Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

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Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby rachrocks on Sun May 30, 2010 2:37 pm

I am disappointed, angry(at my client and myself), super grossed out and feel violated to say the least. I have been practicing massage for six years ,have thankfully have never had to deal with anything like this before and because of that I'm not sure how to proceed. I know I never want to treat this client again. So how do I terminate the relationship while protecting myself and my practice from any negative backlash? I should probably tell you about the unfortunate incident that brings me here asking for your input....

I don't advertise, I'm strictly word of mouth and have a wonderful clientele because of this but that also means that everyone is interconnected which is one reason that disposing of this rotten apple in disguise client could have a negative impact on other positive client relationships.

The client I'm writing about was referred to me by his long time best friend that is a client of mine as well as my old graduate services advisor from massage school. Their wives are clients of mine as well as friends of theirs. I first saw him 2 1/2 years ago- he's an older man, retired police officer! He still does some police work that requires him to sit for long periods of time so he has LB issues. When a client complains of LB issues one area I like to address is the gluteal muscles but first I ask permission as not everyone is comfortable with that. I also have the client place a bolster or pillow under their hips for additional support of their lumbar region while in the prone position.

The first time I gave him a massage he started to twitch about when I began massaging his glutes. I wasn't too alarmed at first because I find some twitching to be a common occurrence when these muscles are worked on but his twitching was different,almost spasm like, so I asked him if he was o.k. and if I was hurting him, he said no and that he was fine. So I continued the work I was doing but the twitching began to make me uncomfortable like maybe it was somehow sexual- so I decided to move on. I looked at the sheets after he left and there was no evidence that he was overly enjoying the massage so I dismissed it as just the way his body responds to the work.

The next time he came for an apt. the twitching occurred again and again I felt uncomfortable even though nothing appeared to be going on. I decided to continue seeing him as a client but that I would just work on other areas as soon as the twitching would begin. I didn't feel right about not addressing his gluteal region at all because I saw it as a contributing factor in his LB pain- but the twitching made me uncomfortable to the point that I began to dread his apts. because I somehow had to give him the therapy he needed,not be uncomfortable or make him feel like he was doing anything wrong with the way his body reacted to the massage and it stressed me out.

I decided to not address his glutes the session before last as he reported that his LB was doing pretty well but his hamstrings were tight. I was relieved at the thought of a twitch free session but he still did it! and more than usual-this time while I worked on his lumbar and thoracic region! It creeped me out so much that I was contemplating not working on him anymore realizing it's not worth the stress it's causing me- that is until his wife called to schedule him for a birthday massage. I rationalized- nothing seemed to be happening, he and his wife were really nice so I decided to give him another massage- ignoring my gut once again.

I saw him yesterday for his birthday massage. He reported that his LB and hamstrings were tight and when I asked him if he wanted to start face down or face up he said face down(he always says face up so this was a change) he also spent quite a bit of time in the bathroom before his session began(these are all hindsight observations). Anyway,I worked on him and I was happy that there was barely any twitching.
When it was time for him to flip over I took the pillow from him that was stabilizing his hips/lumbar region and something wet got on my hand! I was too horrified to look but I could smell it! Gross! I was in shock! Really? I thought- I must be mistaken! At that point I should have asked him to leave (hence my anger at myself) but instead I tried banish the thought and not throw up,quickly sanitized my hand and proceeded with the massage. After he left I reluctantly checked the sheets and pillow case and found a lot of disgusting evidence that he did in fact ejaculate! My gut was right and I chose to ignore it(more anger towards myself)- all this time he has been getting some sort of sexual pleasure out of the massage therapy sessions. He's a retired police officer so he KNOWS that his behavior is illegal! If this was some sort of fluke(which I don't think it was) due to a medical condition he should have made me aware of this when I first saw him- regardless I NEVER want to see him again. How should I handle this? I really appreciate your advice.
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby JasonE on Mon May 31, 2010 12:45 am

This stuff gets me BOILING! :smt013 :smt013 :smt013 :smt013

This ex-cop not only knew he was doing wrong... he premeditated it. From what you have described, it sounds like he's been escalating towards this for a while, and finally chose his birthday massage as the day to "reward" himself. :irked:

Don't hesitate to contact this person and make it clear that they are never to return. He may not care much about your feelings, but he damn sure doesn't want word of his actions getting around. Chances are good that he'll simply stop coming and not say anything. However, you must take a VERY STRONG stance and DO NOT WAVER OR HESITATE.

A simple phone call should suffice. Be certain you have the offender on the line, then give him both barrels: The facts and the consequences of his actions. Something like, "I found ejaculate on my table linens after your last massage. I have a zero tolerance policy. You are not permitted to return to my establishment. If you do I will treat it as trespassing." You can then end the call. Don't expect an apology, and don't let him off the hook if he does offer an apology.

If he makes any attempt to rationalize his behaviors or to make you back down, simply restate your ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY and quickly end the call. Don't threaten to make his actions known to others, but neither should you say that you won't. Just stick to the facts and the consequences and you'll be fine.

My guess is that he'll stop coming but not say anything to your other clients.

If you haven't already done so, make certain you have the entire incident described in detail in your SOAP notes. Once you have had a conversation and fired this client, document that conversation and add that to his file too.
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer
http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby riversinger on Mon May 31, 2010 8:47 am

:iagree: Jason has said it all.

Call the perpetrator - because that is exactly what he is - and lay it on the line. Just take a few minutes to write out exactly what you want to say before hand, so you don't get shaky about how you state the facts. You may even want to state due to the evidence you left behind, I consider this an act of perpetration (To be responsible for or guilty of an error or crime). This is a term any cop would be very familiar with! It is a somewhat subtle way of stating you are well aware of what he did & that it is considered to be illegal.

Let us know how it goes for you. And don't forget to breathe, & take some Rescue Remedy too!
The song of the spirit is as the song
of the river, on a journey back to source.
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby rachrocks on Mon May 31, 2010 1:56 pm

First, I want to thank you both for your input and support. You gave me a solid starting point on what to say and helped me find the strength to deal with this. I find confrontation to be extremely difficult and always want to believe the best of people which sometimes, like in this case, causes me to overlook the negative warning signs at my own expense.
I found myself wanting to wait to contact him until tomorrow as it's a holiday weekend and he has family around but then I realized that once again I was prolonging my suffering to spare him the discomfort and possible embarrassment! He obviously never gave me the same respect! I didn't do anything wrong and I'd had enough! So, as per your great advice, I wrote down what I was going to say and called his cell phone. He didn't answer so I left a message. I realize now that I probably should have asked him to call me back but my adrenaline was pumping and I just wanted to get it over with. If his wife hears it-oh,well. She should probably know anyway- again, I did nothing wrong. If I do end up losing clients, than they aren't the type of clients I want anyway.
Here's what I said minus the names : "Hello ****, This is (me). After your massage Saturday I found ejaculate on the table linens. I consider this to be an act of perpetration and have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior. Therefore, I will no longer provide you with massage therapy and any further contact from you will be viewed as harassment and handled accordingly. I was gracious enough to wait until today to notify you but too disturbed to wait any longer. I trust you understand and will comply." I then hung up. He called me a few minutes later but I didn't pick up. He didn't leave a message. So he either had yet to hear the message I left or chose to not respect me once again. In any case, I do hope this is over. Today I stopped being a victim and took my power back! Thank you so much for helping me do so. :smt023
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby ThatsTheRub on Mon May 31, 2010 1:59 pm

Jason's spot on. There is no room for this behavior in this business and by not addressing it directly you're leaving the door open for him to think it's ok to do to another therapist once you are unavailable. I suggest you keep it short to the point however, simply inform him that you will not being seeing him any longer and that he is no longer welcome in your establishment. Then go get yourself a stiff drink and remember that this is his issue, NOT yours.

Good luck!
That's the Rub!
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby ThatsTheRub on Mon May 31, 2010 2:00 pm

Or you could just post at the same time i did and show me exactly how to do it. Well done!
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby rachrocks on Mon May 31, 2010 2:07 pm

Thanks and cheers! :beerchug:
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby JasonE on Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:07 am

rachrocks wrote:First, I want to thank you both for your input and support. You gave me a solid starting point on what to say and helped me find the strength to deal with this. I find confrontation to be extremely difficult and always want to believe the best of people which sometimes, like in this case, causes me to overlook the negative warning signs at my own expense.
I found myself wanting to wait to contact him until tomorrow as it's a holiday weekend and he has family around but then I realized that once again I was prolonging my suffering to spare him the discomfort and possible embarrassment! He obviously never gave me the same respect! I didn't do anything wrong and I'd had enough! So, as per your great advice, I wrote down what I was going to say and called his cell phone. He didn't answer so I left a message. I realize now that I probably should have asked him to call me back but my adrenaline was pumping and I just wanted to get it over with. If his wife hears it-oh,well. She should probably know anyway- again, I did nothing wrong. If I do end up losing clients, than they aren't the type of clients I want anyway.
Here's what I said minus the names : "Hello ****, This is (me). After your massage Saturday I found ejaculate on the table linens. I consider this to be an act of perpetration and have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior. Therefore, I will no longer provide you with massage therapy and any further contact from you will be viewed as harassment and handled accordingly. I was gracious enough to wait until today to notify you but too disturbed to wait any longer. I trust you understand and will comply." I then hung up. He called me a few minutes later but I didn't pick up. He didn't leave a message. So he either had yet to hear the message I left or chose to not respect me once again. In any case, I do hope this is over. Today I stopped being a victim and took my power back! Thank you so much for helping me do so. :smt023


Great job!! It is hard to have a conversation or leave a message like this, but SO much better than suffering in silence! You have done the right thing. :grin:
Jason Erickson, NCTMB, ACE-CPT, AIS-TA
Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer
http://www.CSTMinnesota.com

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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby Vivian on Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:35 am

again, I did nothing wrong. If I do end up losing clients, than they aren't the type of clients I want anyway.



That's the right attitute!

As MT's we are care givers and can somtimes give to much, you must protect and respect yourself. And that is just what you did.
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby riversinger on Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:34 am

We're all proud of you for taking action!
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby Timedess on Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:32 am

Good job! These are the hardest things to learn about being in business for oneself, I think- how to be "mean enough" to keep those boundaries intact.
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Re: Need help- client crossed boundary-sexual content

Postby mtnlionz on Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:25 pm

Good job, rachrocks!
And by handling this directly with this client, you declared your energetic boundary and strengthened your personal field. You are less likely to have this kind of thing occur because you made a statement, you believed it, and that's the new vibe that surrounds you.
You DO rock :grin:
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