Pilates Teachers' Manual

Reviewing the Scope of Practice

October 08, 2020 Olivia Bioni Season 3 Episode 5
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Reviewing the Scope of Practice
Chapters
0:00
Welcome
1:38
What is the Scope of Practice?
6:12
What is Beyond the Scope of Practice?
12:53
Benefits of Our Scope
17:28
Expanding Our Scope
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Reviewing the Scope of Practice
Oct 08, 2020 Season 3 Episode 5
Olivia Bioni

The scope of practice outlines what a Pilates teacher can and can't do in a Pilates session. It's very useful for setting professional boundaries between yourself and your client and clearly outlining the limits of your Pilates teacher training. Today I review the scope, and then share ways to expand your scope of practice through additional trainings and continuing education.   
I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM

Email [email protected] with your feedback.

Show Notes:

The Scope of Practice for Nationally Certified Pilates Teachers can be found here: *http://bit.ly/NCPTscope* It can be a good guide for all Pilates teachers, regardless of national certification status or PMA affiliation.

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings! 

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Tobu - Good Times [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/YHSH9k9ooZY
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/goodtimes

Track: Tobu & Itro - Sunburst [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/4lXBHD5C8do

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The scope of practice outlines what a Pilates teacher can and can't do in a Pilates session. It's very useful for setting professional boundaries between yourself and your client and clearly outlining the limits of your Pilates teacher training. Today I review the scope, and then share ways to expand your scope of practice through additional trainings and continuing education.   
I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM

Email [email protected] with your feedback.

Show Notes:

The Scope of Practice for Nationally Certified Pilates Teachers can be found here: *http://bit.ly/NCPTscope* It can be a good guide for all Pilates teachers, regardless of national certification status or PMA affiliation.

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings! 

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Tobu - Good Times [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/YHSH9k9ooZY
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/goodtimes

Track: Tobu & Itro - Sunburst [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/4lXBHD5C8do

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.

Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. [00:01:00] Today, I'm going to be reviewing something that is definitely on the national Pilates certification program exam if you are looking at becoming a nationally certified by Pilates teacher. It is also something that's good to know just as a teacher of Pilates. And that is the scope of practice of Pilates teachers. 

Does that sound boring? I don't know. I don't think it's boring. It's kind of important and very integral to what we do as we teach. So today I'm going to be reviewing it, what it is, why it matters, and some ways that you can expand your scope of practice, if that's something you're interested in doing. 

There's really only two things you need to know about the scope of practice and that's what you can do and what you can't do as a Pilates teacher. What you can do is within the scope. What you can't do is beyond the scope of practice. 

Having these limits on what you're able to offer or say that you offer as a Pilates teacher is really, really useful in terms of setting [00:02:00] expectations for your clients. They know that this is what is going to happen in a session and a class, and also taking some pressure off of yourself, that you don't need to do things that are beyond your level of expertise. So it really does give you a little bit more freedom to say, I don't know, and then refer to a teacher or a physical therapist or a doctor who does know, because that's within their scope of practice.

So it's a really important thing to know and to think about occasionally. So that's what we're going to be doing right now. 

This is definitely on the national Pilates certification exam. I have the book from before the branding change, because I took the exam in 2018 and then they rebranded, I think in 2019, but I did look it up. The scope of practice is still the same. That's good to know. And there's definitely going to be a couple of questions on it. When you look at the exam breakdown, there's going to be a question about scope of practice. [00:03:00] Definitely at least one. 

So what is it? What as a Pilates teacher are you allowed to do as you teach Pilates?

You can design a Pilates exercise program. Yeah. You definitely are qualified to do that. That is what your entire teacher training was. 

You are also allowed to, and supposed to, recognize when the person is not a good fit for Pilates, whether they have other stuff going on in their body, whether it's not safe for them to do Pilates because of that stuff, and then refer those clients to medical help, or another type of help, depending on what's going on in their body. 

You are allowed to coach and provide general information and also promote exercise as something that improves overall health. Like you are a fitness teacher, a wellness teacher, in that regard. 

You can interact with your client's physical therapist or doctor to hear from them what is going on in their body so that you can effectively design a Pilates [00:04:00] program for them. 

You can document the progress of your client, not in a numerical or measurable way, but in a very qualitative way. You can track what exercises they're working on, improvements that they're making, things that are going on in their body or in their life. You're allowed to do that. 

You should always request permission before offering a touch cue and use appropriate touch to facilitate movement. And that's to prevent injury or damage, and also within the laws of the state or the city or the country, I guess, that you're working in. 

These are things that you're already doing as a Pilates teacher. I am a hundred percent sure of it. You know, when someone comes in and they are not ready for Pilates yet, whether there's injuries or surgeries or things is going on. I know that you're checking, you know, when a client is pregnant, whether they need a liability waiver for practicing during pregnancy or a doctor's note when they're coming back from a surgery or from delivery. Any of those things, like those [00:05:00] are really standard practice. 

Same with asking for permission to touch people. And right now we're not touching people. I totally get it. But when we did, it makes sense that you should obtain consent before you are touching anyone. And of course that you're using appropriate touch. Appropriate touch is a gray area, right? It's going to be different from client to client. It might be different from exercise to exercise. So that's really where your relationship with your client is going to come into play. Everyone has their own opinion and like body-autonomy wise of what's inappropriate touch. So you really want to be in a dialogue with your client about that because that's something that changes. 

I love that you're able to connect with other medical professionals, other teachers, perhaps sometimes, you know, a client moves from one teacher to another teacher and you want to talk to their previous teacher, like, what were you working on? What did you see in their body? 

Same thing if they're coming out of PT. I love getting a copy of the exercises that they've been working on in PT, so that I [00:06:00] understand a little bit more about what's going on in their body, what their focus is and then designing an exercise program. That's pretty much what you do as a teacher, is you're designing an exercise program for every class and for every session. 

There are certain things that are out of bounds or beyond the limits of a Pilates teacher scope of practice. And those are things like prescribing an exercise program, diagnosing, continuing to train a client beyond your knowledge, without medical clearance. Prescribing diets, measuring a client's progress with instrumentation, counseling your clients, claiming proficiency and competency beyond the limits of your credentials, applying inappropriate touch, and continuing to train a client that is exhibiting any of the unusual symptoms like dizziness or chest pain, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, pretty much the symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke. Probably shouldn't continue working [00:07:00] with the client if they're having a stroke or heart attack. You know, we should definitely call 911. 

But those first three ones that are on the no-no list are really important to keep in mind. Because as a Pilates teacher, you are not a medical professional. So prescribing,  diagnosing- Oh, I skipped one, but also like claiming to treat certain injuries or rehabilitate certain injuries. Like that is not what you are certified to do as a Pilates teacher. 

Whenever I'm teaching a class. I like to say that everything is optional and prescribing just sounds really serious. And also something that we know about the body that at least in the training that we have as a Pilates teacher, nothing is as black and white as, Oh, your knee hurts. Do these three exercises and then your knee won't hurt anymore. We can't really say that and we shouldn't really say that because the body is far more complicated and more interesting.

Even if someone comes in and I think of scoliosis is one that is pretty [00:08:00] easy to visually identify in things like elephant or maybe long stretch. Anytime that you're going to see a spine, you may even see it in other places, but that's a place where it's usually like, I, yes. You're still not going to say you have scoliosis to a person because you're not trained in identifying, you know, scoliosis.

You may notice that their spine has some curvature and you might talk to them about that. Like, Hey, I'm seeing some curvature in your spine. And now when I look at you standing, you know, one of your shoulders appears to be higher than the other one. Is there anything going on in your body? And hopefully you've also talked to that client before class as well so that maybe they've already told you that thing. 

But it's not within our scope of practice to give them a diagnosis because we can't see inside of their body. We can see how they move and we can adapt our exercise program to how they move and how the exercises are working in their [00:09:00] body. But we can't tell them that they have something or that there's something going on. 

That's definitely a case where if the person didn't know about this thing that was going on in their body. And most of the time people do know, but sometimes they don't, you may refer them out and ask them to get checked by their doctor, ask them to share parts of their medical history with you if you're working with them.

If you don't know how to work with a person who has, I don't know, spinal stenosis, you should not work with the person who has spinal stenosis until you are trained and know contraindications and how to work with that body. There's no shame in referring that person to another teacher or again, referring them out to a physical therapist. Pilates may not be what they need. And if you aren't able to offer something that's going to benefit them, there's no point in telling them that it's going to benefit them. If you can't provide that, like don't do that. 

Same thing with claiming [00:10:00] competency in subjects beyond your credentials. If you don't know about something, you don't know about it, and you shouldn't try to either teach other people about it or work with people who you just aren't having the qualifications to work with. 

Although we know that the benefits of Pilates can help people who have injuries, who have had surgeries- it can help them build strength, increase flexibility- we aren't treating people, right, because we're not doctors. We aren't rehabilitating people. What we're doing is giving them movement education, giving them tools that are helping them get stronger, helping them get more mobile, more flexible. But we also need to know the limits of what we're doing as well. 

Can Pilates be a key piece in recovery? It definitely can, but we aren't treating injuries. If you're just a Pilates teacher that is not something that you are allowed to say that you do. 

There was something really [00:11:00] similar in the yoga world where yoga therapy, it became a thing and people were throwing around yoga therapy. Yoga therapy is actually its own certification. So in order for you to say that you offer yoga therapy, you need to have also undergone this additional training in yoga therapy that is kind of like a mix of physical therapy and then teaching yoga. And actually when you renew your certification to be in Yoga Alliance, you need to affirm that "I will not say that I teach yoga therapy unless I am a certified yoga therapist." And that just speaks to the scope of practice that you can only say that you do things, you can only do things, within your scope. 

Coming up after the break, I'm going to tell you why this is important and ways that you can expand your scope of practice, if you're so interested in doing that. That's coming up after the break.

Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. [00:12:00] There's great stuff coming up after the break, too. Be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. 

There, you can make a one time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month. Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me, and more. You can also visit links,OliviaBioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Back to the show.

Having some constraints on what we're able to do as a Pilates teacher is really beneficial to us as teachers and [00:13:00] to our clients. And I'm going to give you some examples. One thing is that when you have a very clear box of what you are able to do, you can really excel in what you're trained to do. That's what we're offering as Pilates teachers, we're offering the benefits of Pilates and the benefits of a tailored exercise system and routine to our students.

We aren't doctors, we aren't physical therapists, we aren't massage therapists. We aren't counselors, which is really important, I think, if you do work one on one with people and they're sharing parts of their life, and they're telling you about what is going on, you know, you also want to have a bit of a boundary there. You do want to have a set relationship with your client. If they're coming to you and hoping that you're going to solve their relationship problems or their life problems, you know, that's not within your scope of practice and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable or bad [00:14:00] telling them that, you know, that's really beyond what I'm able to offer you in this session.

You know, I've had clients where I've told them, you know, I'm happy to listen, but the focus is going to be on doing Pilates and you just have to be gentle, but firm that it's not your job to treat mental things. I think it's worth understanding more about a person, but if they're looking to you for emotional support, that's really not something that you're able to do or that you should do as a Pilates teacher.

Anything where you're measuring with instrumentation. And this kind of speaks to an episode that I did on Pilates Students' Manual about how do I know that I'm progressing? Because progress is A) subjective and B) not being measured the same way you would measure strength at a doctor's office, where there's a machine that's telling you like how much effort is being exerted by a muscle. Like, that's not what we're doing in Pilates, but we do have a very, and no less important way, of measuring progress in terms of [00:15:00] resistance, in terms of stability, in terms of, you know, progressing through the exercises, in terms of managing more load. Like we definitely see progress happening with our clients, but it's not a numerical progress that we're tracking.

When it talked about documenting your client's progress, you may have a notebook where you just write down a thought or two from a private session or in my group classes I'll write down, you know, what things I really worked on class. Was I focusing on pelvic stability? Was I focusing on scapular stability? Was I focusing on coordination challenges? And then when you have that record, even though it's just your notes and maybe it doesn't make sense to anyone else, that allows you to really track progress. 

But we're not measuring it. We're not measuring lung capacity. We're not measuring strength. Even the spring resistance is, I mean, maybe we know what the springs' exact resistance is. I do not know what it is. I just know it is relative to other springs. So, you know, it's like that as well. 

Pilates teachers, however, are in a really unique position [00:16:00] to work with clients and work with people over a long period of time. It's not like physical therapy where you have 10 sessions and then your insurance runs out. It's not like going to see a doctor and you maybe see the doctor and talk with the doctor for 10 or 15 minutes, and that's after waiting a long, long time to have an appointment with them. There's definitely a place for physical therapy in terms of rehabilitating an injury or seeing a doctor in case of diagnosing or getting a prescription, whether it's for physical therapy or for medication.

But Pilates teachers are really uniquely positioned to work with their clients over time, watch them grow over time, and really continue to work with them beyond what medical professionals are going to be able to see. So in a lot of ways, it's excellent that we have this more limited scope of practice because we have more time to work with them and the ability to work with [00:17:00] them on things beyond the one injury or one issue that they may have seen a medical professional for. We really get to work with the whole body. 

Some parts of the scope of practice- you don't really want to expand beyond, right? You don't want to be like, "I've expanded my scope of practice. Now I don't ask for consent when I touch." Like some of them are pretty straight forward. You're still gonna need to ask for consent, and you're not going to use inappropriate touch. That makes sense. 

But in terms of things like offering or teaching beyond the limits of your credentials, your credentials can grow and expand and what you are competent and comfortable working with can also grow and expand. A lot of continuing education is designed to help you get competent in areas and with parts of the body and with conditions that you aren't already comfortable or competent. 

And another way that I see Pilates teachers kind of working [00:18:00] around the scope of practice is, and by around, I mean actually expanding the scope of practice to include more things is that they wear more hats. So, you know that I'm a Pilates teacher and also a yoga teacher. So some of the movements or some of the things that I do in sessions might draw from my yoga background because that is something that I am also certified to teach. I also have the credentials to teach that. We see Pilates teachers who are also physical therapists or also massage therapists, or are also accredited to teach other movement styles and other types of movement.

You're not really going beyond your scope of practice. Your scope of practice has expanded to include those additional certifications. Or even in regard to like prescribing a diet, if you are a Pilates teacher and also a registered dietician, you could offer Pilates and, you know, assistance in optimizing diet or something like that, because that is also something you do. But I would say you're [00:19:00] not doing that as a Pilates teacher. You're doing that because you are also a registered dietician. 

I think what we've heard through past episodes of Pilates Teachers' Manual is that teaching Pilates, it's actually a really small part of the puzzle. It is what you are certified to do. And so all of the designing planning, enacting exercise program part of teaching Pilates makes a lot of sense. 

But it's also like a very small thing in terms of what people need as people. Right. We're really talking about like a very small piece of the physical wellness component. I've seen in Pilates Instagram, that, you know, there are limits to what we can even do in Pilates, where we're talking about things like strength training, or cardio.

There are ways that you can incorporate both of those things into Pilates really only up to a point. The spring resistance, your body weight is only gonna [00:20:00] allow you to build enough strength. And the higher impact exercises that we can incorporate into Pilates like, there's only so much that you can, like cardio, that you can do in Pilates. Even jumping on the jump board, because you're horizontal, you're not challenging your cardiovascular system, the same way you would in a higher impact way, if you're jumping vertically. 

So there's definitely limits to what Pilates is, you know, and that's not addressing the emotional component of humans. That's not addressing the dietary needs of humans. So when people come in and talk about, you know, can I do Pilates and lose weight? Can I do Pilates and, you know, develop long lean muscles, things like that. Pilates can be a piece of those things, but it's not everything. There's a bigger picture. And Pilates fits into just one part of it. 

Those are my thoughts about the scope of practice of Pilates teacher. We went over things that you can do, [00:21:00] things that you should not do. Another bit of reading that you can look into if you're interested in this, is the code of ethics for Pilates teachers as well. They're just good things to know, and they're good limits to have so that people don't expect more from you, and you don't also feel pressured to give more than you are able to give to a client at any time. 

Let me know if you have any questions about scope of practice. Have you taken additional trainings to expand your scope of practice so that you are able to work with more people? Let me know! 

A really big thank you to all of my supporters on Buy Me a Coffee. You keep the podcast going and I appreciate your support so much. Thank you for visiting that Buy Me a Coffee page and offering those donations. Thank you for sharing episodes and getting the word out about the podcast. I truly appreciate it. 

Have a great week and I'll talk to you again soon.

[00:22:00] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

The adventure continues. Until next time.



Welcome
What is the Scope of Practice?
What is Beyond the Scope of Practice?
Benefits of Our Scope
Expanding Our Scope