Summary: Massage Therapists are increasingly recognizing the importance of providing trauma-informed care. This article lists our top 5 free resources for learning about trauma-informed care and how to apply it in your practice. There is no regulation for using the phrase “trauma-informed”, so be mindful about using this term and the message it conveys about your skill level and comfort in responding to complex situations that may arise. For more background, check out our blog post What is Trauma Informed Massage Therapy?
So, you're an RMT who wants to learn more about trauma-informed massage therapy... that's fantastic!
A great place to start is with the College of Physiotherapists of British Columbia's 3-part webinar series: Integrating a trauma-informed approach into routine physical therapy practice. The approaches recommended for Physiotherapists are easily transferable to the role of a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).
#1. Understanding the rationale and applying the principles (CPTBC webinar - part 1 of 3)
This webinar reviews the health impacts of trauma and interpersonal violence and how they can effect people’s interactions with healthcare providers. The principles of Sensitive Practice are introduced:
- Demonstrating an Understanding of Trauma
- Taking Time
- Developing Questions for Self Reflection
- Sharing Information
- Sharing Control
- Respecting Boundaries
- Mutual Learning
- Understanding Non-Linear Healing
#2. Avoiding and managing difficult situations (CPTBC webinar - part 2 of 3)
This webinar helps participants understand the factors that can result in challenging situations where anger, fear or agitation may be present. The SAVE Strategy is explored as a way to help navigate such situations:
- Stop the treatment
- Appreciate what is going on for the client
- Explore immediate needs
#3. Client disclosure of past trauma and treatment sensitivities: Inquiring and responding effectively (CPTBC webinar - part 3 of 3)
This webinar explores how to respond to a client’s disclosure of a trauma history and how to communicate about sensitivities or discomforts that may arise during the appointment. The webinar discusses what to ask and how to respond in ways that increase client comfort and enhance the therapeutic relationship while staying within the practitioner’s scope of practice. It also provides examples of what not to say.
#4. The Handbook on Sensitive Practice for Health Care Practitioners
A 109 page document that goes in-DEPTH. You’re going to want to sip this in slowly. Schedule time to reflect and discuss with other interested colleagues. Book club anyone?
#5 Trauma-informed Relational Skills Certification (interactive online course)
41 hours of learning that covers essential relational skills; neuroscience based care for chronic pain and trauma-informed care. Take your practice to the next level!
As healthcare practitioners, people seek our care in varying states of vulnerability. Learning about trauma-informed care helps us create safety, while avoiding causing additional harm.
It's important to note: there is no regulation for using the phrase “trauma-informed”. We recommend not using this term unless you have advanced training, as it sends a message that you are prepared to have conversations about sensitive topics and that you can skillfully respond to events such as dissociation during treatment.
This top 5 list is just a start. Keep learning about trauma informed massage therapy so that you can provide the best possible care.
For more resources and to hear from patients about how trauma-informed care was helpful for them, check out our blog post: What is trauma informed massage therapy?