A License by Any Other Name
By Mark Shannon
Where I live and work, you can become a licensed massage therapist by having an academic letter stating you have completed a program, write a check, take a picture, and voila you are an official LMT ready to fix the world! But having the license doesn’t automatically make you a good therapist. It’s pretty easy to obtain a driver’s license! But don’t think just because you have a driver’s license that makes someone a really good driver!
Two massage therapists: Will their opposing actions leave them smelling as sweet?
Therapist # 1: Begins externship by showing up late each day for her appointments. Personal hygiene is poor; and her clothes are not neat. She trudges through externship seeing it more as “something I have to do” rather than something she has the privilege of experiencing.
She never cares enough to improve during this practical part of her education. When she is booked for a 1 hour massage she goes for 45 to 50 minutes. She reeks of cigarette smoke; does the minimum to get through; does nothing to build a personal clientele. She doesn’t create a back-up plan for emergencies if the baby sitter falls through for the day.
Therapist #2: She is early each day. She brushes her teeth and hair, and her clothes are always well kept. She smiles each day at work and chooses to enjoy this new career she has embarked upon. She asks the advice of the LMT’s that work in the clinic. She seeks their advice on any new technique, modality, or stretch. She is well organized with her massage time and keeps a tidy room. She works well on her own with little supervision to do the little things that keep the business running smoothly. She does not allow personal issues affect her work.
She has a plan B for a baby sitter should the need arise. Therapist #2 actively cultivates her clientele by handing out business cards to everyone she knows. She encourages her clients to rebook with her for a follow-up treatment. She goes so far as to follow up with a phone call in a few days following her recent massage. She seeks honest evaluations from skills checks and client feedback to make sure she becomes the best LMT possible. And one of the best things Therapist #2 does not get flustered when chaos abounds. She looks for helpful creative ways to solve the problems.
If Therapist #1 and Therapist #2 were applying for a job in your spa, who would you be more likely to hire? Do you just have a license, or are you trying to go beyond your license? Food for thought…