Articles about

Social Safety

Safety in Numbers

December 16th, 2020 — In its narrowest sense, acupuncture safety sounds something like: “Whoa, be careful with the sharp end of that thing!” Mostly, this post isn’t about that part, though. This isn’t about physical safety; it’s about social safety.

Two un-answerable questions

December 30th, 2020 — Power can get confused with control, and bodies don’t respond to control. Thinking they do creates unsafe conditions for treatment.

If Your Patients Aren’t Breaking Your Heart, Are You Really Doing Community Acupuncture?

April 30th, 2021 — Anchor patients are the people who make the clinic what it is, who help set the tone of the organization, who remind the punks why we do what we do and make us want to keep doing it. The presence of anchor patients is one way the clinic creates social safety, and also is an indicator that a certain amount of social safety is present already.

The Man Who Stared at Women

May 5th, 2021 — Some behavior in the clinic is inappropriate, and some inappropriate behavior is also gendered and/or sexual. Not all inappropriate behavior makes the clinic environment less socially safe (sometimes it’s just annoying and/or disruptive, like patients answering their cell phones in the treatment room) but all inappropriate behavior that’s gendered and/or sexual presents a social safety problem.

Treating Sexual Complaints in a Community Acupuncture Clinic

May 5th, 2021 — Treating sexual complaints in a community acupuncture clinic requires an active, intentional approach to creating social safety. There’s no one right way to do that, and doing it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to treat everyone.

Leadership and Safety Part 1: Consent

May 7th, 2021 — Inspirational leaders make other people want to do things that those people were otherwise not motivated enough or not confident enough to do on their own. They get people to transcend their own self-interest to serve a bigger vision. That’s wonderful, right? Yeah, no, not really.

Leadership and Safety Part 2: "Edna Mode" Mode

May 9th, 2021 — “I know we decided to follow the CDC guidelines for COVID in the workplace, but now that we have something we need to follow them ABOUT, what if they’re WRONG?” This is when you need Edna Mode.

Billy, Don't Be A Guru

May 14th, 2021 — Safety requires transparency, and transparency requires that we actively and intentionally disengage from the role of Guru in our patient relationships.

"How Bad Is It REALLY to Date a Patient?"

May 26th, 2021 — The practice of acupuncture involves a certain amount of intimacy between humans, in the context of a society that’s just beginning to learn about consent, with capitalism telling us all that there’s never enough of anything good. (Spoiler: it's still a bad idea to date patients.)

On Regulars

May 15th, 2021 — The relationships you have with certain regular patients will shape the parameters of your whole practice.

On Firing Patients

June 27th, 2021 — If you’re treating enough humans to have a sustainable practice, you’re treating enough humans so that every now and then, things will go off the rails with one of them and you will have to end the relationship.

Social Safety Swiss Cheese

July 14th, 2021 — Reflections on acupuncture safety incidents that involve no needles at all.

Safety CEUs!

February 12th, 2022 — We have some! And they don't suck!

Clean Needle Technique, Social Safety, and the Benefits of Being a Safety Nerd

April 12th, 2022 — The idea behind Clean Needle Technique is that an acupuncturist needs to approach every patient as if they had all possible bloodborne diseases. This is important for your individual safety as a punk because you can’t depend on patients to 1) know their status or 2) tell you. But approaching every patient in the exact same way is also crucial to the social safety of the clinic -- and the bigger the clinic, the more people involved, the more concerning the potential consequences become for *not* treating every patient in the same way.