Preparing to Handle Uncomfortable Situations: Violence, Sexual Advances, etc.

One of the inherent risks in the massage profession is the risk of having to deal with sexual advances made by your clientele.  The chance of this happening to a massage therapist is very high, and it is likely a question of when it will happen rather than if.

Massage is a physical and intimate activity involving the human touch. In many ways, it is a sensual activity which is further enhanced by the ambience, often times in dim settings with light music playing in the background.

Although we hear of incidents occurring in every setting, including medical massage facilities and professional offices, these types of incidents are more likely to happen in spa like facilities, where the clientele expects relaxation and where massage is viewed as more of a luxury amenity.

It is important to understand the likelihood of periodically having to deal with sexual advances before entering this profession. If you are someone who cannot handle these situations, or cannot learn to adapt to these situations, it is highly likely that you will have a difficult time coping in your profession.

Consider these situations for example and imagine yourself in the therapist’s position. How comfortable will you be? How well will you be able to handle the situation on hand?

  • Scenario 1: A patient leaves a $100 bill on your table, strips naked and asks you what can they can get for $100.
  • Scenario 2: A male patient tells a female practitioner that his doctor prescribed his prostates to be massaged as a result of his medical condition.
  • Scenario 3: A female patient asks a male massage practitioner to massage her breasts because of a medical condition she has – of course following her physician’s directive.
  • Scenario 4: A male patient continuously asks his female massage therapists to give him “happy endings”, or whether she offers “happy endings”.

Then there are the less severe situations where a client continues to ask their therapist out on a date.

These are all very real scenarios that can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re not one to have a hard skin or the ability to laugh it off and/or rebut it with something to deflect the matter. Of course you can always straight out refuse services and ask the client to leave, but this can often lead to even more discomfort and sometimes even provoke violence.

The best ways to handle such situations, if you are ok with the of course, are to train yourself to laugh them off and practice various rebuttals to some of the most common sexual advances that can be made by massage clientele. Quick, prepared remarks can quickly deflect the topic and shift the conversation to a direction you prefer. This is where the importance of developing your social skills can come handy.

Again, it is likely when and not if you will experience sexual advances and requests made of you. The sooner you start accepting and preparing yourself for this the better off you will be later on.

Many aspiring therapists just know that they cannot deal with such situations, and because of that often choose to practice massage in confined medical facilities treating patients or not pursue massage as a career path at all.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Career Considerations

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