Massage Therapy Programs Clinic Handbook

A. The Intern-Client Relationship

The following are guidelines and regulations regarding the relationship between the intern and the client, to which the intern must adhere:

  1. All required forms and records in a case must be kept current, including SOAPR notes.
  2. Discretion and respect for the confidentiality of the therapist-client relationship must be observed at all times. Discussions of interactions with clients should be confined to classroom and clinic settings only, and take place in a respectful manner at all times. Do not discuss client sessions outside of class/clinic. If you have concerns or questions about a specific session, please address them to your clinic supervisor.
  3. Clients are entitled to receive a full 30/60/90 minutes of treatment time on the table, not including the time it takes to interview them and for them to undress. If necessary, your session may run 5 minutes over into the time between clients in order to meet this obligation. Unless the client arrives late, you must plan your time to make sure your clients receive their full treatment. You should endeavor to greet clients in a timely manner, whenever possible.
  4. If a client arrives late, it is up to you to decide how much time on the table the client will receive, bearing in mind that maintaining a positive customer service relationship is essential. For example, if you feel you can run ten minutes into your charting time without seriously affecting your time management for the shift or your next client appointment time, by all means do a 30/60/90-minute session. If the client is significantly late (15 minutes or more) let them know directly how much time you can give. It is unprofessional behavior to avoid discussing time boundaries with your clients. If you need help with this, please feel free to your supervisor for help.
  5. Conversely, if a client is early, you are required to greet the client and begin the interview as soon as possible.
  6. You may not leave the clinic at the end of the shift until all your client records for the shift are completed and signed by your supervisor.
  7. You have 6.5 hours from the start of the shift to complete your charting and leave the clinic. If you are not finished with your charting by that time, you must leave clinic and return on the next business day to finish. Thus, you are encouraged to chart between clients whenever possible.
  8. Any paper which has a client’s name on it must be placed in the shredding box, located either behind the front desk or in the intern workroom.
  9. No intern will make a house call to treat a clinic client.
  10. You may not represent yourself as a licensed or certified massage therapist during the internship. This includes the use of unauthorized professional cards, printed checks, and letterheads, as well as verbal self-representations.
  11. As a clinic intern, you are encouraged to build your future MT practice beginning with your time in the Northwestern clinic system. Thus, you may hand out cards to your clinic clients from the 1st day of your first rotation, as long as the card clearly states “student intern” on it. It has happened that an intern develops a strong relationship with a client, and that client chooses to follow the intern after he/she graduates. You must provide the cards at your own expense (consider the many free or low-cost options found on the internet).

    If you would prefer not to make your own cards, you can also use the generic UHS appointment cards; ask the front desk staff where they are.

  12. Contagious Condition Policy: If you discover that your client has a contagious condition that is a systemic contraindication to massage either during your intake interview or during the massage, it is your obligation to directly inform them that the condition is present and that you cannot perform the massage.

    The most likely condition that might appear during a massage is lice.

    Lice are extremely contagious and a client may not be aware of having them. You will most likely see evidence of them while working on a client’s head or neck by seeing the tiny white eggs, called “nits”, at the base of their hair. You will need to tell the client that you have found “nits” and that the massage must end. Both you and the client will need to treat the lice to ensure that they are not spread. You will need to cancel any further massages you have that day until you have used a delousing shampoo and changed clothes.

  13. Client Sexual Behavior Policy and Procedures:

    In the event that a client engages in sexual behavior during a treatment session, it is your responsibility to confront the behavior verbally, end the massage, and request that the client dress, and immediately report the incident to supervising faculty. Clients who engage in inappropriate behavior will be prohibited from scheduling any subsequent appointments in the clinic and may be reported to local law enforcement.

    Client sexual behavior includes: sexual talk, masturbation, touching themselves or the intern/therapist inappropriately, requests to be allowed to wear suggestive clothing during the massage, or any other request of a sexual nature. It also includes nonverbal behavior like a client having an erection when you enter the room to begin the session. If you are unsure about whether the behavior is sexual, you must confront the client and determine what the behavior is. If you are too uncomfortable to verbally confront the client, leave the room and get your supervisor. It is your right to end a session if you suspect that the client’s intentions are sexual. If you feel physically threatened, leave the room immediately and alert college security and the supervising instructor. This policy protects the intern, supervisor, clinic, and university.