CODE OF ETHICS
OUR GREATEST INTEREST IS YOUR SAFETY & HEALING
We first and foremost wish to acknowledge the highly sensitive nature of the therapeutic work we do, whether it is in guiding non-dual Tantric meditations for spiritual liberation, coaching couples in sex & intimacy, providing movement therapy for a bad back, or supporting a student in safely experiencing their bodily boundaries and sensations for the first time in years.
There is no official regulatory body to oversee the complicated mixed bag of modalities to emerge from Tantra and Neo-tantra, which often includes modern forms of Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork. There are advocates who have come together to increase harm reduction efforts, spread awareness, and create a code of ethics.
While we have made some additions, edits, and other remixes, the statement and code of ethics below has been sourced from we-can-do-better.com and our friends at the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers. We express gratitude to them for their contributions.
We at the Auṃ Institute of Tantra stand together in community as practitioners and teachers of Tantra, including modern methods of Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork. We acknowledge with deep concern the harm that has been done as a result of boundary violations, rapes, and sexual and power abuses at the hands of individuals, groups, and organizations promoting all forms of spiritual, physical, emotional, and sexual well-being.
With this statement we break the complicity of silence—both current and historic—that 1) overtly and covertly inhibits and prohibits students and apprenticing teachers from naming the sexual violation and abuses of power experienced at the hands of their teachers, and 2) excuses teachers from being accountable when violations are brought to them.
As a profession, we wish to clearly articulate and model exquisite boundaries and consent in our interactions with our students and clients. We wish to establish Tantra, including modern Somatic Sex Education as a modality governed by these exquisite boundaries, practiced by professionals who are held accountable by local and global bodies of council, whose clinical work adheres to up-to-date understandings of current evidence-based theories and practices on Trauma. We therefore demand compliance to these standards from our own teachers and leaders. We recognize the immense power, positive value and impact Tantra and Somatic Educators have in our world, and hold ourselves and each other, as a cohesive professional body, to a high standard of excellence in our boundaries as professionals.
This statement is an invitation to any and all Tantra, Meditation Teachers, Somatic Sex Educators, and Sexological Bodyworkers worldwide, to embody these values, demand excellence from our teachers and from each other, and begin the necessary conversations to create global and local webs of communities to support us in this endeavour.
OUR DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS TO OUR STUDENTS
1. Auṃ Institute of Tantra will be professional in attitude and conduct, responsible in relations with clients and students, reliable in agreements and timely in appointment schedules.
2. Auṃ Institute of Tantra will introduce prospective students to the techniques of Tantra, meditation, and somatic sex education, including the possible use of touch, so students can make informed decisions about entering into coaching sessions. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra agree to maintain appropriate documentation of consent.
3. Auṃ Institute of Tantra recognizes the importance of consent and choice in all therapeutic interactions, especially in the context of somatic sex education and coaching with groups or individuals. We will strive to provide a range of options from which the student can actively elect, which will serve their own education. At no time shall a student be required or coerced to participate in any activity, event, or exercise. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra provides education about consent and choice and actively creates learning environments where students are empowered to exercise these skills.
4. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra may use physical touch in an educational context. If they do so, they touch consciously and with the attitude to do no harm. We agree to obtain students’ consent and to act with concern for their safety and growth, and an awareness of boundaries.
5. Regarding Sexual Contact and/or Conduct with Students:
Teachers (and supporting teachers, apprentices, and coaches) of Tantra, Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork do not have sexual and/or romantic relationships with their students. Practitioners of Somatic Sex Education do not have sex and/or romantic relationships with their clients.
a. We acknowledge the importance of maintaining appropriate boundaries, including asking permission to touch and stopping touch when our students request it.
b. We are conscious and make our students conscious that while we may share authentic intimacy, our coaching sessions will neither fulfill neither theThe Auṃ Institute of Tantra practitioners', nor our students' desire for sexual connection.
c. In group or individual sessions we remain clothed when touching our students and touching is unidirectional. We request that our students bring their partners when they wish to learn interpersonal erotic skills or invite them to share and learn with other students when appropriate.
d. The teacher/student/client relationship is a power dynamic that makes authentic consent impossible. Teachers/practitioners who have sex with their students/clients are unequivocally taking advantage of a fixed power dynamic and dishonoring one of the core values of our profession. We define ‘student/client’ as anyone who is currently studying/working with, or has studied/worked with a professional.
6. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra acknowledges the importance of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. To protect the health of both student and professional, we recognize the need for risk-reduction and professional protocol in all individual and group somatic sex education. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra takes steps to minimize any physical or emotional harm, in active collaboration with all students.
7. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will refrain from providing bodywork, training sessions and/or presenting any instructional material while either the therapist or the client/student is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
8. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will consider the limits of our skills and experience before accepting requests for or providing educational or instructional services to potential students. Further, the Auṃ Institute of Tantra will refuse professional work for which they are insufficiently prepared.
9. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will seek the advice of colleagues or supervisors as a routine part of their practice or training. In consultations, confidential information that reasonably could lead to the identification of the student is not shared without prior written consent of the student.
10. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will terminate professional services to, and relationships with students when such services are no longer required or no longer serve the needs and interests of the students.
11. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra may unilaterally terminate services, on just and reasonable grounds after careful consideration of all situational factors and any possible adverse effects. We are responsible to make appropriate referrals and to provide support to students during this transition.
12. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will refrain from the exploitation of professional relationships with our students for personal gain, whether financial, professional, or for research purposes.
Duties and Obligations Regarding the Preservation of Confidentiality
13. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will respect, defend, and preserve the privacy of all information gained during instructional sessions.
14. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will release professional obligations for confidentiality only by written authorization from their students, statutory requirement or court order; a general, nonspecific, or verbal authorization is not sufficient.
15. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will preserve the anonymity of students when using information for purposes of teaching, research, and supervision.
16. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will require all persons attending classes or private tutoring sessions reach written or spoken agreement that respects and maintains the confidentiality of information shared during such sessions.
17. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will maintain appropriate professional records of all Sexological Bodywork classes and sessions.
18. The Auṃ Institute of Tantra will obtain informed, written permission from students before recording or filming any session, explaining the intended use of the recording and the limits of confidentiality.