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Part 2: Keeping Clients Safe

How to Avoid Violating Client Boundaries

TASA ID: 4192

In Part One of “Keeping Clients Safe,” we discussed how to avoid injuring clients. In Part Two, we will look at another way we can protect clients by attending to their personal and emotional safety. A successful practice is one where all participants—clients and therapists—respect and value each other’s personal boundaries.

Part 1: Keeping Clients Safe

How to Avoid Client Injuries

TASA ID: 4192

Few things are worse than asking a returning client how they feel after a session and having them reply: “I don’t know what you did, but my pain is much, much worse.” Every therapist I know sincerely wants to help their clients feel better, whether the treatment is geared toward relaxation or a specific injury or pain. Unfortunately, in my work as an expert witness, I have seen many cases of well-meaning therapists who have seriously injured their clients.

In one case, a therapist intended to stretch a client’s shoulder, yet pulled on the client’s arm with such force that the client needed two surgeries over the course of one year to fix the damage. In another case, a therapist’s aggressive approach to working an aching forearm left that client needing six months to recover from complete loss of strength due to nerve damage. I also know of several cases where clients presented with broken ribs as a result of overly vigorous massages.

In addition to the horrific experience, pain, disability, and expenses incurred by the clients, these cases also resulted in lawsuits, damage to the therapists’ reputations, and loss of a professional licensure to practice. In some cases, careers were prematurely ended. What might be to blame? A lack of knowledge? An inflated ego? Poor judgment? Low-quality education? Inadequate skill? It’s hard to know, but here are some guidelines to help prevent this from happening to you.

Clients Crossing Boundaries

TASA ID: 4192

Thanks to the women of the #MeToo movement, who have courageously exposed rampant sexual harassment and assault, our society is being forced to confront this upsetting reality and change it for future generations. The massage treatment room is a microcosm of the greater society, so we sadly find the same types of issues there. Much like in the greater community, more attention needs to be paid to this phenomenon in the field of massage.

Police Officers Duty to Intervene

TASA ID: 321

Police departments in the United States are currently dealing with many issues including appropriate “use of force,” “defunding issues” and whether or not to intervene on another officer’s actions which is called “duty to intervene.” Since many recent encounters involving police officers’ actions have resulted in deaths and serious injuries, these responsibilities and actions have come into the public awareness and are undergoing a great deal of scrutiny. Questions have arisen regarding if their actions are justified, or if the other police officers on the scene had a duty to intervene. The George Floyd case is one of the most notable ones involving police actions and non-interventions, but unfortunately there are many others.

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