Massage & Bodywork


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 64 of 100

62 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j a n u a r y/ fe b r u a r y 2 0 2 3 and talk therapists in mind, and at first glance it may seem to explore situations in which we, as massage therapists, are unlikely to find ourselves—asking clients about substance use, self-harm, and risky behaviors. However, the class is ultimately about helping clients move toward behavior change by using skillful inquiry (which, spoiler alert, is mostly about not talking). It is about the role of self-awareness, self-regulation, and personal inquiry in our interactions with clients as we learn about their lives, health, and choices. When massage therapists choose not to prioritize the development of these skills, we unwittingly harm our clients and impede their chances of maximizing the potential benefits of our care. As massage therapists, we spend a lot of time with bodies. We think about, read about, look at, touch, ponder, and palpate bodies all day, every day. An unfortunate by- product of this otherwise awesome way of being in the world is that we tend to become inured to the truth that for most humans, the body is a fraught subject. It is easy to forget when you have massaged hundreds of "sore" shoulders that the "basic" questions we ask our clients are inherently sensitive because their bodies are not typically a topic T he massage profession continues to prioritize technical, hands-on learning over the cultivation of strong and f lexible skills of communication (both listening and speaking) and self- regulation. These skills, however, are the bedrock of our value as health-care professionals. It's possible that most of us don't notice it, but this oversight results in harm. In our continuing education courses at Healwell, we have a tongue- in-cheek saying that massage therapists do much more harm with their mouths than they will ever do with their hands. The Importance of Harm Reduction Understanding the importance of harm reduction requires you to open yourself to the possibility that you may be causing harm. The truth is that we all cause harm. Most of it is unintended, but intention and impact are different. One of the newest courses offered through Healwell's online education portal is "Pursuing Sensitive Disclosures: Skillfully Asking Clients Tough Questions to Assess Risk." The course is taught by Jenn Brandel, a licensed clinical social worker. The course was designed with social workers KEY POINTS • If massage therapists choose not to prioritize or develop communication skills, they can unwittingly harm their clients. • Self-aware communication includes minimizing judgment, avoiding offering advice and opinions, and respecting client autonomy. • Skillful interpersonal engagement with your clients will make your work more clinically effective. Harm Reduction Massage Therapists' Communication Skills Must Be as Sharp as Their Techniques to Achieve the Most Beneficial Care By Cal Cates

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2023