While many clinicians consider physical contact with clients a therapeutic taboo, touch is one of the most direct and palpable ways of offering emotional support. With its grounding in a practical understanding of the autonomic nervous system, Polyvagal Theory offers a road map to the safe and effective therapeutic use of touch. Learn to not only enhance clients’ understanding of their own physiological responses, but also incorporate a powerful tool in your work. You’ll explore how to:
- Talk about touch with clients through the language of the autonomic nervous system
- Develop a touch menu with clients to use as a guide to explore different kinds of safe touch
- Create an autonomic touch map to identify connecting, mobilizing, and disconnecting responses
- Write a touch agreement based on a client’s touch map
Deb Dana, LCSW, is coordinator of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute and developer of the Rhythm of Regulation training series. She’s the coeditor, with Stephen Porges, of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory and author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy and Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection.