Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

Shiatsu Society of Ireland

Sunday 4th February 2018 @1: 00 pm

Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin

Minutes were taken by Siobhan Kirk


Joanne Faulkner, Chairperson                            Maria Butler

Siobhan Kirk, Administrator                                Susan Boyce

Tricia Frost, Treasurer                                          Mary McHugh

Sheena Woods, Panel member                             Helena O’Loughlin

Julien Joly, Panel member                                  Anna Rutkowska

Sally Dunne                                                             Jasmine Itter


John Mc Keever                                            Julie Dee

Patricia O’ Hanlon                                        Emer Mullarkey

Dorothee Clarke                                            Mirabel Kohler

Brian O’Leary                                                Fionnuala O’Hare

Meike Donohue                                                     Lynn Pepper

Petra Kopolova                                               Diana Cassidy

  • The chairperson welcomed attendees and gave a brief update on the progress of the current committee from their formation in April 2017. The new updated Shiatsu Society website has now been completed and members/new members can now renew electronically. The new Facebook page has been launched and our first ‘Practitioner of the Month’ has been named. and her blog posted. Adverts can be set once the budget is approved. The Newsletter is a helpful addition as you don’t have to be a member of the SSI to receive it and it’s free, simply add email to Website. In that way, we foster a Shiatsu Community.
  • Minutes of the Previous AGM in April 2017 were reviewed and signed off.
  • Reports of Officers:
  • Chairperson’s report as above.
  • Secretary’s report in the February newsletter.
  • Treasurer reports the account has little activity with the main expenses for the year being the new website which came to €700, and the ESF membership which came to €400.
  • She also reports problems with Permanent TSB’s service in that any changes need to be made in person and cannot be done via phone/email. She is currently trying to get a debit/credit card attached to the account to make necessary purchases for the society simplified, as since currently, the committee has to pay out of their own pockets and then claim it back later. It was discussed whether it would be better to just move to a more efficient bank but it was noted that this would be a big undertaking/there is a lot involved in opening an account for a society/non-profit organization.
  • Questions of Officers:
  • What are the ‘hits’ on the SSI website and Facebook? We haven’t set up analytics just yet so we are unable to determine this. It was suggested that we register the SSI website with ‘my google business’ so that it appears immediately at the top of any Google searches and it was agreed we would look into this.
  • What is the ESF doing? (Please see attached report from our ESF representative, Mary McHugh). Any queries members would like brought forward to ESF can be done through Mary.
  • It was also agreed that we should include an ESF section on the SSI website since there is no reference to it on there at the moment.
  • The question was raised why new graduate practitioners should need to be examined in order to become RPSSI since a lot of existing alternative therapies don’t hold the same standards of practice. There followed an open discussion about Shiatsu in different countries and their standards of practice compared to Ireland.

A suggestion was posed, ‘Should we raise the membership fee?’ The conclusion among those present was that maybe in the future when we have gained more members and we are offering more benefits, it would be worth considering but at the moment we need to attract more members and increasing the fee might put people off.

  • Election of Officers:
  • It was proposed for the current committee to be re-elected. This was seconded by Julien Joly and all present were in agreement. Elected.
  • Mary McHugh agreed to remain as ESF representative. She was proposed and seconded. Elected.
  • Substantive Motions
  • Proposed Projects & Budget for the year (click here for details)
  • Changes to the constitution specifically Shiatsu Society Practitioner Certification for Qualified Members: Clarification was needed to allow new practitioners to be assessed for RPSSI immediately after college qualifications rather than waiting the year as stated in the constitution. This was allowed in 2016 but the constitution was never officially amended to reflect the new rule. All present in agreement that the constitution is to be changed to reflect this.
  • The question was also posed to the panel members present, can we arrange to have panel member(s) present at college practitioner assessments so that they can obtain their registered status while completing their college diploma assessment? It was pointed out that it can be complicated to have panel members available but also agreed that it made practical sense to do this.
  • Any other Business

It was asked what the marketing plan is and Joanne suggested setting the budget at €1500 for the year while using an online marketing site like Fiverr or Upwork. However, it was suggested by Helena that we could employ a marketing person for about €2,000 a year and they could maintain the website/Facebook while saving the committee a lot of extra work. Helena said that the marketing person she employs for the college takes all of the heavy work off her shoulders and she is efficient/knows what works at getting noticed and promoting your business. Joanne asked Helena if her marketing person might be interested in taking on the SSI and Helena will contact her to inquire.

There followed clarification who is on the current panel: Julien Joly, Fionnuala O’Hare, and Sheena Woods.

  • Shiatsu as a recognized practice by health insurers: Siobhan Kirk spoke briefly about renewing members enquiring about Shiatsu as a recognized alternative therapy. Several members present stated they already give receipts to clients and their clients have been reimbursed since some insurances will cover ‘massage’ under their schemes.
  • It was discussed that some TD’s are against the use of alternative therapies as opposed to western medicine with one in particular campaigning against and that we should try to make contact with a TD to befriend/who might be able to help us should we face opposition.
  • Our membership with FICTA was questioned and if they might be of assistance in the health insurance recognition but we aren’t sure if FICTA is still together as an organization, Anna Rutkowska agreed to contact them to find out their status and our own current status with them.
  • Support for Members/supervision/ counseling/avoiding burnout.

Julien Joly proposed for discussion ‘How do practitioners support themselves to avoid burnout?’

Where are the practitioners now who were previously members and why have they dropped out?

How do we work with our own mental health while supporting our clients?

Many of our clients are coming to us with problems of depression/anxiety/emotional disturbances and really how are we supporting ourselves while treating them? He suggested that practitioners should be receiving support for themselves after 4/5 treatments.

There was a loose discussion following this about the society offering supervision/ counselling services for members as or when needed for up to 1-2 sessions per annum. A possible idea would be to find a Shiatsu therapist accredited to help with supervision and with the agreement of our members, pay/contribute towards the selected therapist. Everyone agreed that therapists should have an ongoing ‘practice’ for looking after themselves and maintaining a level of support for their own wellbeing and that this should be noted in the Code of Ethics. This issue will be discussed further in our regular skype meetings.

  • Paying Committee Members

It was suggested by Julien Joly that members of the committee should be paid for their time. Discussion followed with some suggestions for waiving membership fees for committee members and most present agreed that paying committee members might be feasible in the future when we have gained more members and have the funds available.

  • Funding Assistance for Members

Joanne asked that committee members who receive a contribution from the SSI towards workshops or conferences such as the recent Shiatsu Congress in Vienna might contribute a blog or article/pictures to the society for use in our marketing newsletters, Facebook, and website. Also, what is our contribution towards a member’s attendance at an event such as the Congress?

  • Sharing of Skills Days (inter-practitioner)

Siobhan proposed a sharing of skills days and intimated that renewing members have requested via application forms, the desire to share their experiences and skills working with clients with specific pathologies amongst their shiatsu peers. Suggestions of workshops, one-day events, and a residential were discussed with one-day events seemingly most preferred by those present. A date for such a day will be discussed with October/November 2018 as a possibility. Helena O’Loughlin kindly offered to hold such an event at Shiatsu College Dublin.

  • Regulation of People advertising as Shiatsu Practitioners

The committee has been contacted by several members regarding therapists advertising as Shiatsu practitioners without applicable qualifications. One such therapist has already been contacted by Helena and asked to remove false qualifications from her website. The question was posed Can we have some regulation regarding this issue?’ It was discussed that part of the problem with this happening, is that insurances are not imposing strict enough standards. If their insured parties had to be a member of the society, for example, it would ensure that they had the relevant qualifications. An agreement was made amongst those present to contact Joanne Faulkner or Helena O’Loughlin if we come across therapists with questionable Shiatsu credentials.

  • Leaflet

Joanne posed the question Should we have more leaflets designed to promote Shiatsu? We have also received a request from a member regarding the design of a new leaflet. Discussion followed that there were previous leaflets and examples of these were passed around. Those present agreed that the most recent leaflet only needed some text updating but still looked up to date and relevant as regards layout and media. Helena was Chairperson on the committee that organized the original designing of this leaflet and she was able to provide Joanne with details of the creator. Joanne will contact her to get the template and enquire re pricing and updating.

The AGM was closed with an invitation for members to join us via skype for future meetings should they wish to become more involved in the society.