Do your clients know their rights?

Most practitioners are very good at educating their clients on what to expect from their treatments and getting informed consent. And some are also good at educating clients about their office policies and procedures, to help avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings.

Since the majority of practitioners are ethical and professional, it probably doesn’t even occur to them to discuss the subject of sexual misconduct in health care. Yet, many people who are committed to their wellness see a variety of healthcare professionals and some of those may not be acting appropriately. Do you consider it your responsibility to help clients know their rights?

In general, we believe that education is never wasted. And given the high numbers of people who have been physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused is so high, it’s important to give them resources and knowledge so they can be safe.

In the Appendix of The Ethics of Touch, there is a document called the “Client Bill of Rights.” It discusses broken boundaries, consumer rights, and the warning signs of sexual inappropriateness, so that clients know what some of the common experiences are and possible actions to take in case their rights have been violated.

If you are interested, you can download your own copy of the client bill of rights here. It is recommended that you share this document with your clients as a part of your regular policies and information that you share with new clients.

We are really interested in getting your feedback on this. Do you think it is your responsibility as a massage or bodywork practitioner to educate clients on this subject? The truth is, sexual misconduct exists everywhere in health care. But, because of the particularly intimate nature of massage and bodywork sessions, many practitioners are nervous about these type of conversations. It’s our opinion that if more of us took a proactive stance in educating our clients about their rights, our profession would be less and less connected to the stigma of sexual activity and misconduct.

Just a thought… what are your thoughts?