You’ve completed your diploma, you’ve passed your exams, time to celebrate your achievement and what you’ve learnt.
But what comes next? The journey into running a fully-fledged massage practice has just begun and there are many, many steps along the way. One action you can take that will have a profound impact on whether you stay in and flourish in your practice is to go to supervision. Many MTI members, tutors and school founders have said that the only reason they stayed in practise in the early days was supervision.
MTI will be rolling out training for regional teams to facilitate supervision over the next 18 months, providing a stopgap where schools don’t provide supervision or there isn’t a school in the area. More details will follow soon.
However you do it, make sure you talk to someone about your practise, it’s the single most important action you will take on your way to becoming a full-time massage therapist.
Founder members Andy Fagg and Darien Pritchard share their thoughts on supervision:
Andy Fagg, former MTI Chair and Director and founder and colleague principal at the Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork. “Supervision is fundamental. The process of massage is much more profound and deeper than many people think - that’s part of the uniqueness of the MTI approach. We recognise that when you put your hands on someone you are touching their whole life history up to that point.
I saw starting to run supervision groups as essential to supporting graduates ongoing development, and it’s been hard-wired into me because I needed it for my support. It’s part of my massage DNA. I wanted to develop a sustainable model for that, so it becomes part of the culture of how massage therapy develops. I did that by building it into the training course and by encouraging people who were becoming teachers to do supervision as part of their role. In the same way that people become tutors in the college by starting as an assistant on the course, then senior assistants, and when they are ready an MTI tutor - they’ve observed it being done in practice and so learnt on the job. Is there a bespoke training for becoming a supervisor? No. It’s done through observation.
For me, attending supervision is part of the personal development aspect.
Something I feel passionately about is that MTI is about community. Supervision is also one way to foster community and get support from your peers to sort things out together - we are co-operating and collaborating, not competing.
Darien Pritchard, MTI founder member and founder of the Dynamic Massage school in Cardiff and originator of the Hands Free method. “Massage can be quite isolating and so it’s vital to get the support of others and get the reflection of, that’s not your issue, that’s the client issue.
It’s a crucial bottom line of support that people at least get together and talk and be heard.
From the MTI side, it’s keeping oneself alive and fresh, it’s not just looking at client issues, but your own issues that relate to that. As in, I keep having these same issues with the same kind of clients. How can I think about changing what I do?
It’s about self-development as a practitioner. Most people do a course and have a honeymoon, but when the honeymoon burns out, how do you sustain it? And one way is by having that social connection. It’s a survival necessity for practitioners as well as self-development.”