A dual relationship occurs when a friend becomes a client, or visa versa. The ethics regarding dual relationships has shifted away from the black and white. To some, this may not be a big deal. However, things can get complicated as boundaries get blurred.
For example, I ran into a new client at my kids' school concert. She's recently relocated here and we have a lot in common; she asked about getting together for lunch. She could be a new friend as well as a client as long as we respect the boundaries for each role.
- Dating is NOT an option. This is one of the few written-in-stone rules about dual relationships. Clients may not, under any circumstances, become romantically involved with their massage therapist. Legally and ethically speaking, this is absolutely 100% forbidden. A massage therapist may give their partner a massage but not in a professional capacity.
- Privacy matters. If I run into a client outside of work, I won't ask about a bad back or shoulder pain. Anything you say during a massage session is kept confidential. You may introduce those topics into conversation if you wish but I won't bring them up. On your end, please don't pry into my personal life. I will share what I feel comfortable sharing with you.
- Allow me to have flaws. At work, I present myself as a professional with a positive outlook. For the most part, my personality remains the same in all areas of my life. However, I am not perfect and clients who have put me on a pedestal may become disillusioned when they realize this. Sometimes I lose my temper with my kids at the grocery store. Sometimes I drink at the bar and sing karaoke. I have a twisted sense of humor and enjoy vulgar jokes. In short, I'm human. This is something to think about before "friending" me on Facebook.
- Make an appointment if you need one. Social events are not appropriate times to ask me to give you a massage. Instead of allowing me downtime to relax and unwind, you are asking me to continue working. I'm sorry your shoulder hurts and, while I love what I do, you still need to make an appointment for me to work on it. I'd be happy to set up an appointment but don't pressure me to massage you right then and there.
- Pay the rates advertised. I won't devalue your career by asking you to work for a discount or for free. Please show me the same courtesy. I had a hard time learning the ethics of money because I understand what it's like to need something you can't always afford. I have affordable options in place for massage services already. My mother doesn't get a discount. Neither will you.