The relationship between a massage therapist and client needs to have clear-cut boundaries. These boundaries may include, but are not limited to, establishing clear policies and procedures for payment agreements, late fees, cancellation policies and fees, session length, dual relationships, dating clients and inappropriate sexual behavior.
One effective way of making boundary policies clear from the beginning is to create a list of boundaries and policies and make sure your clients are aware of them. To ensure you and the client are on the same page, a signed agreement can be implemented, so both parties know what the boundaries are. No matter how clear you may think a boundary is or how confusing a boundary might appear to be, always articulate the boundaries in such a way that everyone can understand them.
The importance of developing clearly defined healthy boundaries helps protect the physical and emotional safety of massage clients and massage therapists. When clearly understood boundaries are intact, therapists and clients create a physically and emotionally safe place in which both parties can allow healing to occur in a trusting environment.
Ariana Vincent, L.M.T., M.T.I., N.C.T.M.B., is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor and workshop leader based in Austin, Texas. Learn more about her at www.arianavincent.com.