AMT Chairperson Summer Message

By Michelle McKerron

Is now a good time to tell you I hear voices?

I should have owned up earlier than this, but here we are.

Mostly I hear my own voice, which I’m led to believe is normal. It tells me things like:

  • ‘Get up and get the day started’
  • ‘Don’t answer that call while you’re eating’
  • ‘Don’t waste your time watching this rubbish’
  • ‘Where did that time go? Get to work. Quick!’

Boring stuff, but it keeps me going through each day.

I recognise that I have also trained my inner responses over time. Once upon a time when I saw a jogger giving it their all, I would critique their style, but I now simply think ‘good on you, keep going’. I have trained myself to stop there and put all the other useless stuff like gait (or gear) assessment to one side because that is precious brain space.

When a new client comes to the clinic, I try not to listen too closely to the first assumptions that pop into my head from simply looking at them (especially if they were that jogger I just saw out for a run). My own voice in my head can be too full of pre-conceived ideas, too proud, too loving the sound of itself for me to do a really thorough assessment. When a client revisits, the game starts again in case we fall into a massage rut of treating the same thing, the same way.

Then there are those people that I have given voice to. As we have moved further into social media relationships, I read comments, articles, emails or blogs written by others, but as I sit silently at my computer, it is my voice that reads it out and gives it sound in my head. I have to be careful in how I then pass this information on, because that aforementioned pride can sometimes trick me into thinking that I came up with some of those statements, or perhaps that I am totally on board with that statement because I heard my own inner voice say it. I need to carefully and deliberately consider my evidence before getting involved in those conversations and not just moving with the flow. I look forward to participating in the new AMT reflective model of professional development, as it reminds my brain to take some time to consider such information.

There are, of course, some wonderful voices in my head. Friends telling me uplifting things about my work or family or self. But also, the voices of people who are on the same wavelength as me, so that when we have conversations full of positivity and motivating information, I can’t help but replay those conversations in my brain for further fulfilment. And one of the categories that falls under this heading would be invigorating work and AMT colleague conversations. I am relishing a conversation I had just last week post-treatment with a new client, when she told me that she could feel a greater range of motion in a lower neck region that she felt wasn’t responding to other modalities – a success! It motivates me to get back to work the next day.

I have pondered long and hard over a conversation with another therapist about the demands of our occupation: mental, emotional, physical. It was a very well-timed, helpful and fruitful conversation.

And I can also hear all those amazing titbits of information I have soaked up at AMT conferences or massage seminar days, that in the moment resounded with me and that have borne the test of time (and science). For example, beautifully simple techniques, gracious ways of communicating with clients, self-care methods, and words that have restored my faith in this line of work from people who know the industry from inside and out.

This time last year, it was my hope for the AMT membership that we could look back on 2019 and find something that we have learnt about ourselves or our work. It would be so good to reflect also on which voices we are listening to, which voices we are influenced by, and what we want our own inner voice to be saying, to reap the out-workings of a positive mindset.

What voices are you going to be listening to – or not listening to – in 2020?

About the Author

Michelle McKerron is currently representing AMT members in the role of Chairperson of the Board of Directors. It’s a role she takes seriously because, as a Massage Therapist herself, she knows what it’s like to be working in the industry and wants to encourage members to continue the tradition that AMT holds in standing up for excellent massage therapy in Australia.

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