Changing Therapists Gracefully

Ask a Therapist

By Nina McIntosh

Q: I’ve been going to only one massage therapist for some time, but I’d like to try another who uses different techniques. How do I gracefully change therapists?

A: Bodywork ethics expert Nina McIntosh responded to this question, pulling from the wisdom in her book, Heart of Bodywork:

“What a considerate client you are to want to make the change ‘graceful.’ Your other choice is to sneak off to another practitioner without saying anything, which could mean a future of trying to avoid awkward encounters with practitioner No.1, switching aisles in the grocery store when you see her coming and so forth. Although the relationship is a professional one of paying for a service, it can feel more personal than that, making it hard to just walk away. So, getting closure in a conscious way is a great idea, and one that will ultimately be much easier on both of you.

“Assuming that you’re just wanting a change and not leaving because the practitioner has offended you, then I’d suggest writing a note to say you’ve appreciated her good work with you but that you’d like to try out a different style of massage, and that it feels like time for a change.

“If you were leaving because the practitioner had offended you, then you might want to write a note or have a conversation with her so you can go to the next practitioner without carrying bad feelings, and so the practitioner can have the valuable feedback.”