Interview with Beth Baron, Massage Therapist in Berkeley, CA

6.) KP: Is there anything else on a personal note that informs your work that we haven’t discussed?

Beth: There is one thing I can think of on a personal level, besides my own injury getting me into the field. Recently, I helped my sister through a pretty major surgery, both before and after. And, I learned that I have a really good skill set for that. There are some bodywork protocols that we used that were really helpful. So, I’m interested in developing that as a specialty…not necessarily my main specialty, but one specialty. I haven’t figured out quite how to do that, but I want to explore that more.

7.) KP:  I read about your Sustaining Care Program on your website whose mission is to provide affordable massage and bodywork to lower income community service workers.  I found that quite interesting.  Can you share a bit more about that?

Beth: It’s been an idea for a long time, but it hasn’t quite turned into a reality yet. The idea ties into what we were talking about earlier, that I’m not as accessible in terms of cost as I’d like to be. I started to think about how to make bodywork more accessible and how to help others.

With Sustaining Care, the objective is to develop a network of body therapists – and if there are any bodyworkers out there reading this who want to be a part of this, give me a call. This would be a network of body therapists who offer sliding scale sessions, at their own office, at their convenience, to low income frontline community service workers or activists. These types of workers are people who are often witness other people’s traumatic stories. They are out there on the streets everyday, supporting people who are in dire straits. They are going to carry those worries with them, including within their body. A lot of them aren’t paid enough to afford regular bodywork therapy. Even just a session or two a month for somebody like that could be really helpful.

KP: That’s great that you’re thinking about how this could help these workers on a personal level, including being able to function better and think better in their work with that additional support.

Beth: And possibly support there being more continuity due to less burnout and less burnout means more care for the clients they are working with as well. I haven’t totally worked out how to offer it. I first need to get the community of body therapists. Then, it will probably make sense to first offer it as a benefit to people who work for specific organizations. I’m certainly open to other ideas, but that’s what I’m thinking now.

KP: That makes sense on a lot of levels. As I hear you talk about this, I’m guessing that this kind of benefit is not something on many organizations’ radar, so the idea that this could benefit the staff could be quite interesting to the leadership. Perhaps there are grant resources to explore. It’s a unique idea, so just curious.

Beth: Other people have suggested the idea of grants, too. For me personally, I have a commitment to my private practice, so I have minimal extra time available. I would love it if it got big enough that somebody would want to write a grant. I don’t have the experience or that much interest in that piece. If it got big enough, I’d probably want to pass it along to someone else. At first, I was thinking any kind of provider, but now that I’m doing the Somatic Experiencing, I think I’m going to keep the program of Sustaining Care focused on bodyworkers.

KP: Thank you so much for sharing about your work. I really enjoyed this. Best wishes with the continued growth of your private bodywork practice in Berkeley.

Beth: Thank you, I enjoyed talking with you, I didn’t realize that I would talk so much. (laughter)

KP: Oh, I get that all the time (laughter).

For more information about Beth Baron, or to contact her directly, please visit her website: http://bethbaron.com.

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