Exploring the use of touch in the psychotherapeutic setting: A phenomenological review

Psychotherapy (Chic). 2009 Mar;46(1):97-111. doi: 10.1037/a0014751.


This paper provides a synthesis of the literature concerning the duality of touch and talk between therapist and client in the psychotherapy setting. It discusses the ethical considerations, prohibitions, and attitudes about touch within the psychotherapeutic field. In addition, it looks at the client's perception of touch, types of touch, paradigms, rationales for the use of touch, religious and cultural considerations, the effects of touch, and research implications. Despite the reservations and lack of training around the use of touch in psychotherapy, there is a variety of literature to support its uses, benefits, effectiveness, and rationales, insomuch as there is a variety of literature about prohibitions, contraindications, and cautions of its use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).