Video Course: Maintaining Sexual Ethics: Part 2-Protecting Clients

Anne Williams

Unfortunately, the unethical behavior of a few massage therapists tarnishes the whole profession and may cause many potential clients to avoid massage and miss out on the benefits that a professional, therapeutic massage can impart. While most people working in the massage profession hold high ethical standards, all of us can do more to protect ourselves and clients from sexual misconduct. In this course, we’ll work together to learn how to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, empower clients during sessions, report sexual impropriety, respond to client concerns about the safety of massage, and encourage others in the profession to step up to maintain sexual ethics in the massage profession. 

This course is the second in a series of four courses.


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Course Outline
  • Introduction
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Professionalism
  • Power differential
  • Informed consent
  • Reporting and complaint protocols
Learning Objectives

Having viewed the online massage therapy ethics CE course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the phrase, sexual exploitation by a helping professional.
  • Define the term, power differential.
  • Discuss situations that comprise sexual exploitation of massage clients.
  • Identify two sexual behaviors that constitute sexual assault.
  • List four behaviors health-care professionals want to avoid around clients or patients because they might be perceived as flirting or sexual in nature.
  • Describe three ways all massage therapists can increase their professional image.
  • Compare and contrast an informal complaint with a formal complaint.
  • List one reason why the police would not be called to a clinic when a client reports sexual impropriety of a massage therapist.
  • Describe two ways to support client autonomy during a massage session.
  • List two items on an informed consent document.
  • Explain the benefits to client autonomy related to informed consent processes.
  • List two ways to improve sexual ethics at a massage clinic or spa.
Anne Williams

Anne Williams is a licensed massage therapist, former esthetician, certified reflexologist, clinical hypnotherapist, registered counselor, aromatherapist, author, and educator. She has worked as a school director of education, massage instructor, CE provider, spa consultant, curriculum specialist, and director of education at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP). She is currently the director of education at Massage Mastery Online. Her publications include Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists (2006) and Massage Mastery: From Student to Professional (2012). Learn more at and

Topics and Techniques

This massage therapy ethics CE course teaches massage and bodywork practitioners how to keep clients safe from sexual misconduct. Topics include sexual inuendo, power differential, draping, informed consent, professionalism, and reporting protocols.


This online massage therapy CE course is available to you on demand to access, learn, and earn CE whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for you!


Visit the ABMP Education Center FAQ page for a full list of resources.

Is this ethics CE course approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) for CE credit?
Yes! All of the courses are approved under ABMP’s NCBTMB Approved Provider account (451086-09).

How do I earn a CE certificate for this video-based ethics course?
After you complete the webinar video, a quiz will appear on the page. Earn a CE certificate by scoring 70% or higher on the course quiz.

How do I access my CE certificates?
CE certificates are available on your “My CE Transcripts” page and on the course page. Visit your “My CE Transcript” page by clicking “My CE” on the navigation bar at the top of your screen.


"Everyone in our profession needs to take this course to be aware of sexual ethics."

"The instructor did an excellent job of presenting the material in a clear and precise manner.  The presentation was very informative and detailed. I enjoyed the course!"

"Very well done.  The information is clear, concise, thorough, and actionable.  Even as a seasoned massage therapist I got clarification on several things."