The Ethical Use of Touch in Psychotherapy

Is ethical touch an oxymoron? Is the bias against touch in psychotherapy justified? Can the recovery process be complete without healing touch? Mental health professionals are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of providing appropriate treatment for clients in a safe environment that nurtures trust, a necessary ingredient for optimum movement through the therapeutic process. Though treatment approaches vary, most modalities are verbally based and, in theory, exclude physical contact. Fearing that any form of touch would likely lead to sexual feelings or interaction, clinicians tend to shy away from the topic. In The Ethical Use of Touch in Psychotherapy, however, authors Mic Hunter and Jim Struve skillfully demonstrate that touch–a most basic human need–is intrinsic to the healing process along with talk-therapy, regardless of the practitioner's theoretical orientation. While the use of touch is a given in other health care settings, it remains a benefit denied as taboo in psychotherapeutic relationships, due to transgressors whose unscrupulous use of a valuable technique have marred its reputation. This book encourages readers to conduct a meaningful self-reflection and explore possible misconceptions related to touch in order to rejuvenate its acceptance. Based on years of sound research and clinical experience, The Ethical Use of Touch in Psychotherapy promises to enrich clinical discussion and stimulate further empirical research. This insightful and progressive presentation is a must read for clinicians, interns, and advanced students, as well as lay readers interested in the dynamics and innovations in psychotherapy.

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