Professionalism in massage therapy is blurry at best. It’s sad to say. This is on two particular levels. The first is in the way continuing education is treated. The second is in the way we (as therapists) perceive connection with you (our client).
THE FIRST LEVEL: Continuing Education is a necessary and vital part of being a professional. It keeps us up to date with maintaining the NCBTMB (National Board certification) we needed to have to receive our license (here in RI), is mandated by professional organizations (if we belong to them), allows us to stay gather and talk with other professionals, offers experience to enhance our practices ~ not only hands on but business courses as well as ethics classes and, for me, gives renewed excitement about being in this profession. But, most importantly, it allows us to receive valuable tools and techniques to bring back to our clients to continue to work with them.
The CHALLENGE with this is therapists may view having to receive educational credits as the MINIMUM necessary to stay in practice. I recently spoke with two therapists who needed to renew their certifications for the first time. (You have four years to take 50 credit hours for NCBTMB renewal). This is what each said:
First therapist: “Gee, I can’t believe I have 60 credits. I took one too many classes ~ I thought I wasn’t going to have enough so I registered for that small weekend class which bumped me up”
Second therapist: “I had to take an online class over the Holidays because I didn’t have enough credits before Jan. 1st! I can’t believe I had to do that and I didn’t even have the money, I had to put the class on a credit card.”
AND a third therapist ask me why I “invested in a course to learn how to market massage. That seems silly to spend money to learn how to make money.”
These therapists are missing the point. The point IS that it is a responsibility and obligation as a Professional to embrace continuing education. It does not need to be mandated by the industry, a time-line, your pocket book or a type of class. Finding quality courses to study that enhance you and your practice is a must and so I choose a variety of classes that serve my client’s needs. Even a marketing class teaches how to educate clients aka marketing in one way or another. Without that, I will not be able to deliver the best possible experience of healing and wellness for you.
THE SECOND LEVEL: is connecting with you, my clients. You will never hear me in a treatment complain about business, people, life or otherwise. If you ask me a question about your life in regards to my skill set (Massage, Aromatherapy, Feng Shui, Dreams, Soul-Coaching etc), I will answer them. But, I will not share with you challenges about my own unresolved challenges in life. Yes, we all have them. That is NOT my professional relationship with you. Too many therapists do step over this line and it creates BIG PROBLEMS for them. Example: I heard a client say years ago “I’d like to try a new therapist but, I have to keep going to see so-and-so, she’s got no money and needs me on that every week schedule.” YIKES, REALLY? That helps no one especially this client and that’s exactly why we practice: to help YOU. Our challenges is NOT WHY you should come to us. Your intention in receiving hands-on bodywork should be purely for YOU, YOURSELF and YOU.
Yes, we will become friendly and I may share a thing or two about my four-footed-friends ~ especially with other dog-owners. That’s what I mean by friendly. Yes, I am always concerned with your welfare. I also do very much appreciate your concern with my life. That is sweet and thoughtful. But, really, you have enough challenges of your own. That may, in fact, be exactly why you are coming to release some of those worries. So, release away!!!!
This is how I choose to practice. I choose to educate myself in all aspects of my practice: Hands on Skills, intercommunication skills, and business workshops. I choose to have a relationship with you based on YOUR healing and wellness not my own and I choose to provide the most professional service possible. Isn’t that a relief?!