Sunday, December 22, 2013

How to Avoid Risks During Home-visits on the Holidays

"Never ignore a gut feeling, but never
believe that it is enough." 

- Robert Heller      

It's the Holidays! Will You Provide Home-visits?

Do you provide home visits or mobile massage services during the holidays to cope with the consumer demand and to supplement your holiday income? I do.

And based on my experience, majority of the in-home services I have provided are to legitimate and safe clients. But in spite of that, we always have to make sure that we are ready to protect ourselves especially when there is a shift of control and the client is someone whom we know can overwhelm us. Because session with a client who was appropriate the first time does not guarantee that they will behave properly the next session around.

Reality is, providing in-home or on-site massage therapy is potentially the most hazardous service and setting for any massage therapist to undertake. And it doesn't mean that because you have always been safe in your prior experience, you will never end up having the disreputable on your table!

This kind of situation is specially challenging to me, so I could just imagine how much more it is for women. As we all know, men are minority in the massage world, but we are not free of risk in these situation. ALL of us have this innate survival skills that we oftentimes suppress so to fit business needs and situations - home visits in this case. Truth is, it is quite difficult to refuse a prospective client when we have many empty slots in our calendar or when we need to pay our bills soon...

So how exactly do we avoid these disreputable people? How can we assure our own safety and peace of mind when we do end up having one of them? Is being informed or prepared ahead of time enough to ensure we are safe? I think we should always evaluate the risks involve from every angle. And I believe that knowing how "risks" looks like is the first step!

Below is detailed lay out of the many manipulative techniques that are commonly used by these disreputable people a.k.a. the "Sleazy". It is an excerpt from Gavin DeBecker's "The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence". They are quite enlightening! I do hope you haven't come across any of these and that you won't have to! In no particular order:

1. Forced Teaming: This is verbally implying trust prematurely; guiding the conversation into one of "We're in this boat together;" inventing a shared purpose where none really exists. Recognize that you do not have to "team" with anyone you do not choose.

2. Charm and Niceness: Charm is a learned ability, not a personality trait; niceness is a conscious decision. Charm can be quite smooth and deceptive; remember that a smooth talker is not necessarily a trustworthy person.

3. Too many details: Often when someone is lying, they will include too many details. The details seem to make the story more credible. These details can confuse the listener's mind into forgetting that this is still a stranger with an unproven track record. Remember to remain focused on the main message of the speaker.

4. Typecasting: Using a mild insult to make you want to prove them wrong - "Oh, you're one of those people who never accepts help?" Resist the label, don't let someone manipulate your actions; you don't have to prove anything to a stranger.

5. Loan Sharking: Assisting a person (who did not ask for assistance) to create a "social debt." This is usually accompanied by Typecasting and Forced Teaming. Do not fall into feeling you are in a stranger's debt. Remember, "he approached me, I did not ask for help."

6. Unsolicited Promises: A promise is used to convince you of their intentions, but it is not a guarantee; be suspicious of an unsolicited promise. Remember, "why does this person need to convince me?"

7. Not Hearing the word "NO": When someone ignores you saying "no," he or she is either seeking control of the situation or refusing to relinquish control. Do not negotiate with the person. "No" means "No." Remember, "No" is a complete sentence.

According to DeBecker, "While many readers may recognize that the above signals can also be interpreted as bad pick-up lines or an inept attempt at conversation, it is best to listen with both your mind and your intuition".

Always listen to your gut feelings! When it comes to the risks of providing in-home services, your intuition is almost always right! And even if it is wrong, there is no harm in avoiding a situation that triggers your gut feelings in the first place! Remember, when you feel something is not right, you are responding to something, and this response is always for your best interest! As they always say: "It is better to be safe than sorry!"

- Leo Feraer-Oporto


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