When you experience sexual assault in any profession, it can be unsettling or traumatizing. Massage therapists in particular are in a highly vulnerable position with clients, and the aftermath of inappropriate clients can make it hard to continue your work. Here are some common interventions that may be helpful if you practice massage therapy in Florida.
Make your boundaries known
One of the most important things you can do as a massage therapist is to set clear boundaries ahead of time. It’s important to communicate them clearly and take prompt action when those boundaries are crossed. You should know in advance what you’re going to do if it ever happens to you. The most effective intervention may vary depending on the specifics of the situation and how severe it is.
A good place to start is to tell the client you’re not comfortable with what’s happening. If necessary, you can escalate the situation and inform them that they have to leave.
You should make sure to end the massage right away and get out of the treatment room if you’re uncomfortable. You can then communicate with the client from the next room. It’s perfectly acceptable to close the door and do whatever else you need to do to feel safe.
After that, you should be sure to report the sexual misconduct to your supervisor right away if you have one. It’s a good idea to contact law enforcement as well.
One of the keys is to use assertive behavior, which is the happy medium between passive and aggressive actions. Your assertiveness should come across in your words as well as body language. Take a relaxed yet grounded stance, and use direct eye contact as much as possible with a firm tone of voice.
Be straightforward and let the client know what’s happening. Ask them questions that clarify their intent.
No matter how much training you’ve had, it’s never easy to deal with inappropriate massage clients. But there are still actions you can take to intervene and prevent this from happening to you.