Book Review of The Ethics of Touch

Massage Message
July/August 2003 Vol. 18, No. 4
by Michael McGillicuddy, FSMTA State President

Having been in business for myself for the last thirty years and learning much about ethics through the school of hard knocks, I found The Ethics of Touch, written by Ben E. Benjamin, Ph.D. and Cherie Sohnen-Moe, to be a remarkable book. All business owners and employees want to behave in an ethical manner, but it is not always clear how to arrive at the proper behaviors. This book provides the tools to clarify ethical behavior.

The authors seem to always touch on the right subjects throughout the book, from the issues of boundaries between client and therapist to the topic of sex. Many of us can remember a few occasions before, during, or after a massage where you or the client instinctively felt uncomfortable about the interaction that took place. Chapter Two discusses the topic of boundaries, explaining what boundaries are, the types of boundaries, how they develop, what boundary crossings and violations are, and why they occur and how to establish, maintain and change boundaries. After reading Chapter Two, you may realize why things felt uncomfortable and how to correct the problem. Chapter Five discusses the topics of Sex, Touch, and Intimacy, subjects that lead to much of the confusion in society about the massage industry. By discussing each topic separately and at length, the book helps the therapist to discover and dispel much of that confusion. It is remarkably instructive on how to desexualize the touch experience and the topic of sexual misconduct. With chapter highlights, and discussion questions and activities at the end of each chapter, The Ethics of Touch is a great textbook for massage therapy schools and an excellent source of ethical behavior for practicing therapists no matter how long they have been in the industry.

The $28.00 cost is a good investment to start you on the road to ethical practices, and a successful massage practice. I highly recommend that everyone take the time to read this book; if you are able to gain just one new idea from the book, it more than pays for itself. I give The Ethics of Touch two thumbs up!!!!

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