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The Ethical Use of Touch in Psychotherapy

The Ethical Use of Touch in Psychotherapy

November 1997 | 319 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This is an excellent book... long overdue... [it] provides ample food for thought and encourages discussion. I simply couldn't put it down. The authors... write passionately about the most basic human need - touch and being touched - as part of the overall healing process. Both authors draw on a wealth of professional experience in working with psychiatric inpatients, severely traumatised patients and sexually misued people to build the foundation of their views... the book encourages the reader to look into the dynamics of the therapeutic process in a new light' - The Psychotherapy Review

Is the bias against touch in psychotherapy justified? Is ethical touch an oxymoron? 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 this book, however, Mic Hunter and Jim Struve skilfully 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, which is based on years of sound research and clinical experience, encourages readers to conduct a meaningful self-reflection and explore possible misconceptions related to touch in order to rejuvenate its acceptance.

The Physiology of Touch
The Influence of Touch on Socialization
Traditions of Touch within Various Cultures
Traditions of Touch in Psychotherapy
Power Dynamics that Affect the Use of Touch in Therapy
Functions of Touch in Psychotherapy
The Dynamics of Touch When Applied in Psychotherapy
Guidelines for Using Touch in Psychotherapy
A Continuum of Touch
Specific Techniques and Case Examples Involving the Use of Touch
The Use of Touch in Various Modalities and with Specific Populations
The Use of Bodyworkers as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy
Erotic Issues within the Psychotherapy Relationship
Examining Personal Views on the Use of Touch in Psychotherapy

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ISBN: 9780761903611
ISBN: 9780761903604

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