Thursday, April 4, 2013

Beyond Frustration

I am sad. The current state of the massage therapy organizations and the advancement of the profession is bogged down in BS—belief systems. At my massage therapy school, Health Enrichment Center, big changes are occurring. The school is 28 years old and long time staff has retired. New staff is on board.  My daughter Laura, a military veteran, trained educator and prior public school teacher (science) has come on board and is clearing out, cleaning up and reorganizing the administration and teaching process at the school.  Wow- fresh perspective and she is asking me hundreds of questions.

 She is doing excellent and having her on board is not why I am sad. Today she was asking questions about a bunch of old forms in a file. This followed with questions about why we had to do things the way we were.  So I was attempting to answer the questions and found myself saying things like,” We have to do that for documentation for continuing education but National Certification Board is changing requirement and I don’t know what we will end up having to do.”  Or I was saying, “I don’t know why we have to keep tract of that but we do.”  “I don’t know when that is going to change but it is changing some day.”  “I don’t know why we have so many organizations doing the same things-yes it is confusing.” “I don’t know what they do with that information but they want it.” Finally she said to me,” Well what do you know?”

This is why I am sad. I wonder if I will ever have answers about entry level massage training competencies, one licensing exam, continuing education quality and requirements with validating board certification, teacher skills with documentation, unified professional organizations and on and on. I want my school to provide the highest quality skills, professionalism and compassion to the students and I believe we do that. As a textbook author I have researched in depth about massage, the relevant sciences, ethic and profession. As an educator I have continued my own education. As a massage therapist I have maintained a client based. With all this commitment and experience it still feels as if I am floating around waiting for the massage professional leaders to provide a unified and concrete platform for education and professional development. The Federation of State Massage Boards still has not published the Job Task Analysis results from last years survey. ELAP content has not be released and remain behind closed doors in spite of repeated requests for transparency. There are now 3 organizations that are supposed to support education and none of them communicate with the other.  This makes me sad.  

Then I had a call informing me that another massage school had closed because the owner just could not compete and could not recruit enough students to pay the bills. I struggle as well as do many other single program massage only massage school owners.   The three organizations that have support for schools have not seem to be able to help any of us attempting to provide quality education. This is so very sad.

As I was sorting through files that Laura had put on my desk I was reminded about how much I pay in membership dues to multiple organizations that duplicate effort instead of working together. Let alone the cost of attending all the meetings. It makes me sad when I miss a meeting but if I went to every meeting like I did 3 years ago is would cost me $10,000 and over a month of time neither of which I have to spare. 

As we have been reorganizing the school it certainly has been messy with lots of loose ends. Michigan is implementing it’s state licensing for massage and many are confused about a relatively simple process adding another layer of clutter.  We are throwing out a lot of stuff and streamlining. It is quite a journey as I go through files that date back to 1985. I am excited about the future here at the school. However, I am not encouraged about the progress of the massage profession. I am sad.  It was maybe better when I was frustrated or even mad.  There is energy available to fuel motivation with those two emotions.  But sad------