Not all therapist training is created equal

therapist training Oct 22, 2021
therapist training, cancer patient

As therapists, whenever we provide a touch treatment to any client, it’s important that we know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. It’s the reason therapists are given protocols for different treatments and scenarios - to manage risk and to take care of both the client and the therapist as best as possible. When it comes to treating cancer patients or other vulnerable clients, that knowledge is even more important, which makes high quality training and qualification standards vital.

Setting the standards

Cancer and spa environments have a turbulent history. All therapists are aware that there are things to consider when it comes to providing touch treatments to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, the way we handle it is changing. Increasingly, cancer patients are not met with a blanket refusal to offer therapies in spa environments.

However, with greater awareness also comes a greater number of training options, each with its own level of information provided. Until the formation of the SATCC (Standards Authority for Touch in Cancer Care) a couple of years ago, there was no regulating body for oncology touch treatment training. It has been left to individual training providers to create their own protocols.

There are a lot of courses coming into existence that are not particularly rigorous in their pre-requisites and that use products that have not been expressly created for purpose. While these are perfectly adequate cookie cutter approaches, where they are lacking is in providing therapists with a deeply rooted knowledge about what they’re doing and why.

What we do at Jennifer Young

At Jennifer Young, we have always gone over and beyond to ensure the safety of all involved.

  • Our treatments have been created based on the wants and needs of cancer patients.
  • We have sought the advice of NHS oncology teams.
  • We have worked alongside insurance providers to ensure therapist can access insurance cover to treat cancer patients once they have successfully completed their training.
  • Jennifer Young herself has a BSc (Hons) in Biology, is an experienced microbiologist, is a nutritional therapist, and an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine.
  • Jennifer has also been accepted by the Courts as an expert witness for occupational health cases, has taught internationally and has been active in medical research.
  • Therapists must already have Level 3+ in beauty therapy including massage, complementary therapies or holistic therapies.
  • Our products and services can be found in UK hospitals, hospices, and support centres.

Empowering therapists with the ‘why’

Where we feel that we really empower therapists is in providing the ‘why’ in our training. It’s not just about presenting a set of protocols; it’s about understanding why you might do something with one patient that you wouldn’t with another. This is particularly important as there are so many different types of cancer, different stages, different treatments, and they all have a different impact on the individual.

For that reason, we cover the basic biology of cancer and cancer treatments. We encourage therapists to keep topping up their knowledge and to stay aware of the ongoing developments in cancer care so that they can understand a little of what their clients are experiencing. It also means that our therapists can adapt treatments to just about any individual or situation that they’re presented with. The result is a quality of treatment that really nurtures the client and that also ensures therapists feel good in their work as well.

Therapist Anna Garnett said: "It was like opening a door to all the information I had been craving.”

Therapist Emma Livingstone said: “To have such a comprehensive, well researched and thoroughly referenced accredited resource was reassuring and empowering.”

While it’s fantastic that training is becoming more widely available and that the conversation around cancer and the spa world is changing, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a box checking exercise for marketing purposes.

It’s so important for therapists to feel empowered by the quality of their training and for that training to be delivering the standards that clients, especially vulnerable clients, deserve. While the reasons for turning cancer patients away in the past were ill considered and lazily handled, we are talking about vulnerable people and we do need to ensure they feel safe, supported and as though they have benefited from their experience. We will leave you with the lovely feedback some of our therapists have had from their clients following therapies at different stages of cancer treatment:

"I felt safe.”

"Oncology massage was just what I needed.

”I’m not going to tell anyone about you because I want to keep you all to myself."

“It is so nice to be pampered instead of feeling like a piece of meat.”

"I’m sure you are going to be a big help to lots of people at a difficult time.”

"I slept better for the first time in months.”

If you would like to find out more about Jennifer Young’s training courses, you can contact the team any time or browse our courses guide for more information on the right course to suit you.



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