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Self Care is Health Care

Accountability and Ethics , part 2

In building your business or private practice, have you considered having an ethics code or standard for yourself? Do you have clear client guidelines, ones that tell clients what to expect from a session and provide a few paragraphs about your training and experience? Do you have a clear policy about missed appointments and cancellation?Policies such as those mentioned and a code of ethics could be very helpful in defining what and who you are for your clients. They are written statements that say, I have thought about these issues, and I am being proactive in preventing problems for you and for myself.

As sole proprietor of my business and as a leader (one of many!) in Trager(r) International, I am responsible for acting ethically, and understand the importance of educating others about this ethical behavior. I want to be held accountable by my peers and my organization. I know I have blind spots in my actions. I cannot help but act from patterns from the past. I do not want to do things “because they have always been done that way.” You are my mirror-not just in ethical action, but in communication, success, emotional expression…..I cannot be fully me without you. This Interdependence links me to you and others in my community.

I also value my Independence. I have fought hard and long for it. At one point in my life, I created a wall around myself, so much so that interdependence was forgotten. My views and even my body had hardened around ideas that were no longer useful. I had isolated myself, and realized I missed being in community.

The search for community led me to understand the term interdependence. Interdependence is a concept that the indigenous peoples all over the world knew and operated from. Their very lives depended on this concept. Every thought and action was done with interdependence in mind. Here are a few: we are all related; consider the seven generations before, and the seven after when making a decision; take only what you need, leave the rest to regenerate; share resources and no one will go without. These principles fostered self responsibility, empowerment and community. The community understood that any act of one was attributed to the whole. Any act of independence reflected on the interdependent community

Without this knowledge and understanding, accountability becomes a question. I may have my own perception of what is ethical action, and create my individual world around this knowledge. When I belong to a community or organization, however, I must have a different understanding, a common mind with the rest of the community members. I must operate from a more diverse set of standards, ethics, and values. I am drawn to this particular community because of the values I see being expressed.

But what are the values? Does everyone hold them equally the same? How can we hold ourselves and each other accountable without threatening this idea of independence? Perhaps it is with educating everyone about the concept of interdependence? Would that be enough to empower each member of our organization to act ethically? Would that be enough to suggest self responsibility, and trust that everyone is capable of it? Personally, I can let go and trust more easily when I know the proper process is in place to deal with issues, and we have done our best to educate our members, our peers.

I have gained some understanding of the complexities of these issues. It is enough to say, there are many questions, and many without easy or any answers. I do not know each person in my community, even though I would like to. I have helped create the by-laws, and a system that I think will work best for right now. I am one of the ones responsible for creating the safety net of protection for all of us, and I remain open to changing it as needed. No one else will do this for me. I am a leader. If you have your own business or practice, you are a leader. Ask questions, get involved. Your specific gifts and ideas are welcome and needed to grow your community.