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Ethical Issue of Use of Touch

in Psychotherapy

Professional Mental Health Ethics

A Training Resource

By James J Messina, Ph.D., CCMHC, NCC, DCMHS-T
References on the Use of Touch in Psychotherapy

Use of Touch in Psychotherapy

Calmes, S.A., Piazza, N.J. & Laux, J.M. (2013). The use of touch in counseling: An ethical decision-making model. Counseling & Values, 58(1), 59-68. DOI: 10.1002/j.2161-007X.2013.00025.x


Eyckmans, S. (2009) Handle with care: Touch as a therapeutic tool. Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand, 6(1), 40-53.


Harrison, C., Jones, R.S.P & Huws, J.C. (2012). “We're people who don't touch”: Exploring clinical psychologists’ perspectives on their use of touch in therapy. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 23(3), 277-287.


Hunter, M. & Struve, J. (1998). Challenging the taboo: Support for the ethical use of touch in psychotherapy with sexually compulsive/addicted clients. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 5(2), 141-148.


McNeil-Haber, F.M. (2004). Ethical considerations in the use of nonerotic touch in psychotherapy with children. Ethics & Behavior, 14(2), 123-140.


Ponzo, Z. (1985). The counselor and physical attractiveness. Journal of Counseling & Development, 63(8), 482-485.


Strozier, A.L., Krizek, C. & Sale, K. (2003). Touch its use in psychotherapy. Journal of Social Work Practice, 17(1), 49-62. DOI: 10.1080/0265053032000071457.


Willison, B.G. & Masson, R.L. (1986). Role of touch in therapy: An adjunct to communication. Journal of Counseling & Development, 64(8), 497-500.