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Posted by: Nuro Weidemann, 28 Jun 2006 11:51AM
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Massage Therapy consultation form

My question is regards consultation forms when working in a clinic. When working back to back, I am always caught between running quickly through few routine questions, which a lot of my first time clients like because they want to have as much time for their massage and don't want to go through a long questionnaire. That takes a couple of minutes at the most. Or doing it right and having a detailed consultation which takes about 10 minutes. I have started to ask first time clients to come in earlier and fill out the form by themselves. Nothing really sits right so far. What is the legal requirement for a consultation form? I rang up Embody and someone there told me that there isn't a legal requirement. As long as I have all 'relevant information' on the form. The person on the phone couldn't specify 'relevant information'. So I am still in the dark. I would be grateful for feedback. Thank You!


Clare Humphrey
28 Jun 2006 5:00PM

I always carry out a full consultation with a new client as I find it helps to get to know them and the clients seem to find it reassuring. I have also found that some contraindications are not necessarily revealed unless you ask the leading questions. I use a form based on the sample on the ITEC website (see the Holistic Massage syllabus). This also provides suggested wording for an indemity clause to be included at the end which the client should sign. Hope this helps. Clare
Edith Maskell
29 Jun 2006 5:21AM

Good morning. During your training one hopes you would have been given an example of an initial consultation form which would have all the "relevant information" which a practitioner could obtain from a client. You should also be recording after EVERY session, what work you did, what reactions (if any) the client experienced and what advice you gave. What did you do when you were carrying out your case studies as a student? Similarly with follow up sessions, you should start by recording how the client is that day, how they got on after your last session etc. The advice you were given about there not being a "legal requirement" is not strictly true. As you will be aware, complementary therapists are not, as yet, regulated. Hence there is no "legal requirememnt". However, as a practitioner working with the public, you do have a duty of care and responsibility to ensure you are obtaining all the information which is appropriate to the work you are doing with any client. If you do not take the time to carry out this important task and a client were to sue you have worked with them - how would you defend yourself in court if you had no properly recorded details? This could up to 3 years after the event. Without properly and accurately recorded notes, you would not have a leg to stand on! The consultation period is the time when you ascertain whether you can or can not work with that client or whether you should refer to another professional or back to the GP. It's also the time when you build up trust and rapport. Vital if you want them to become long term clients. Studies have shown that one of the reasons complementary therapists are sued less often than other professionals is because of the time they spend with their clients in building relationships. This can not happen in 10 minutes and it is even more important when you are working with first time clients! I always think that if you give them a little time now, you will be rewarded later as this is an opportunity to impress them. It is the time when they decide whether they will come back or not. Yes they want to have time for a good massage, so either make the first appointment a longer session and charge for your extra time or tell them that the first treatment will be shorter. That way, you are impressing on them that you are expecting to see them again! Practitioners should not be touching members of the public without knowing all the facts first. Due time and attention must be paid to the consultation process and carried out as part and parcel of the first session. Asking clients to complete the information in the absence of the practitioner is not ideal. Discussion around each question often reveals far more "relevant" information than they will write down themselves. It's my experience that people hate form filling so use that time wisely to get to know their needs rather than treat is as a process which is a waste of time and take the pressure off yourself! If you are rushed in your approach, that will come across to them. Not ideal in a caring profession? Hope this helps Edith Maskell (Chair CThA)
Rosemary Johnson
9 Jul 2006 7:06PM

Maybe, Edith, after that lecture, you might be able to find out why poor Nuro got the unhelpful response she did from Embody on the phone? - and ensure it doesn't happen again. As a matter of interest, if we find someone "out there" practising who makes no attempt to do any sort of consultation, to whom might we refer this? (Happened to me a couple of years ago - didn't even ask if I were allergic to nuts before saoking me in almond oil. FOrtunately I'm not!) Rosemary
Edith Maskell
9 Jul 2006 7:45PM

Thank you for your suggestion Rosemary. In answer to your query. In the not too distant future, the public will turn to the Regulator of CAM to make their complaints about irresponsible practitioners. Edith Maskell
Joyce Laurie
11 Jul 2006 3:40PM

Like Rosemary I have gone to other practitioners for treatments but have never said that I am also a practitioner (I do this because it may put the other therapist on edge). However, recently, as I am opening a place of my own I have been going round checking what people actually do for the price of their treatments. Of 5 different occassions I was only once given a form to fill in (myself) which was basic to say the least. One did no consultation (didn't even take my name or address)but did ask if I was allergic to anything. On another occassion I was charged £40 for a "aromatherapy massage" during which I was asked if I wanted the (Branded, preblend) uplifting oil or the relaxing oil!!. The sooner the whole industry is properly regulated the better. It can be galling to learn that people are doing courses as little as 12 hours duration and are setting themselves up as aromatherapists and taking the exact same money that I would having done a full recognised diploma course. Sorry for the rant but in some areas the standards are wanting to say the least.
Edith Maskell
11 Jul 2006 5:54PM

Hi You have my entire sympathies. This is precisely why Regulation is just around the corner and why I support it so robustly. However, sadly, as the regulation process currently being talked about is VOLUNTARY, it is Murphy's Law that the very practitioners you speak about will be the ones who will choose NOT to register because they don't want to be responsible yet they will still be allowed to continue doing what they've always done. In my opinion, what we need is an elite organisation so that it is clear to the public the difference between the serious, responsible practitioners and the buff and shine brigade. Just like "Corgi" registered plumbers! Now it's my turn to feel better for the rant!! Edith
Joyce Laurie
12 Jul 2006 12:32AM

Yes Edith, I entirely agree that it would be of some kind of benefit if there was some kind of recognisable trademark. Our main problem is having the general public recognise what the difference is as even some of my close friends are unable to grasp why I can be dismayed about the lack of professsional approach of which I speak. Frankly, I find it tight to do a full consultation and massage in less than an hour and a half and even feel rushed giving a client a full hour and then rushing them out the door. I guess thats just what comes of running a business though. I would prefer to charge more and give folk more time but unfortunately the general public are looking at cost and not quality.
Edith Maskell
12 Jul 2006 7:07AM

Hi For what it's worth, I never agree to treat anyone without first having done a lengthy consultation. I offer free initial consultations and will happily give an hour of my time to do that if necessary and then if they want to go ahead they make an appointment for another time. This process has proved beneficial to me in several ways (a)
Edith Maskell
12 Jul 2006 7:47AM

Sorry - got cut off in my prime! (a) It gives me a chance to suss them out - thus cuts out any possibility of weirdos. (b) Gives me a chance to promote myself - tell them about all the different things I do - hopefully they are going to become long term clients! (c) Most importantly, gives them a chance to discuss all their symptoms and problems and I find that a lot more comes out this way than just filling out a form. (d) I can outline costs and how many sessions I think they will need - moreoreless a treatment programme - to which they commit or not right from the start. Then there is less likelihood of surprises for them costwise later on and less likelihood of clients being disrespectful and not turning up. They buy into you. As practitioners, we have expectations too. Gives me an opportunity to set set goals with them of what we are trying to achieve. Obviously it doesn't always pan out but in general seems to work. As far as costs are concerned. Over the years, I am have always been intrigued how complementary therapists say that the competition is too fierce, people won't travel or pay higher prices. Yet Chiropractors usually charge around £30 for 10 minutes - I have never seen one go out of business. Infact, there is a waiting list to see mine. In this area, we are inundated with Chiropractors - so plenty of competition. Yet people CHOOSE to go and see him and are happy to pay the prices he demands. I think we therapists need to value ourselves and the work we do much more and by adding value to the individual service we provide in small ways, can set us apart from the rest. I am an advocate of the fact that if we know we provide a good service, we should be proud of it - hold our head up high and command the fees we deserve, with confidence. If we believe in ourselves, so will our clients and that means they will pay, whatever it costs. If you believe you are giving a better service than the person down the road who you know doesn't bother about safe practice or other protocols and procedures, your price can be another way to set yourself apart from the "buff and shine" attitude. Otherwise, the danger is that you put yourself in the same category. Kind regards, Edith
Joyce Laurie
12 Jul 2006 9:23AM

Thanks Edith, you have given me much food for thought. My husband (a local businessman) more or less said the same, that we shouild not be afraid to ask for what we feel our sevices are worth and that very often people WILL pay more because, to borrow an advertising phrase, feel that "their worth it" If I can manage (financially)to do a consultation gratis for the reasons you give then that is also worth considering. Thanks
Rosemary Johnson
13 Jul 2006 12:58AM

I rather suspect we'll end up with the situation we have with hotels, and the like. The best practitioners won't bother to register, because they know they'll always get as much work as they can handle by word of mouth from their well-satisfied clients. Those who are good, responsible practitioners but only work a few hours (or only for money a few hours; maybe they do volunteer work) won't because the cost and bureaucracy isn't worth it. The "trained on the back of an envelope" brigade, maye those herded around to party-type events, won't because their organisers don't bother about that sort of thing. They can get the custom in, so why bother telling the workers about it? - and they certainly wouldn't pay for it. SO the register will contain those newly-qualified and doing it by the book, those withhout the confidence that they can build a client-base without th eregistration number, those who can't get clients without the number, some who could but do so out of commitment, and the more upmarket type of Cuddles Sauna whose bosses want to prove they are legit and any hanky-panky is outside their control. Sad or what? I do also wonder if part of the issue is the difference between those of us who see ourselves as part of a body=theray, health-related business, and those from the "beauty" background who see a massage, say, as an add-=on to their beauty procedures? - maybe makes the skin glow, but more of a pampering feel-good factor than actually treating stiff aching muscles? Do the people who have experience of poor/no consultation find this more common if you want a massage in a beauty salon? GOng back to the original point, though, does it make a difference to your clients if you book them for their treatment at the time you expect to start, and ask them to come earlier for the consultation - rather than book an appintment time at which you start the consultation, which may leave them feeling it is eating up valuable therapy time? Rosemary
Edith Maskell
13 Jul 2006 8:59AM

Hi To answer your last point Rosemary. My response was not to teach anybodynaybody how to suck eggs, make judgements or what is right or wrong. It's purely personal preference. Just so happens that's the way I do it. You have your views, I have mine. That's the democratic world we live in. I have had a very successful practice, ie "in business" for over 15 years. Have tried lots of different methods in that time. That's the way that works best for me. Others will and should develop their own strategies that work best for them. Similarly with regulation. I don't agree with much you have expressed. That doesn't make me or you right. However, again my views are based on my experience over 10 years respresenting our organisation on the developing regulating bodies across all the modalities. Regulation is my passion. I live and breathe it every day of my wo5rking life. I was also a co-ordinator for 9 years so I have a good idea of what's what with the therapists. These days I visit local groups to get feedback from the "ground" to make sure I am in touch with where they're at. WE at CThA are working VERY hard to ensure that whatever system is introduced is appropriate for the needs of multi disciplined practitioners. To make it affordable. John and I were at an Arimatherapy meeting yesterday. I am a a reflexoloyg meeting today and yet another Aromatherapy meeting tomorrow. Despite what people may think, we are in touch at the sharp end. Hopefully you and others have taken your opportunity to have your say by completing the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integration Health Consultation Document? Regulation of complementary theraies is being pursued by the Government to ensure that the public are kept safe from the "cowboy and cow girl" element we have already spoken about. Rome was not build in a day. We have to start somewhere. And IF as you suggest the majority do not sign up to it, mark my words in x number of years time, they will make it Statutory. Then choices will be no more. Those who do not register will not be able to practice. There will be a robust complaints system in place which the public will know about and that will be that as they say. And those who can not afford it? Their needs will not be considered at all. As I said, regulation is about public safety. You can argue as much as you like that the public aren't always safe from GP's. THAT's what it's all about. The powers that be want to make sure those mistakes are not repeated. That's why we are in the limelight. There are too many of us and too many cowboys with stupid "qualifications". Regulation will not happen in 5 minutes but it's not far away. Hopefully Rosemary, you will not interpret this as a "lecture" as you have accused me of previously. Meanwhile, please be reassured that CThA are doing their utmost to ensure the rights of our members to continue practising (at a reasonable cost) as multi disclipined practitioners are being protected to the best of our ability. Believe it or not, we are aware of all the pitfalls and all the points you have put forward. Our organisation has invested vast amounts of time, energy and funds, over the years, probably far more than any other organisation in this process. Hopefully, the members will now do their "bit" and support us, by participating in the consultation process. No good complaining if you're not prepared to contribute your views when asked. Can I just say whilst I am here that the official document is very large and very complex. You don't have to fill it out in it's entirety if you don't want to. But PLEASE take the time however, to respond to Abi Masteron (details at the bottom of the document) and/or the Foundation with your personal comments. They are very keen to hear from individual therapists. Over and out. Warm wishes Edith
Rosemary Johnson
14 Jul 2006 7:14PM

I don't know what sparked that off, Edith - and, yes, I'm afraid to say your tone does come over as someone lecturing - since no-one, least of all me, has said they're opposed to registration. FYI, yes I do have a copy of the "purple book" from the Prince's Foundation and am working on a response. My last paragraph was intended to be a return to, and response to, the original question posed by the person who started this thread - who has seen her (?) thread rather badly hijacked, I fear. Rosemary
Neza Kastelic
22 Apr 2015 2:04PM

Hello I am just wondering, where would I be able to download consultation forms for Therapeutic Massage? Also, do you write your own receipts? Kind regards Neza
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