How to Build Confidence in Your Practice

By: Caroline Moncure

Marty working on a female client's psoas

One of the things I often talk about during in-person workshops is the concept of confidence. When we're new to something, whether it be massage therapy in general, or even just new techniques, sometimes our confidence in our ability can go out the window.


I like to break this idea of confidence down into a little formula: confidence= skills + experience. When I think of what factors build confidence for me, it comes down to not only the knowledge I have (skills), but also my ability to successfully apply that knowledge in my sessions (experience).


One of the easiest ways to gain the skills is education via in person workshops, online classes, books, trades, etc. But gaining the skills is only just one part of the equation. We have to actually practice those skills to become confident enough to use them on our clients when they need them. We’ve all experienced that moment where our client is in pain and we feel nervous to use our new skill in the moment. Instead, we revert to what we know and never give the new skill a chance.

To gain confidence, you must put that knowledge into action and practice it! I find this is the really hard part for people. It’s easy to go to a class and collect more skills, but going through the early stages of learning something and applying the new techniques to paying clients is the real trick. So, let me share some ways that I gain experience with new skills:

1. I’m straightforward with my clients.

If I see an opportunity to incorporate my new skill, I’ll often say something like: “Hey, I learned a new technique recently that I think might be really beneficial for your [issue]. Do you want to try something new today?”


2. I use the workshop space as my laboratory

When I’m actually in the workshop, I take advantage of the unique environment it provides. Bodyworkers give the best feedback. We’re often very attuned to our bodies and we have received lots of bodywork in our lives. Also, your instructor is right there and if they are worth any salt, they will want to do everything they can to make sure you leave the class prepared to apply the material learned in your practice.


3. I do trades or practice on family and friends

If I have a new skill that I’m really lacking confidence in, I'll find someone to practice on outside of my clients. Whether it’s a colleague, family member, or a friend, I can take some of the pressure off of myself by taking the exchange of money out of the equation.


Those are just some of my strategies to gain experience with new skills, but I find taking the time to nurture that confidence makes all the difference in my practice. I hope this post encourages you to branch out and bring some fresh energy into your practice this week!


*This post contains Amazon affiliate links

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