Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How does reflective practice, supervision and the professional development policy, support professional practice?

The link between vital components such as reflective practice, supervision and ongoing professional development are important to ensure your business will continue to grow into a successfully well rounded professional practice.

Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is about looking at the way you currently do things and scrutinising every detail to identify your strengths and weaknesses within the entire process of running your business. By recognizing your flaws or strengths you can then make a conscious effort to improve or try a different approach to the way something is presently working for you. I consider this a hugely beneficial process especially when first starting out in the Massage industry. When first starting there are so many things you are trying to get right treatment wise that details start to slip, and by carrying out reflective practice by creating a feedback form to give to clients you can find out how others see your business. This could include questions about environment, behaviour, treatment and other aspects of their experience as a client; this will give you an idea of any weaknesses you have missed yourself to work on.


As a massage therapist I personally see supervision as a crucial element within the health industry because we deal with others emotions, energy and well being from people everyday. Supervision allows us time to discuss issues or any concerns we ourselves experience with a qualified trustworthy outsider and gain a different perspective we may have never thought of. Supervision can be in the form of just opening up to issues that have affected you and having someone listen, making frequent supervision beneficial to keeping an open and clear thought process needed to tackle day to day running of a professional well run practice.

Professional Development

Massage New Zealand (MNZ) recognises the need to keep MNZ therapists striving and enthusiastic towards Massage, they have set up a policy that is recognised by a points system, this is to ensure therapists continue to develop their skills and contribute to the professional future of Massage Industry in New Zealand.

I find this is an encouraging way to continually up-skill therapists once they are out practicing within the community and by boosting the public profile of Massage therapy within New Zealand by establishing a level of high standards that should be sought when choosing a therapist for treatment.

Reflective practice, Supervision and Professional practice are positive steps to be taken to ensure yourself, and your practice are maintained to a high quality, combined they all work to encourage a healthy sustainable positive environment within your business.

How can I as an individual massage therapist influence the development of government policy & laws that are supportive of the profession?

There are currently nine Laws and Policies in place to protect the New Zealand Health industry that our Government has developed for the public and practitioners to create a safe environment; however there is no set law or policy specific to Therapeutic Massage.

· Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995

· Consumer Guarantees Act 1993

· Medicines Act 1981

· Privacy Act 1993

· Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994

· Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act 2003

· Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001

· Local Body Requirements

· Occupational Health and Safety requirements

These nine policies and laws are only a guide for Massage Therapy and I feel are too broad, allowing anyone no matter their experience or training level to start up a business thus putting all Therapists in a collective box. This could negatively influence our industry and have a long lasting effect on our profession, with any future progress from professionally trained Therapists harshly criticised and not taken seriously.

As an individual I would be interested in actively supporting the development of any government law or policy that would protect the reputation of Massage Therapy.

I feel I can do this by:

  • · Displaying Certification of my relevant training so the public can read my credentials.
  • · Referring to others who are both educated and professional within their chosen fields of expertise, and informing our clients why we have chosen that particular healthcare provider to ensure they too see the importance of checking credentials before committing to treatment.
  • · Educate clients of the different types of massage therapies out there and how they differentiate from each other, (e.g. Thermal Stone therapy does not only involve sitting hot stones on the body and leaving the client for an hour) and the levels of skill needed to carry out the session, for example beauty trained therapist should not administer rehabilitation therapy without relevant training.
  • · By joining Massage New Zealand and encouraging other therapists too as well so we can improve numbers to have a stronger voice in society.
  • · Become involved and encourage others to join local practitioners who feel the same to gain support from local counsels.
  • · Enhance my own understanding of law/policy change by educating myself so I have a better perception.

I conclude that there justified concern for the need to have a system in place to regulate or rate therapists to assist the public when choosing a therapist of the quality they should expect to receive. Massage Therapists in modern society can influence the progression of obtaining Laws and Policies if they work as a unit to improve the safety of the public and provide protection to ourselves and the “Massage Therapy” name within our industry.