I am extensively trained in the use of touch for trauma resolution, with both neurophysiological and neuroaffective approaches.
The use of touch in psychotherapy for the repair of early attachment ruptures and trauma resolution is not new. Competent and ethical psychotherapists have used intentional physical contact since the early 1930’s. What is new is that there is current neurobiological data that supports the efficacy for the use of touch for the resolution of pre-verbal relational trauma. Clinically, intentional touch in psychotherapy has been implemented by bodyworkers and psychotherapists.
Through physical contact with the body, it is possible to “tune in” to the inherent motion within, establishing a direct physiological rapport between the therapist and client. Using touch helps make sense of a client’s fine neural signaling and tracks signals in the different systems (skeletal, ligamentous, muscular, visceral, endocrine, nervous, fluid and fascia) as they operate to restore systemic regulation. The skillful use of touch integrates the fundamentals of relational somatic psychotherapy with current neuroscience to support their clients capacity to heal their earliest developmental traumas.
Kathy Kain has taught the use of touch to trauma therapists for two decades within the context of somatic experiencing. Her approach is to address the dysregulation of the client’s neurophysiology by focusing on “developing tactile skills, somatic awareness, and other touch-related skills in the context of working with the resolution of trauma.” Working directly on bodily systems has the effect of healing emotional wounds.
Aline LaPierre has taught the use of touch from a psychotherapy scope for several years, integrating the key elements of developmental theory and somatic psychotherapy. By highlighting the importance of the body and emphasizing its relations with the mind, the skillful use of touch can address developmental deficits and resolve traumas that cannot be reached by verbal means alone.