved for physical intimacy, they may make an emotional leap in a massage setting, confusing physical intimacy with sexual intimacy. By Ben Benjamin, PhD

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2022