Massage & Bodywork


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By Ben E. Benjamin, PhD Protecting Our Clients, Ourselves, and Our Profession Having worked in the industry, and served as an expert witness on cases of sexual misconduct by massage therapists and bodyworkers for more than 12 years, I feel compelled to write this article. As I've raised this topic with clients, students, and friends over the years, I've found that many of us have a story of inappropriate behavior in a therapeutic session—affecting either ourselves or someone we know. And, overwhelmingly, these violations were never reported. (Since sexual abuse in general is significantly underreported, this isn't surprising. 1 ) As I see some massage therapy schools reducing the ethics, sexuality, and communication content in their curricula, as well as employers sometimes hiring new therapists without proper employment vetting, I fear that the incidence of these violations will only increase. We must protect ourselves, our clients, and our profession, which means we all need to be part of the solution. The best protection for clients' safety, health, and dignity is broad-based education of management, staff, and clients themselves about the dangers and warning signs of predatory therapists, as well as maintaining our own best practices. This information is essential for both current and future clients, as well as for everyone who practices, teaches, or hires employees in hands-on modalities. A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 57

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