Due diligence questions

#‎massagecollegeplan‬ ‪#‎accountability‬ ‪#‎EarningYourVoteEveryday‬ ‪#‎DueDiligence‬

There is a very good message in my personal messages this morning, and I have no idea at all why Facebook won’t let me answer it by just responding to the message. One of those technological mysteries, I guess.

Since Facebook won’t let me respond to the message, and since the questions the person raises are so important–not only for this project, but for anything that you are considering investing in or donating to–I will answer it here.

I’m not naming the person, because it’s bad manners on the Internet to quote private correspondence by name without permission. The thing is, if I could ask for permission, I wouldn’t need to, because I could just answer in that case.

So I will quote the message anonymously, to avoid outing their identity, and state that I co-sign it 100%.

These questions asked deserve a thoughtful and considered response, and I am happy that this person asked them.


(begin message)
I really love the”idea” of helping veterans, or people that have experienced trama.wouldn’t it be a wonderful world in which we could practice this. My concern is, what have you looked into to find out if it is within a massage therapists scope of practice. One must probably have a degree in psychology to start cracking into tramatized people’s mind and psyche,bit to mention learning touch! Please tell me what you have accomplished legally before you ask people for money. Especially people like massage therapists, whose hearts seem to always want to help others. Thank you for your response.
(end message)


These are excellent questions. The process this person is carrying out is called “due diligence”, and it is something that you should always do before you donate to or invest in anyone asking you for money.

“Due diligence” means investigating a person (or company) so that you understand the costs, risks, and benefits of what you are being asked to do, so that you make a fully-informed decision.

The next comments will answer this person’s due diligence questions.

My concern is, what have you looked into to find out if it is within a massage therapists scope of practice.

Thank you for raising this question. It is crucially important.

What I am proposing is within a massage therapist’s scope of practice, since it involves nothing more than touch therapy, awareness of the client, and sensitivity to the client.

I am very aware of the risk of trying to play doctor or to play psychotherapist, and a recurring question that I ask in all the CE courses that I take, is, “How can a massage therapist put these ideas into action without crossing a boundary and exceeding their scope of practice by acting as a psychotherapist?”.

The answer that I consistently get back from my teachers is that being a good and attentive listener is not practicing psychotherapy. If we stay out of the business of giving advice, or of deliberately probing to try to get an emotional reaction from clients, then we are remaining within our scope of practice.

I know that there are CE teachers out there who teach MTs to try to provoke emotional reactions from clients. I consider this practice wrong and dangerously out-of-scope, and I would never in a million years advocate that we MTs try to do any such thing.

One must probably have a degree in psychology to start cracking into tramatized people’s mind and psyche,bit to mention learning touch!

The thing is, people who have been traumatized are already coming to us, and we have not had the training to be prepared to give them what they need.

That is not at all a slam on massage schools. It is just a fact that–as you say–this is a specialized area, and in the time MT schools have with students, it is just not possible to do justice to that topic, and also cover everything else that they need to cover.

I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I do work with psychologists–Lane Gerber, Christopher Moyer, and Christian Alexander, just to name a few of them–and I check in with them a lot to make sure that what I am developing, practicing, and teaching does not cross any ethical lines out of MT scope of practice.

I also regularly take CE classes from psychologists, social workers, and veterans’ advocates at the Veterans Training Support Center to add to what I am developing, and I actively touch base with them for reality checks on what I am doing.

Many of their classes, as well as the Mental Health First Aid class that I will refer to in the next comment, are designed to give effective tools precisely to people who aren’t mental-health specialists, to raise awareness of and compassion toward people who are already coming to us, and bringing their situations into the clinic where we are already seeing them.

Please tell me what you have accomplished legally before you ask people for money.

My pleasure.

I work with veterans ranging from WWII retirees to young Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of OIF/OEF in my clinical massage practice.

I have completed multiple short CE courses through the Veterans Training Support Center, courses that are designed to raise awareness of military sexual trauma, PTSD, and other veterans’ concerns among the general public and people working with veteran populations.

I have completed a course in Mental Health First Aid for Veterans–also designed for the general public–and am preparing to qualify as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, so that I can incorporate that body of work into the CE that I offer.

I presented a CE course on Trauma-Aware Massage Therapy, along with veteran’s advocate Joshua Penner and psychologist Christian Alexander on June 30 at the North Seattle Crisis Center, and we are in the process of scheduling more dates to repeat that course.

I requested the Department of Health in Olympia review my course offerings to ensure that they are all within the scope of practice of LMPs in Washington state, and was told that they do not offer this service.

I am designing a curriculum for my school that incorporates elements of psychology into advanced-practice professional massage therapy education, and in parallel, I am pursuing an advocacy track to get this qualification recognized by the state.

Especially people like massage therapists, whose hearts seem to always want to help others.

Yes, this is a double-edged sword, all right.

You may have seen my critiques of how some MTs sometimes exceed their scope of practice by diagnosing over the Internet based on a description, or by prescribing herbal or other alternative remedies.

I believe that these excesses and missteps come from a place of wanting to do the right thing, but not having adequate preparation to do that.

I am committed to addressing this challenge through a strengths-based approach–to take this good impulse, and to channel it away from exceeding scope of practice, and into practicing as a caring, compassionate, humane person, safe for a traumatized person to trust, and who just also happens to be a massage therapist.

Thank you for your response.

It is my pleasure.

Thank you for modelling such a superb example of doing due diligence, and for giving me an opportunity to clarify these very important issues.

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