As a therapist, do you ever shake hands with a client? Do you ever lightly touch a client's hand or shoulder as a conversational marker? What happens if you inadvertently touch a client? Nonerotic touch is a powerful form of communication, and research and clinical experience indicate that it can contribute to positive therapeutic change when used appropriately. This thoughtful book brings together experienced clinicians to review the research and to offer ethical, theoretical, and practical guidelines for using nonerotic touch in therapy settings. Featuring extensive clinical commentary and case examples, chapters address such topics as evaluating a client's desire to be touched, working with survivors of sexual abuse, the role of touch in regression and reparenting approaches, communicating with clients about the use of touch, and managing "touch errors."
"This masterful and comprehensive compendium of theory, research and practice is sure to edify psychotherapists of all persuasions and levels of experience. In Touch in Psychotherapy, old pros provide timeless wisdom about a previously perplexing topic." --Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD, Director, The Milton Erickson Foundation "Touch in Psychotherapy sheds a bright light on a crucially important dynamic in therapy, that of touch. An honest discourse on this subject is many years overdue and this book is it. Readers are offered a conscientious and critical perspective on touch through the prisms of developmental, theoretical, ethical, research-based, and practice points of view. The contributors have identified and dealt objectively with the key problematic concepts of touch including how to make ethical decisions, how to factor in therapist and patient variables, and how to evaluate diagnostic, process, and therapeutic factors to promote effective therapy. This book presents the reader with a sensitive, respectful, critically objective picture of the role and function of touch in psychotherapy. A bonus to the reader is the sense of richness, dynamic movement, and exhilaration we can still experience as psychotherapists. Psychotherapy will continue to flourish as long as we nurture a pioneering mentality for critical exploration in underdeveloped, misunderstood, or controversial dimensions of our work. These authors are pioneers." --Linda Campbell, PhD, University of Georgia, Center for Counseling and Personal Evaluation
"This book's contributors have taken a bold, fresh look at a vital dimension of psychological healing that most in the healing professions accept is important/m-/but that in recent years has fallen victim to the highly publicized and politicized behavior of an unscrupulous few. Challenging taboos, misinformation and prejudice, the contributors to this book collectively reexamine the touchy issue of touch in psychotherapy. Thanks to fears of lawsuits, on one hand, and the theoretical positions of establishment schools of psychotherapy, on the other, a whole generation of clinical professionals is graduating with no experience in how to make physical contact with their clients in ways that are responsible, respectful, and effective. This book, therefore, fills an important gap in the education of future psychotherapists by offering a beginning exploration of the case for touch in a wide range of therapeutic situations...." --Maureen O'Hara, PhD, Saybrook Institute