S2-E47 – The Power of Therapeutic Touch

In this episode, hosts Andrew and Maxi take a deeper look at the power of touch in the therapeutic relationship.

Andrew discussion the impact of reading The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine, and shares some great quotes which examines how touch augments the therapeutic relationship.

Some of the key topics discussed include:

  • How touch can be used both for assessment and connection with the patient.
  • The Ted Talks episode by Abraham Verghes – “A Doctor’s Touch”.
  • How touching is key to the transformation of a patient’s level of trust, and how as clinicians we often forget the feeling of being a patient.
  • Why we need to build a bridge to create a sense of safety in the therapeutic relationship.
  • How responsive touch bypasses cognition and engages the neurophysiological system to activate the parasympathetic response which creates trust and safety.
  • How the patient’s mental and emotional state can change with each assessment, and using touch to re-build the bridge.
  • Using appropriate touch in context to each patient, and communicating why, with added sensitivity to trauma survivors.
  • Adjusting our own state of being fully present while touching the patient, and observing their response.
  • How safe and appropriate touch can positively impact the patient and allow a deeper healing.
  • Why practicing your “presence” skills rather than just touching skills is important.

A key takeaway from this episode is to observe your own state and do an out-breath before you touch a patient, and observe what’s happening with their response, and adjust yourself as needed.

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