• Riley Schroeder

Establishing Boundaries

It’s very important to me that my clients and I maintain healthy boundaries.

“Clients come to a massage therapist with varying degrees of understanding and expectations, so having clearly understood boundaries can help set the right tone from the beginning. If the client is not aware of the boundaries (or that boundaries even exist!) it creates an environment where both the therapist and client will be outside of their comfort level.” [1]

What exactly do “boundaries” mean in regards to massage therapists/therapy?

Boundaries are physical and nonphysical limits determined by individuals to ensure security, safety and well-being. Therapists must be conscious of boundaries when interacting with clients and employ awareness in understanding boundaries created by clients. [2]

“Boundaries are violated when one person “crosses a line” by doing or saying something to another person without the other person’s consent. The person who holds the most power in a relationship is ultimately responsible when boundary violations take place.” [3]

As a practitioner, I am responsible for creating a safe environment for both the client and myself. Below, you will find some of the boundaries and guidelines that I want all my clients to be aware of so we can maintain the healthy therapeutic relationship I strive to have with each one of my clients.

1. Messaging

-Private messages should be reserved for inquiring about therapeutic massage or scheduling an appointment. Social & casual conversation can blur the line between being professional and looking for friendship or something more.

-Messages should be sent within normal business hours. Any messages sent outside of business hours may not be responded to until the next day. Work is important, but time for family and to wind down from a busy work day is equally as important for mental health.

2. Phone calls

In the wonderful world of texting and instant messaging, I haven’t actually received many actual phone calls. However, if you have attempted to call, chances are I didn’t answer. Here’s why: my phone is set to only ring and notify me when contacts or phone numbers I’ve already called/answered call me. This is due to the enormous amount of spam calls I receive. It is extremely likely that my phone didn’t even notify me you were calling. I also prefer messaging so that our entire conversation is available to view at any time. This helps me remember what exactly we discussed and helps protect both me and you. Messaging also makes it much easier to stay in contact when I have appointments and other work to complete.

3. Scheduling appointments

I require at least 12 hours notice to schedule appointments. This rule is in place for a couple of different reasons. 1. I may already have appointments set for the day 2. If I don’t have appointments set for the day, I usually have other plans in place 3. The majority of people who have requested same day appointments are not looking for a professional massage and I only provide professional, ethical massages. The exception to that rule will be on the occasion that I advertise that same day appointments are available.

4. Personal Questions

This one can be a little tricky. I don’t mind small talk during sessions if that’s how you want to spend your session. With that, naturally personal questions can come up simply out of habit, but there comes a point where personal questions can get too personal or become an interrogation. Just try and keep in mind that our relationship is one that is professional and that some things should be kept separate. This can even be a challenge for myself at times so feel free to hold me accountable as well.

5. Innuendos / Inappropriate Jokes / Flirting

Just to keep it short, not okay. Even through messages, even if they are just “jokes”, and even if you think we are comfortable enough with each other. I don’t find them funny and they make me uncomfortable.

I’m certainly not trying to scare any current or potential clients from scheduling with me. I just want to be as transparent as I possibly can about my own personal boundaries so they are not unintentionally crossed. “If a massage therapist does not honor healthy boundaries, such as by encouraging a friendship to develop, clients are taken out of the normal therapeutic relationship and thrust into a different, interactive, role where transference thrives.” [4] (More on transference later)

I wanted to go over these few here since these are some that I have experienced, but I do plan on having a shortened, simplified list of all boundaries and guidelines that will require a signature by all clients soon.


[2] [4]


32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All