We're Moving! Check us out at Pint Sized Sites

Washington State, where I practice, recently changed the CE requirements for massage practitioners to require 4 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Of those 4 hours, 2 of them must be in professionalism and boundaries. I currently have 2 classes that satisfy those requirements and also meet 4 hours of the NCBTMB requirement of 6 hours.*

When they announced that this was going to happen, I got busy with a friend, who was also my ethics teacher in massage school, and developed a course that would cover the requirements. Our goal was to give MT’s who had a few years of experience, and several experiences, some tools to deal with the more ‘interesting’ situations that come up in their work day.

Nancy Allen and I both come from other professions. Nancy’s last gig, before massage, was as the Washington State Librarian. And, no, her job wasn’t to run around and shush people for being too noisy. With a background in dealing with state legislators, agencies, employees, and doing research, she is a natural as someone who like to think about ethical issues. She is also a lot of fun to work with.

Nancy also owns the local Massage Envy franchise and loves to give new practitioners a place to get started and get some experience. Unfortunately, it keeps her a bit too busy to continue teaching. That allowed me the opportunity to take over the ethics instruction at our alma mater.

In the nearly 5 years I’ve been teaching ethics, both to potential and practicing massage therapists, I’ve found that most of you resist taking ethics classes. Most of you find the subject boring or unnecessary.

I’ve found it to be the exact opposite.

In my classes, I like to use humor and keep the tone light and energizing. I believe that, if I can keep the subject interesting and fun to listen to, more therapists will be willing to sign up for the subject.

We all need ethics refreshers

If for no other reason than to have a safe place to discuss some of the difficult situations that come up during our career. An ethics class can provide a group of sympathetic listeners when you’ve run out of ideas on how to deal with difficult situations or clients. It’s a place to find someone to provide an objective alternative or to rehearse a difficult conversation you might need to have.

I do not believe that massage therapists are to blame for the difficult and uncomfortable situations that come up, but I do believe that, if you are trained and prepared, you can manage them. Clients, colleagues, and business acquaintances all bring their preconceived notions and emotional baggage with them and we are left to find a way to deal with it all while making a living and maintaining our professionalism.

I love taking ethics classes

Every instructor brings a new perspective on the subject. A new emphasis depending on her experience and stories from past students.

Ethics classes also lend themselves to online instruction. Since there is no ‘hands on’ portion of the class, video and webinars are very usable tools to provide ethics classes. I’ve started working on a solution for getting my 4 hour course online. In the meantime, I’m going to be teaching a 90 minute live webinar with At Peace Media.

Join me for a 90 minute ethics class on June 5th

Tools for Touch WebinarsMost of you who read my blog also use Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Pinterest or the like to promote your massage practice. I’ll be talking about some of the problems that can come up with using social media and how to use it while keeping your practice ethical. I’d love to have you join me!

You can save $5 by using the coupon code KELLI6.

Click on the link to register for my Ethics and Social Media class.

4 Responses to On teaching ethics

  1. Given that most charges and lawsuits against massage therapists are for ethical violations rather than harm caused by massage, it’s important that we all be really familiar with the range of issues we may face before they surprise us.

    I know that topics like ethics and even marketing aren’t as sexy as the latest modality, but they couldn’t be more important for a successful and trouble-free practice, so it’s great that you’ve developed a fun, interactive class for therapists. Looking forward to seeing what you have online.

    • Eric – you’re right. These subjects aren’t as sexy, but they could help therapists have a long lasting, thriving practice with very few interpersonal issues. I’m hoping the online course is as engaging as the live courses have been. We’re putting some interaction into the webinar and there is the ability to ask questions during the broadcast, so there will be ample opportunity for people to get involved.

  2. Interesting post. You never posted your name or who you are….and I got you email…but still no name.

    • I’m Kelli Wise, the person behind this blog. It’s good to see you found the post interesting and I hope to hear from you again.

"Dream large, laddie!" - Local Hero, 1983