ISMETA Code of Ethics
A Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME) or Therapist (RSMT) agrees to conduct his or her somatic movement practice according to the ISMETA Scope of Practice and adheres to the following values:
- To honor the Standards of Practice of ISMETA
- To be honest in dealing with the public.
- Not to diagnose or prescribe for medical conditions.
- To uphold professional boundaries and safeguards as outlined in Standard V of the ISMETA Standards of Practice.
- To refrain from any behavior that demeans or disempowers the student or client.
- To avoid the exploitation of the trust and dependency of others, including clients and employees;
- To recognize that the intimacy of the therapeutic relationship may stimulate sexual feelings, memories, or trauma and refrain from exploiting the client’s vulnerability. (See Standard V: Section B of ISMETA Standards of Practice.)
- To clearly identify and give credit to ideas, techniques, and principles derived from other people, disciplines, and modalities within the field when teaching or sharing them.
ISMETA Standards of Practice
The following Standards of Practice establish guidelines for the conduct of ISMETA registered practitioners, both as Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME) and as Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT).
Standard I – Education and Training
In the interest of the public and the profession as a whole, an ISMETA registered practitioner practices only after professional preparation. This consists, at a minimum, of the completion of a 500-hour ISMETA-approved training program or an approved 500- hour alternative route of education and consequent acceptance to ISMETA as RSME and/or RSMT. All Registered Professional Members need to send documentation of 150 hours of professional practice within two years of completing their training. ISMETA advises but does not require registered practitioners to engage in on-going professional development.
Standard II: Practitioner Responsibilities
In his or her professional role the ISMETA registered practitioner shall:
- Be knowledgeable of the Scope of Practice and practice within those limitations;
- Accurately and truthfully inform the public of the types of services provided;
- Recognize his or her personal limitations as a practitioner and be respectful of these limitations;
- Be prompt with annual payment of professional dues to receive updated certificate of registry;
- Provide a safe physical setting that meets all applicable legal requirements for health and safety;
- Use standard precautions to insure professional hygienic practices, and maintain an appropriate level of personal hygiene;
- Maintain adequate and customary liability insurance;
- Develop a clear agreement with clients about the nature and scope of work together;
- Obtain informed consent from the client prior to providing services;
- Display and/or discuss schedule of fees in advance of the session that are clearly understood by the student or client;
- Make financial arrangements in advance that are clearly understood by and safeguard the best interests of the consumer;
- Maintain adequate progress notes for each client session;
- Make appropriate referrals for clients to other professionals when needed;
- Recognize the value of constructive feedback from clients in sessions, students in classes, and participants in research, and strive to work professionally, self-critically, and creatively within the inherent holism of somatic work;
- Seek professional supervision when needed.
Standard III: Self-Representation as a Professional
The RSME or RSMT must accurately represent his or her professional work. The ISMETA registered practitioner shall:
- Honestly represent all professional qualifications and affiliations;
- Only use the initials RSME and/or RSMT to designate his or her professional ability and competency within the field of somatic movement education and therapy when in good standing with ISMETA;
- Promote his or her business with integrity and avoid potential and actual conflicts of interest;
- Not use sensational, sexual, or provocative language or images to promote business;
- Advertise in a manner that is honest, dignified, and representative of services that can be delivered and remains consistent with the ISMETA Code of Ethics;
- Not duplicate the ISMETA certificate of registry for purposes other than verification of the practitioner’s credentials;
- Submit to peer review processes conducted by ISMETA’s Ethics and Standards Committee in the case of any alleged violations of the Code of Ethics or Standards of Practice.
- Immediately return the certificate to ISMETA if it is revoked or suspended.
Standard IV: Legal Rights and Compliance
The RSME or RSMT must comply with all the legal requirements in applicable jurisdictions that regulate the profession of somatic movement education and therapy. When in conflict, those local requirements shall supersede the Code of Ethics and registration entitlement of ISMETA. In his or her professional role the ISMETA registered practitioner shall:
- Obey all applicable local, regional and national laws, including obtaining and maintaining business licensing and professional registration required by the nation, state, province, or local jurisdiction in which the practitioner practices.
- Refrain from being discriminatory towards clients (relative to age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status);
- Report to ISMETA any criminal convictions regarding his/her practice;
- Report to ISMETA any pending litigation and resulting resolution related to his/her practice.
- Follow acceptable accounting practices, file all applicable taxes, and maintain accurate financial records, contracts and legal obligations, appointment records, tax reports and receipts for at least three years;
- Respect existing publishing rights and copyright laws.
Standard V: Professional Boundaries in Relationships
A. The RSME and/or RSMT must be cautious about assuming the role of a professional with family members, close friends, or closely associated employees and colleagues. Problems may include inadequate assessment as a result of role-related discomfort on the part of client or practitioner. The practitioner’s emotional proximity can result in a loss of objectivity. Fulfilling the role of informed and caring adviser, however, is not precluded. In such cases, the ISMETA registered practitioner shall:
- Be responsible to create a clear demarcation in, and ensure that both parties are aware of, the shift from the client-practitioner session to the social setting of the personal relationship;
- Acknowledge and respect the client’s freedom of choice and right to refuse services;
- Recognize his or her influential position with the client and avoid exploitation of the relationship for personal or other gain;
- Clarify all dual relationships that could impair professional judgment or result in exploitation of family members, close friends, or employees and/or colleagues.
B. Issues of dependency, trust, and transference, and inequalities of power can lead to increased vulnerability on the part of the client and require that a practitioner not engage in a sexual relationship with a client. In his/her professional role the RSME or RSMT shall:
- Recognize the impact of transference and counter transference between the client and the practitioner;
- Refrain from any behavior that demeans or disempowers the client, and recognize that the intimacy of the practitioner-client relationship may stimulate sexual feelings or memories;
- Understand that sexual intimacy is inappropriate, as is the use of touch on any part of the client’s body with which he or she is not comfortable (as part of the individual or group in a therapeutic and/or educational setting);
- Refrain from becoming sexually involved with a current client even if the client initiates or consents to the contact;
- Consult with a colleague or other professional before becoming sexually involved with a former client;
- Comply with all local, regional and national laws regarding sexual harassment.
Standard VI: Client – Practitioner Confidentiality
The RSME or RSMT shall respect the confidentiality of client information and safeguard all records. In his or her professional role the registered practitioner shall:
- Protect the client’s identity and pertinent information in conversations, written communications, and all other manners unless requested by the client in writing, medically necessary, or mandated by law;
- Protect the interests of clients who are minors or who are unable to give voluntary consent by securing permission from an appropriate third party or guardian;
- Solicit only information that is relevant to the professional client/practitioner relationship;
- Share pertinent information about the client with third parties only when required by law;
- Maintain the client files for a minimum period of three years and store and dispose of client files in a secure manner.
Standard VII: Inter-collegial Relationships
The RSME or RSMT understands the need for collaboration with other professionals within the fields of human services, health and education. To further implement relationships the registered practitioner shall:
- Develop collegial relationships and show respect for diversity among colleagues and associates with respect to age, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status;
- Show respect for the full range of personalities, styles, educational trainings and backgrounds;
- Act with integrity and in a constructive manner with colleagues, other organizations, agencies, institutions, referral sources and other professionals;
- Possess basic knowledge of the nature of other somatic practices while maintaining clear identification of one’s own expertise;
- Never falsely impugn the reputation of any colleague.
Standard VIII: Grievance Procedures
The RSME or RSMT must provide the opportunity for clients or students to contact ISMETA and file a grievance if they have complaints regarding the ethical conduct of the practitioner. Notification of ISMETA’s interest in hearing about the complaint must be given to the client or student within one week after the complaint is registered with the practitioner.