The Healing and Connective Power of Touch
By Landon Kirk | Added December 14
Psychologist Matthew Hertenstein (http://www.depauw.edu/learn/lab/people/) has empirically supported some of the critical points of CALO's relational model which requires the use of safe touch. With so many Americans drifting to a preference of cyber relationships it may not be surprising that the United States lags behind many other countries when it comes to understanding and harnessing the power of human to human touch and connection. In one of Hertenstein's publications, 70 percent of strangers could communicate emotion with one another through nothing more than a touch. Researchers have also found that a supportive touch can ease pain, alleviate stress and encourage peers to participate in class. It might be as simple as a pat on the back, a gentle hug or a supportive touch on the arm. These gestures may seem small, but research shows more and more that touch is a powerful way to communicate emotion and acceptance. CALO students regularly receive peer-peer and staff-student safe touch (defined as side hugs or touch on the upper back or arms).
So, the next time you find your words are falling on deaf ears, try connecting through safe touch instead. No words, just touch. At CALO we know it is an incredible regulating tool--one that is more effective than lecturing or any "amazing" advice or life experiences that one might desire to impart verbally. Subsequently, touch facilitates new, safe, accepting, and re-wiring (the brain) experiences for CALO students.
About the Author
Landon Kirk, MSW, LCSW Chief Clinical Officer and Co-founder
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