From the Background Paper for the Future of Bodywork Seminar
"Where Do We Go From Here?" held November 19, 2009
by Jack Blackburn, MTS-SD, LMP
Future Leaders and National Organizations
Who will be the future leaders in the bodywork professions and what will their qualifications be? What visions for the future will capture the energy and imaginations of our profession as a whole? Will corporate boards and profit making decide our future? Will the benefits of bodywork come to be supported by research and public recognition? And will we collectively become leaders in new (but very ancient) forms of treatment that stem from the client’s body awareness? Will medical practitioners come to take classes from us in palpatory assessment and body readings? Will the psychotherapy community acknowledge that without touch and somatic awareness they cannot truly understand their client’s condition or progress towards healing? Will we become leaders in helping business persons learn to communicate and make better decisions by listening to their own bodies? Will bodywork as a profession produce collectively developed and researched modalities that open new doors of client self-assessment and healing?
a. National organizations
The AMTA and the ABMP have been representing the interests of bodyworkers quite effectively up until now. Are they adequately staffed and conversant with future possibilities to represent bodyworkers in the future… witness the recent struggles between the AMTA and the NCBTMB. It seems that as we move towards further professional recognition we may need to grow towards professional union status to deal with: employment issues, other caregiving professions, insurance providers, and with public funding and recognition. Also we will probably need professional training and status appropriate to dealing with academic institutions and future research possibilities.
b. Funding leadership and organizations
The financial situation for the broad based organizations like the AMTA, NCBTMB, and ABMP, should be bright as long as they are representing the interests of most bodyworkers. The choice of where to put their monies will probably be much more scrutinized in the future. As bodywork changes towards more in-depth specialization and professional recognition, less money will be needed for lobbying state legislatures and gaining public acceptance. However the need for some kind of collective bargaining will probably grow. There will also probably be a need for more highly trained staff and more qualified representation in the national organizations. The kinds of self-serving, self-aggrandizing choices as recently represented in the NCBTMB will need to change or those organizations will not survive. Also it is likely that bodyworkers will expect much more transparency and willingness to carry out their responsibilities to the membership.
For more information about this event, or biographies of the panelists, please visit the Future of Bodywork.