A rather interesting post board is running on LinkedIn about the issue of “hugging” clients to which I have added my two bobs worth.
There is absolutely no question that “therapeutic touch” or “big touch as in a hug” does carry with it the propensity for reassuring support, however the best intention of the therapist in relenting to give a client a hug is fraught with immense danger so absolutely no touch is acceptable under any circumstances in Counselling therapy.
It is understood that there will be many body sensitive therapists who will challenge this “no touch” dictum as being extreme, however should they continue to ignore this warning they shall be doing so at their own risk, as the day will come when suggestion is made of touch being inappropriate, regardless of how well intended the therapist was in the delivery of their professional duty. As the following Linkedin discussion will reveal there are varied opinions around this particular aspect of our Counselling work.
Here below follows my comment on the LinkedIn site: Is it ok to hug a client at the end of a session?
I have been following this topic closely & see and understand the comments clearly, what is more, I believe that touch can certainly contribute to healing, however as a practicing professional therapists I declare that I shall never touch my clients, it is simply too dangerous & as much as we may want to show our empathic understanding with a gentle touch, that may well be a demonstration of our own need which simply must be contained.
This is my second post on this topic, & after some really heavy Supervision on this matter I state here emphatically that hugging is most definitely OUT, along with any inkling to touch our clients.
Whilst some clients may actually seek physical contact after therapy having “warmed” to a healed sense of awareness, the Counsellor’s professional contract with the client is for psychological therapy on deeper unseen levels of our being and so effectiveness to this element of our work maybe seriously & permanently jeopardized by crossing or merging the etheric boundary. Furthermore we never know at that time just how this client may or may not react regardless of our best assumptions, even more the case they may or may not reach full recovery, or relapse, so we as therapists whilst remaining in the mindful state of loving presence must also maintain a slightly aloof self state from complete connection.
Where as, when clients contract to have acupuncture, massage or such similar hands on medical & physical treatments we enter an entirely different contract to work with infinite levels & layers of physical stress & tension held within the conditioned body. Even so when the treatment is complete the original aloof distance between client & therapist must be immediately & professionally reestablished to effect closure for that session.
Bondi Junction Counselling Services is within the Bondi Junction Massage & Float Centre Our professionally qualified Counsellors & Massage therapists know, respect, & thoroughly understand the dignity & absolute confidence expected by & given to our clients.
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