The Professionalization of Structural Integration: Establishing a Culture of Client-Centered Accountability
Akins, D. (2016). The professionalization of structural integration: Establishing a culture of client-centered accountability. IASI Yearbook of Structural Integration, 13, 84–98.
This paper explores current challenges in the professionalization of Structural Integration (SI) and advocates for the adoption of clear, relatable, client-centered standards to guide our presentation of the work. Client expectations place SI in the realm of healthcare, and mainstream healthcare standards include public accountability for any claims we make. Efforts toward accountability can be enhanced by using commonly acceptable standards of reliability to filter our claims. This will allow for more meaningful conversations about our work both within and beyond the SI community, helping to unify our profession and distinguish us from massage therapy. In exploring how the professions of psychology, physical therapy (PT), and acupuncture have addressed their own growing pains, it becomes apparent that a movement toward a common language, grounded in the standards offered by science, is essential to the establishment and ongoing development of our profession. While high quality clinical studies of SI are largely impractical for now, an updated presentation of our work based on physiological mechanisms and qualitative research collaborations may be more accessible options. The sustainability of this cultural shift will depend on the support of SI organizations, schools, and practitioners for efforts such as widespread IASI membership, credentialing through the Certification Board for Structural Integration, and enhancement of our training programs to approximate healthcare standards while maintaining our somatic orientation.