ETHICAL GUIDELINES ON THE APPLICATION OF SEXOLOGICAL BODYWORK
European Association of Sexological Bodyworkers (EASB)
The EASB’s Ethical Guidelines are modeled on the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics set forth by the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers (ACSB). They inform the professional conduct of all Sexological Bodyworkers certified at the International Institute of Sexological Bodywork (Certified Sexological Bodyworker IISB, henceforth: CSB-IISB).
The development of a set of ethical standards requires a personal commitment to act ethically; to encourage ethical behavior by students and colleagues, as appropriate; and to consult with others as needed concerning ethical problems.
The primary goal of these rules is to ensure the welfare and protection of students and clients with whom CSB-IISB work.
Membership in the EASB and/or working in an official capacity as a trainer, teacher, assistant, or organizer commits said individuals to adhere to the EASB guidelines and follow the rules and procedures. These Ethical Guidelines apply to all CSB-IISBs’ activities, which include working with clients in one’s own practice, public outreach, training of students and supervision.
In addition to these Ethical Guidelines, CSB-IISB must consider the laws of the country in which they practice. When the Guidelines establish a higher standard than codes of law, CSB-IISB must feel obligated to the higher ethical standard. If the standards conflict with requirement of law, CSBs must take measures to resolve the conflict in a responsible manner.
Complaints regarding unethical behavior should be addressed to the EASB board. All individuals involved have the right to a make a statement. Measures which the EASB may take in cases of violations of the Guidelines include the giving of caution and exclusion from EASB membership.
The following text uses the terms students, clients and Sexological Bodyworkers. This includes women and men.
1) Duties and obligations towards students and clients
1.1 CSB-IISB respect and protect human rights. They also consider individual, gender-specific, cultural, religious and social differences, promote sexual rights and do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
1.2 CSB-IISB will be professional in attitude and conduct. They will only apply methods which they have learned through training and which their experience allows them use.
1.3 CSB-IISB have a duty to inform students and clients. At the outset of training or working together, they openly inform about the general conditions, goals and methods, and likely duration. They commit to make clear fee agreements before taking on an assignment. They are transparent in relation to their own qualifications and work methods. They inform about the EASB’s Ethical Guidelines and make them available at request.
1.4 CSB-IISB will at all times adhere to their agreements with students and clients. They recognize the importance of consent and choice.
At no time shall a student or client be coerced to participate in any activity, event or exercise. They retain the right to say no at any time.
1.5 CSB-IISB recognize that, when using physical touch, they need to obtain the consent of students and clients and to act with concern for their safety, growth and awareness about boundaries. CSB-IISB ask for permission to touch and stop touch when a student or client requests it or there are indications that stopping touch is appropriate.
1.6 Sexual contact and/or conduct with students and clients:
• CSB-IISB open highly intimate spaces of experience, whereby the client will at all times be respected and protected in their emotional and physical vulnerability. In this regard, the setting of such a space of experience is always understood as a learning experience for he students and client. It is never to be understood as an interactive activity at the sexual or emotional level.
• CBS-IISB remain clothed during group or individual sessions even if their students or clients in Sexological Bodywork are naked. The touching is unidirectional at all times.
• Students and clients may bring their partners when they wish to learn interpersonal erotic skills, or they can share and learn with other students when appropriate.
• Professional requirements include the use of medical examination gloves for genital internal touch (vaginal, anal) or at the request of the receiving and / or giving person also for all genital touches. In addition, high-quality, well-tolerated lubricants are used for touches in the genital area.
• All group classes shall include education about hygiene, with sufficient facilities/supplies provided to students and clients to maintain an appropriate hygiene standard.
1.7 CSB-IISB understand the inherent power we hold in our role of teacher/counselor/supporter and will not use this power for sexual exploitation of our students or clients.
1.8 CSB-IISB acknowledge the importance of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
1.9 To protect the health of both student/client and professional, CSB-IISB recognize the need for risk-reduction and professional protocol in all individual and group somatic sex education.
1.10 CSB-IISB will refrain from providing bodywork, training sessions and/or presenting any instructional material while either the Sexological Bodyworker or the client/student is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
1.11 CSB-IISB will terminate professional services to and relationships with students/clients when such services are no longer required or no longer serve the needs and interests of the students/clients.
1.12 CSB-IISB may unilaterally terminate services, on just and reasonable grounds after careful consideration of all situational factors and any possible adverse effects. CSBs can suggest make appropriate referrals and provide support to students/clients during this transition.
1.13 CSB-IISB strive to obtain extensive professional competencies through on-going training, supervision and self-exploration. The EASB produces standards for such activities.
1.14 CSB-IISB produce records/minutes of all Sexological Bodywork courses and sessions as appropriate. The decision on the production of such records lies with the CSB-IISB.
2) Duties and Obligations Regarding the Preservation of Confidentiality
2.1 CSB-IISB CSBs will respect and preserve the privacy of all information gained during instructional sessions.
2.2 CSB-IISB will release professional obligations for confidentiality only by written authorization from their students/clients, statutory requirement or court order; a general, nonspecific, or verbal authorization is not sufficient.
2.3 CSB-IISB will preserve the anonymity of students/clients when using information for purposes of teaching, research, and supervision.
2.4 CSB-IISB will require all persons attending classes to reach written or spoken agreement that respects and maintains the confidentiality of information shared during such sessions.
3) Duties and Obligations Towards the Profession
3.1 CSB-IISB are co-creating the profession of somatic sex education, which intends to fill the public need for accurate information and embodied learning opportunities. Any public representation by a CSB-IISB of the Sexological Bodywork profession shall be in integrity with these Guidelines and shall have the intention of furthering the profession.
3.2 CSB-IISB will represent with honesty and accuracy the scope of their training, qualifications, and experience with Sexological Bodywork in all spoken or written forms.
3.3 CSB-IISB will monitor all oral and written statements used in the advertisement, description, or explanation of services and the principles of Sexological Bodywork, determining that those statements will not:
- create unjustified expectations regarding outcomes
- make false claims about level of competence, training, or certification
- state or imply superiority to other methods or educational opportunities
- state or imply superiority to other Sexological Bodywork practitioners
- suggest that Sexological Bodywork practitioners diagnose, treat or prevent any medical or psychological condition.
3.4 CSB-IISB must distinguish between Sexological Bodywork and other professional services they may offer.
3.5 CBS-IISB will understand and practice Sexological Bodywork within the spirit of the principles and letter of these Guidelines. CSBs further agree to request supervision and guidance when experiencing ambiguity or difficulty with interpretation of what constitutes ethical behavior.
3.6 CSB-IISB may indicate in a constructive and positive manner to any CSB community member that they have ethical concerns. Alternately or additionally CSB-IISB may contact the EASB Board regarding their concerns.
3.7 CSB-IISB will aid the EASB in upholding these guidelines and cooperate with an investigation of possible violations.
4) Duties and Obligations to Colleagues
4.1 CSB-IISB will refrain from solicitation of colleagues’ students/clients.
4.2 CSB-IISB will encourage appropriate communication between students/clients and their current or recent teachers/counselors.
4.3 Should conflict arise amongst CSB colleagues, whether as part of a training session or within a personal context, the parties agree to seek resolution to their conflict, including but not limited to mediation, in such a way as the conflict and the resolution thereof, does not adversely effect students or the educational setting.
5) Use of professional title
5.1 Only persons who have completed professional training at the IISB are allowed to hold the title Certified Sexological Bodyworker IISB.
5.2 The EASB will admonish incorrect uses of titles and initate proceedings where necessary.
Zurich, December 2014
(reviewed and accepted: 30.11.2015)