Do your Clients Respect Massage?

by Oct 5, 2020Boundaries, Mental Self Care

You’ve probably heard that dirty word “solicitation” thrown around a bit, and while some therapists know that these clients have ill intent. some have trouble weeding out the bad apples from the get go. . .

. . . and worse, how to back out of a situation physically when solicitation happens.


In this show, I talk with my good friend Joyce Gauthier! You may know her as the Sailing Massage Therapist and from her other brand Respect Massage.

We discuss potential red flags in your pre-screening call, key words that may hint to session intent, how to be prepared if disaster does strike, as well as some cautious and hazardous stories from Joyce herself!


Solicitation does happen – although maybe not as frequent as one might think – and it is important to be equipped with the skills to be able to diffuse a potentially disastrous situation.

Where do you begin though?

. . . It starts with your phone call or consultation.

If they are first time clients, and you are unsure – I would try to do as much of it over the phone as possible.

Prescreen your client from the get-go

This is an incredibly important process because you are feeling out the room and getting to know the client and what they want out of the session.

Joyce mentions that it is important to listen for keywords in their description of session goals, like:

  • Unwind
  • Relax
  • Release
  • even Detox

This doesn’t automatically mean that they will have ill intent, but this is still important to keep in mind.

It is also equally important how you phrase your marketing or the verbiage that you use in your professional speak. It is sad – but well meaning words can be largely misconstrued to mean something entirely different to that person.

You can use terms like: structural, trigger point, pain specialized, (insert your niche) specialized, integrated, etc.

So you’ve done your best to get a feel for what they want out of the session. What else can you do? 

Read further!

Make it known exactly what you do

Joyce mentions that she worked for many years under a chiropractor and as you might have guessed – specialized in pain management, and one of her “niches” was neck work.

That is what many of her clients came to her for and often expected. When you are sought after because of what you professionally specialize in. . . that speaks volumes in the type of clientele that are gravitated toward you.

You’ve probably heard “Oh yeah. . . My best friend also has low back pain and I thought of her the last time I was in. She needs this!”

It is so important to have a niche, not only for defining your audience, but for your livelihood.

It’s a lot harder to get burnt out doing what you love rather than working with people that make your skin crawl or doing that modality that you hate over and over.

Actions you can take in session

All has seemed well and reasonable so far. You start your session and about half way through, your client starts becoming aroused. The client proceeds to try and make a pass at you physically and verbally.

This is the point where many therapists freeze up and are unsure what to do.

Perhaps it’s the thought of losing out on that money if you walk away. It’s $30 on top of what you normally get paid for the treatment. . 

Maybe you are too in shock that it has just happened.

Whatever the case may be. . . This sort of behavior is never welcomed and never will be. You are well within your rights to get up and go.

What to say

Lie if you have to, but diffuse the situation by leaving.

You can say you are uncomfortable and that the session is done immediately.

Or you can say that you have an emergency call.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t second guess the decision – get out of there.


Security options

Joyce says in the episode that you can install a panic button(s) somewhere in your treatment room (underneath your table, near the door, etc.)

Check out some of these awesome panic buttons and security systems here.

These are important to have because you can either notify law enforcement or any other family member/friend to let them know that something has happened and that you may need help right away.

You can also let your family or friends know exactly where you are going and text them before and after the treatment.


Still need some help handling these situations? 

It just so happens that Joyce has an in depth 2 CE hour course dedicated to this very topic and the whole goal is to help educate not only therapists but clients in order to change the whole narrative and overall view of massage. 

Couldn’t have asked for more for our industry. You can definintely say I am on board.

This course is available for $44 (which is a steal!) and you can find it here – I do receive a small commission for it!

I want to hear from you!

Have you ever run into solicitation in your career? How exactly did you handle it? What parameters did you have set in place? Comment below!


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About Me

My name is Zack Mayfield and I am in the constant pursuit to help each and every therapist achieve strength, better self-care and longevity in their career!

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