Saturday, September 19, 2009

Some MTBOK Clarifications

Im pleased that we've begun to get responses already on the draft MTBOK, and its just what we are hoping for.  Its also clear that the respondants are passionate about the profession, and have given thought to their responses. 

As a task force of 8 trying to represent such a broad complex profession, we think its vital that we get feedback from the community.  Thats why we have tried to make it easy to do so, why we have scheduled two drafts for review (the next update will be just after the first of the year) and why we are holding a public input session in Orlando, FL next week.

In reading over your comments though I can tell there is some misunderstanding about the approach we have taken and the impact of the MTBOK (at least in the near term).  So I thought I would clear some of that up. Please keep in mind that Im going a little out on a limb here because Im not actually a member of the Task Force... but if they take issue with what I say here, I will relay that back to you as well.

  • First, the MTBOK does not, and will not have force of law or regulation.  Which means that whatever the final product includes will not change any State or local laws or regulations, at least in the near term. Over time we believe that the educators and regulators, etc will come to value a single, profession wide body of knowledge built by and for the profession as a valuable single source of authoritative information. We also believe that the reason for the wide range of requirements for certification/licensure across the country is a direct result of organizations individually trying to cope without a comprehensive, profession-wide adopted standard. We think the establishment of the MTBOK will help over time resolve a lot of the inconsistencies that you experience from jurisdiction to jurisdiction across the country.
  • Some people have expressed concern that the required knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) are too much for an entry level massage therapist. The Task Force believes that the MTBOK needs to grow with the knowledge and science that supports the profession, and has included some new areas that we believe therapists, even at the entry level, need to be exposed to.  As in most of the knowledge areas, entry level therapists would not be expected to have in depth knowledge but would be expected to know what it is and what the general impact is on their work. This helps position a Massage Therapist to better guide their career and continuing education over time.
  • The MTBOK is to be created by and for the profession.  Which means that it is supposed to represent what our profession believes is the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform their work. We want and need your input.  Id suggest that as you look through the document, your approach should be to consider whether or not individual KSAs should be something that all therapists need to know and or do, not the details of implementation. If you disagree on something, tell us about it and why using the comment form.
  • The task force is trying to be sure that the variety of work that is being performed by massage therapists is included in the scope and KSA requirements. Our field is broad, and the MTBOK hopefully represents that well.  We are focused on Massage Therapy, and there is no attempt to try to bring other allied professions under the MTBOK.  In fact, we have tried to invite non Massage Therapy organizations to comment so that any issues may be resolved before it is finalized.  Since one of the ways a profession gets widely recognized is through the development and existence of a Body of Knowledge, we would encourage other allied professions to develop their own.
  •  Finally, the specific competencies (in terms of Knowledge Skills and Abilities) in the draft version of the MTBOK are for entry level therapists, and do not include the additional KSAs that are required as a massage therapist advances or specializes.  The method of documenting these are not addressed in phase 1 of the MTBOK at all, and this work will be done later as appropriate.  Phase 1 specifically notes that some of the work performed by massage therapists requires additional knowledge, certification and/or licensure.  So, for example, although we believe all massage therapists should be exposed to non-western energy theory and the existence of meridians and points associated with these, it does not mean that this is adequate for a massage therapist to practice reflexology or acupressure without the appropriate additional study, certification and/or licensure.
I hope you will keep these points in mind as you read the draft MTBOK and that you do let us know what you agree or don't agree with.The effects of this wont be immediate, but I hope you will agree that the end result will significantly strengthen the foundation on which our amazing profession is built.

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