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The following excerpt about healing human touch, touching and being touched is from the self-help psychology book Be Your Own Therapist - Whoever You Hire Is Just Your Assistant. Touch and touching are vital healing parts of human experience which are often overlooked.
TOUCH, TOUCHING AND BEING TOUCHED
"What happens when we meet a new friendly dog or cat? We tend to stroke the animal, using our hands on its body. What usually happens when we meet a new friendly person? Beyond a perfunctory handshake, we avoid touching. Why the difference? What would it be like to stroke a newly met person for the length of time one might stroke a newly met dog? What would such strokes look like? Our reluctance to touch stems from ingrained cultural training that such touching would be considered sexual in nature. Yet we all have seen films of our ape cousins grooming each other for hours without a trace of evident lust.
GROWTH TIP: Fantasize (or visualize) for a few moments meeting a new person and stroking that person's body as you would a newly met friendly cat or dog. How does that feel? Is it OK with you? (I am not suggesting you do this to a stranger.) Fantasize doing that often to a spouse/ significant-other when they end their workday. Do you want them to reciprocate?
Men, seemingly more than women, have been adversely affected by the cultural prohibition against touch, particularly the prohibition against touching another man. It is a significant growth experience for many men to finally find the courage to hug another man for the first time, discovering that there can be emotional caring without sexual feelings. ...Healing Human Touch
Do you touch enough? Under what circumstances and with whom do you want more touch? What is stopping you from touching and being touched more often? Our society historically has touched far too little. One of the many reasons why the crime of sexual abuse occurs so often is that adult perpetrators are trying to compensate for lack of childhood or present-day human touch. It has been said that we all need 8-12 meaningful touches a day. Are you giving and receiving that amount or more?"
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HEALING HUMAN TOUCH @1999