Accessible to all

In International Therapist Autumn 2020 (Issue 133), we shared some statistics from our FHT 2020 Equality and Diversity survey as well as some case studies from FHT members, and some tips to help you to make your practice more inclusive.

We highlighted three key areas to look at, the diversity of therapists, the diversity of clients and the adequacy of training to cater for a diverse client baseTo find out more, we asked our members to fill out the 2020 FHT Equality and Diversity Survey and tell us their views.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to our survey.

Diversity of therapists 

We asked survey respondents, ‘do you consider yourself part of a minority group?’ 

  • 22% yes
  • 78% no

Though the overwhelming response was ‘no’, it led us to consider what the term ‘diversity’ may mean different things to us all and should be considered in relation to the area where a service is being provided.

Challenges when promoting diversity 

We asked survey respondents, ‘have you faced any challenges when trying to promote diversity?’ 

  • 17% yes 
  • 60% no 
  • 23% not sure 

‘Apart from including my friends and family in my own photos for the website, it has been quite challenging to find good quality photos that I can use for my digital and physical marketing materials.’ Survey respondent, MFHT. 

Training 

We asked survey respondents, ‘During training did you learn to offer treatments that support a wide range of clients?’ 

  • 63% yes 
  • 30% no 
  • 7% not sure 

The only diversification in practice that was covered during my training was age related, and generally related to pressure application. Survey respondent, anonymous. 

Most basic training seems to be how to deal with a typical cookie cutter” client. Apart from addressing health issues in the initial consultation, there was very little discussion around, for example, adjusting your massage table for a wheelchair user, or communicating with a person who is deaf. I believe diversity training needs to be added to all Level 3 courses. Survey respondent, MFHT. 

Though it is positive that 63% of respondents felt their training was adequate for equality and diversity, it is important to consider that this may only relate to certain courses and that respondents might be unaware of the gaps that exist.  

Inclusivity 

We asked survey respondents ‘do you think there are inclusivity gaps within the therapy industry as a whole’

  • 39% not sure 
  • 36% yes  
  • 25% no 

We live in a society with systemic racism so there is no reason to think it wouldn’t exist in our industry as much as any other. Its probably more evident in the beauty sector, as beauty ideals and fashion tend to be focused on white people. But without anti-bias and race awareness training, most white people are unaware of their own privilege and don’t actively challenge racism. Survey respondent, MFHT. 

The fact that the highest response to this question was ‘not sure’, made us consider whether there has been enough research on equality and diversity within the industry. There are indications that research in this area is being undertaken, with organisations such as the British Beauty Council having recently published their diversity and inclusion report.

It is also worth mentioning that inclusivity gaps may be visible if we broaden our awareness of what an inclusive industry could look like and work to address those using the tips outlined in our Accessible to all feature. 

Look out for more blog items this week, including case studies from some of our FHT members…

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