Reviews

Book Review of The Ethics of Touch

AMTA - Maryland Chapter Newsletter
by Anita Benedictis,
1st Vice President, AMTA Maryland Chapter
Program Director, Massage Institute of Maryland

As bodyworkers and healers the issue of ethics has always been an important aspect in governing our profession but it also seems to loom over us like a large giant waiting to pound down its fist. Continuing education in the area of ethics and professionalism is certainly a strong tool in keeping therapists informed and aware but we only take these seminars every 2-3 years. Benjamin and Sohnen-Moe have written a text that can fill the gaps between ethics re-education sessions.

The Ethics of Touch is a book filled to the brim with information any massage therapist and other hands-on healers can use. The book does not waste a lot of time defining ethics, values, etc. but jumps right into areas that everyone--the therapist and consumer--should be aware. The chapter on boundaries covers not only physical, sexual and emotional but also intellectual and energetic (a subject often avoided but never forgotten).

Throughout the chapters the authors confront the common issues in regards to ethics but also expose the seldom-discussed areas that challenge our profession daily. I was surprised to find topics addressing individual therapists and their practice but also ways to handle situations in group practices, both amongst multi-massage therapist and also businesses with different health professionals in a setting together. Other topics investigated are: financial and business, scope of practice, dual relationships, communication and a special chapter on clients dealing with trauma and abuse.

Each chapter contains enlightening and practical exercises which help retain the material read but also can be incorporated into the massage therapy practice immediately. At the end of each chapter there are discussions questions and activities.

This book is well-organized and in-depth with its approaches and discussions of a wide range of ethical concerns. I consider this book a "must have" for any massage therapist to keep-and-use in their personal and business library.

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