Touch, the Forgotten Language

Hence, the first impulse of every creature must be a desire to establish contact with the outer world. Wilhelm Reich
In verbal based psychotherapy, without physically touching the patient, there are many ways for both the patient and the therapist to be touched. An incomplete listing includes: transference, countertransference, resonance, somatic resonance, coupled, electro-magnetic resonance, projective identification, vegetative identification, primary identification, empathy, containment, reverie, investment, holding, somatic transference, field theory and mutual inductive identification.
In addition, when using touch in psychotherapy, there are a wide range of themes and considerations. There is touch as physical treatment (physical touch) and as personal experience for both patient and therapist (emotional touch). Being emotionally touched as a therapist is still a difficult theme to discuss and work with. Too often therapists are trained not to pay attention to their own experience of the physical contact and if they do it is often pathologized - something that needs to be worked within supervision. One reason for this difficulty, is the sexual issue but touching goes much beyond and deeper than sexuality. A more important element of touch is on the personal level, the character of the therapist. The therapist knows unconsciously that there is a personal involvement/risk, that some therapists choose not to take, a border they cannot cross. They know on a deep level that to touch is to be touched.