57 Comments to
When Is it Okay To Hug Your Therapist?

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  1. Most therapists I’ve seen were afraid to make any physical contact. Some wouldn’t even do handshakes (like the guy I’m seeing now), but I had one who did physical contact just right (for me). We never full-on hugged, but sometimes after a particularly emotional or difficult session he would put an arm around my shoulder and squeeze a little as we were standing up to leave. That was all, but it always felt so reassuring and so encouraging. I made a lot of jokes about paying him to be my friend, but no other therapist has ever made me as comfortable, or inspired as much trust as he did… and I think part of that feeling was the fact that he wasn’t afraid to touch me in a friendly, completely non-sexual way. He let his guard down a bit and that helped me to let go of mine. I miss working with him.

    • “joking” about paying your therapist to be your friend… is actually a common thing to come up in therapy… and it’s really never just a joke. You should examine it. Often times it does feel like you’re paying to have a friend… but friends are biased, judgmental… therapists are not… and the fact that you “feel” like you’re paying your therapist to be your friend needs to be addressed.

      -Anthony Freire, LMHC, NCC, EMDR
      Trauma Specialist in Private Practice

  2. This is such a difficult ethical issue and one fraught with danger. As a professional, it is always difficult make this decision because it is different for each individual client and each relationship is different or circumstance.

    As a client, my therapist does hug me at the end of every session with my consent, but I have known him for over twenty years. 12 in therapy with him, a five year break and on-going since. During the first 12 years it was a sometime occurance which is a good reflection of our relationship at the time. Now, it would feel awkward to shake his hand.

  3. I can remember one time as I was leaving my therapist’s office she gently placed her open hand on my back, and because of the nature of the session, I never quite worked out if she was giving me a reassuring pat on the back or pushing me out the door. However knowing her well it would have to be the former.

  4. I think if both agree a hug is a positive in every way. In therapy as a young teen, my therapist hugged me at the end of every session, this was a very positive impact on my therapy and the depth of it. Now as an adult in therapy for 5 years, my therapist would absolutely NEVER hug, no matter what the situation. This makes me feel that after so many years, it just clarifies the whole situation as very surface and if anything it sets the therapy process back in many ways. Sometimes the simple power of touch, whether it be an extension of one’s hand or a simple hug can speak volumes where words cannot.

  5. When my mother died and I suffered, my doctor told me to see her husband, a massage therapist who was earning his counseling degree. I needed all the help I could get. I can tell you this from the experience. No matter how much one respects others, what I learned in seminary when I began to become a counselor, was right: do not succumb and allow hugs when alone. For there are those who will groom their clients over several years and then physically hurt them. Not only is there no recourse, but when I shared this with my wonderful doctor she tried to harm my budding career. That was in 1997-2000; the consequences have been lasting, tho perhaps increased my resolve to become an ethical and responsible counselor. Do not underestimate.

  6. After reading this article, I have indeed become a bit afraid to touch a client. Currently I’m a graduate student, but hope to further my career in working with clients (viz., children) through counseling. I have always been seen as the compassionate and loving person, and the one who offers hugs when needed or when I feel the other person could use one. I would certainly have a hard time, especially with special needs children, not hugging them or at least showing some physical signs of support like a pat on the shoulder or hand.
    Perhaps psychology and counseling is becoming a bit too “professional” and this could truly remove the compassionate characterisitics a doctor of psychology is suppose to possess. How can clients ever feel cared for or understood if a counselor or doctor remains distant? I have learned that because everyone is different and possess different needs, approaching a client really takes some strict discernment of the situation.

    I can certainly see how a client can take a physical gesture the wrong way, but I can also see how a physical gesture could calm a client as well.

    Very tough decision. I would suppose great experience and in-depth discernment of people would be needed.

  7. My therapist gives me a HUGE magical HUG after every session. Once I left in a panic, and returned because I forgot to claim my hug. What is the matter with people? Nothing is more healing than a hug!!!

  8. So true Wendy!! There is way too much negative emphasis on this topic and as you said, nothing is more healing than a hug!!!!

  9. There was one time I was hugged by my therapist. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and I had flipped out on him about some transgression (called me at work when I had not given him permission to do so). I was so unbelievably nasty, swore at him, etc., all through email. We had talked about how I reacted in the next session, and then he said something along the lines of “is it ok to give you a hug?”

    My response was WTF? Who’d want to give me a hug after the way I just treated my therapist? But we hugged and I was just shocked that people might respond to conflict that way instead of flipping out back at me. It may not be recommended, but I think it helped me because I assumed he was going to hate me for what I did. Gettig a hug told me it was going to be ok, he forgave me, and he wasn’t going to hold a grudge against me for what I did. Which I really had needed at that point.

  10. Can we distinguish between an “emotional” hug and a physical one? Unfortunately, our culture seems to draw a rigid line between compassionate support and “clinical” professionalism that keeps the therapist/teacher a “safe” distance from a hurting person’s “real” vs. often disguised feelings. As an emotional health educator my first responsibility is to empower kids and adults by helping them to name, own and honor feelings by simply recognizing their own “emotional honesty” — also my book title. One of the problems of traditional therapy, in my experience, is inability of the hurting person to experience accept themselves and take responsibility for healing their own hurt feelings. My first rule with classes of pre-teens is to explain the down-side of “faking feelings” or denying them when we are emotionally wounded (an even BIGGER issue when they become teenagers). I ask teachers to breach that traditional “professional distance” with their students by posting a simple “Feelings Validated Here” sign. That offers kids an “emotional hug,” which too few parents as well as therapists/teachers seem incapable of realizing. You would think this would be easier than risking a physical hug. Yet too few helping professionals and parents offer this compassionate invitation to help others embrace and articulate their “emotional truth.” A common objective of effective parenting, therapy and teaching is helping those under their care to develop the coping ability and confidence to deal with and safely navigate through life’s challenges – like learning to fly their own plane.

  11. Never touch a client. There is a good reason for this. Remember a therapist cannot be your “daddy” or “mommy” or “lover”. Clients who have been sexually exploited by their therapists will tell you it is a rape of the soul, not simply an affair. Any risk of abuse of transference or countertransference is too great a risk. Some therapists or clients would say, “Oh, that would never happen to me. ” They would be wrong. Anyone can be “had” given certain circumstances. And the feelings one has in counseling are ripe for the picking.
    Read Irons, “The Wounded Healer” and Lott “In Session” for professional perspective on this serious issue that is not understood by the general public. Rules against touching clients are there for a good reason.

  12. In response to GoWest; Most of us who are in therapy are NOT looking for a “daddy, mommy or lover” as you put it. It is a therapeutic relationship and I believe every situation is different and there are many times where a hug would be not only warranted but welcomed. This is where I think the issue is blown completely out of proportion to how a simple gesture can actually speak volumes in the most positive of ways. It does not always have to be stigmatized as a “sexual” exploitation.
    So, I disagree with you completely and find it to be very cold and very surface.

  13. I’ve seen many therapists, and I’d flip out if a therapist initiated or suggested a hug. A couple of times I’ve hugged a therapist when it was my last visit, but only then and it was my own idea. Personally I wouldn’t hug a therapist of the opposite sex. I prefer therapists with strong boundaries, but I do understand the other point of view. P.S. Handshakes are fine with me.

  14. Can anyone tell me from the picture attached to this article, who is the therapist and who is the client? Would I be correct in assuming the majority of you, both males and females chose the man to be the therapist and the woman to be the client.

    How do we know this is not the other way round?

    • I see a woman therapist and a male client in the picture. This is probably because she appears to be in business dress, while he is dressed very casually.

  15. From this picture, I think the therapist would be the woman, no questions asked.

  16. I assumed the woman was the therapist. Perhaps because I see a women therapist..

  17. I’m with Wendy on this one. :) I would actually be flattered if my therapist wanted to hug me.

    Let’s not forget that there are different types of hugs. No one hugs their significant other the same way they hug their kids. Or hug their mother/father the same way as their siblings.

  18. I thought the man was the therapist. My initial impression was of a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) hugging a female client. For me the main point was I saw nothing sexual in the photo, only strong nurturing from a caring professional.

  19. I started counseling last month and ever since the first session my counselor and I have hugged at the end….there was one time we didn’t hug and that was because her daughter had the stomach flu and she was feeling nauseous and didn’t want me to get it. Not hugging her that session made me feel rejected…the worst part is that the following week she had to reschedule and then ultimately cancel that week’s session. We did hug at the end of my session this week, but the pain from her keeping her distance is still there.

    I’ll also hug my doctor…sometimes up to 3 times- depending on how much affection I need. My doctor doesn’t mind at all.

  20. My ‘therapist’ was also my teacher at the time, who had just gotten his degree in counseling. Due to the nature of our talks, I don’t think he felt comfortable hugging/touching me for fear that it would upset me. But since I’ve graduated we’ve remained very good friends and we always greet each other with a hug. He’s one of the very few male friends I have who I feel comfortable hugging, and I feel that by trying so hard back then not to violate my trust, he earned a very deep trust from me. The only person I trust more is my boyfriend of 4 years.

  21. This has been the biggest challenge for me in therapy. I feel a great deal of fondness for my therapist – we get along great and are doing good work for me. He will not accept a hug. It is SO frustrating. I had not been in therapy before and was not aware of this rule. When I asked to hug him, after a difficult-good session, then I learned about boundaries. I understand that it is a professional boundary, but it still makes me feel bad to be rejected. What increases my confusion is that he says he’ll hug me at the end of therapy. Why is it OK then but not now?
    If you are a therapist and will not hug, please be sure to tell your client in the first session, set expectations.

  22. I would love to be held by my previous therapist. I’m afraid of it though. If I could relax, I think it would be very healing.

  23. I am seriously considering a change in career to become an MFT who specializes in children and adolescents. The thought came to me “Would I be allowed to hug my clients?” I just can’t imagine not hugging or holding a young child if they are hurting emotionally. It would kill me. I don’t know what the laws are or the guidelines at this point since I am just starting to look into this career path. But I hope they are more lenient for children. Do any therapist video tape each session? I’m sure it would get expensive to tape and store each session. But I want to do whatever is feasible so that I can be there for my future clients to help them and comfort them.

  24. My last 3 therapists have hugged me after every session and it has become an important part of my therapy. None of them started this in our first session – each one started this anywhere from 1 month to 4 months into our relationship at a moment when it was appropriate: a particularly difficult session, after I had fully cut ties with my previous therapist, and when we fully felt a connection. At the moment I’m living out of the country for a few months and doing phone session with my current therapist. I can say that our therapy has been less effective, less connecting because there are no hugs. Our hugs (all 3 are woman-woman relationships) are completely non-sexual and have drawn us closer together to do the deep therapy that I need. While each person’s needs are different and each therapist’s styles are different, it is wrong to say that in every circumstance hugs are unethical and wrong. I have extremely healthy relationships with all three therapists (that ended when I ended therapy with the first two) and wouldn’t have made the progress that I did without this physical contact. New therapists- please don’t be scared of hugging your clients. Ask first, but please consider this in your treatment.

  25. I have had many therapists over the years. Some hugged and some did not. But none ever hugged a “FULL” embrace/hold hug. My current therapist will sometimes open his arms and say…”give me a hug” and he will embrace me with both arms. It shocks me.

    Then he went to a one armed hug…and finally at our last visit…no hug! It leaves me baffled, confused, and to be honest…a bit uncomfortable. I think a therapist needs to be consistent in his behavior.

    I am female, my therapist is male. We are both single and he points out to me how we are the same age. I get mixed messages from him. I feel he is inappropriate at times. Yet I want his attention and feel disappointed if he doesn’t give it to me.

    I often fantasize that their is more meaning behind his hugs, and he has romantic motives. Sick I know. I don’t know what to do?????

  26. Don’t even start me on this topic!!! Had a very odd experience with my therapist last week. I can relate to JM completely with regards to consistency.

    My history is one of sexual abuse by my father which has left me with real “issues” to do with emotional and physical intimacy with men. My therapist is about 20 years older and male – ideal father-figure candidate. I’ve been seeing him for nearly four years now and our therapeutic relationship is usually very good.

    I’ve been having suicidal thoughts recently and have been discussing these with my therapist. Last week, I was particaulrly low and he asked what I wanted from him. Though I did not say, for fear of rejection, I just wanted a hug (we have never had any physical contact). At a session later in the week, when I was feeling emotionally stronger to deal with any “rejection” that a request for a hug might cause, I explained that there are times – few and very far between – when I would like him to hug me, if he feels comfortable so-doing and we have contracted it. I essentially gave him permission and he acknowledged this. Session continued … at the end he stood up and opened his arms up for hug. I was genuinely scared and said no; he had misread/mistimed this. Although scared, I knew he meant no harm and that I was casting a lot of my father onto him at that particular instant. Session ended.

    Final session last week I wanted to tell him why I didn’t accept the offer of a hug. I wanted to assure him that I appreciated the offer etc … He seemed to be quite angry/hurt with me when I explained my fears. I thought they would have been quite obvious. He now feels he has to signpost and check any physical movement he makes around me, which is not what I wanted at all, the exact opposite in fact. This would be fine if it was “healthy” checking, but he and I have known each other long enough to know when one or the other is “taking the piss” [sorry, UK term!!]. He certainly was and I resent him for that because I had tried to be fair to him. At the end of the session, he went to open the door out of the office, for the first time, which meant I had to walk passed him to leave. I think he genuinely meant it to physically intimidate me. He usually respects the fact that I don’t like people (men especially) being behind me.

    All this because I gave permission for a hug! Irony is I desperately do want, on my terms, the physical reassurance that a hug from him would provide and he was willing to meet me on this point … at least he was.

  27. One day i was having some problems and I gave my Therapist a hug. She smile told me that if i wanted a hug just ask

  28. It’s crazy how this is such an issue. With my therapist, or any other person, I just open my arms to initiate a hug, and the other person receives it. Simple as that. Reading over these comments, it’s disappointing to see that by some people, hugs are viewed as having hidden sexual intentions.

    For me, physical contact with other human beings is an important thing, whether it be a handshake or a hug. I wasn’t brought up to give people hugs, but it just seems like the natural thing to do.

  29. I had a very difficult session yesterday after nearly 2 years with my therapist. We HAVE discussed transference issues and I have admitted to wishing she were my mother/girlfriend at times, even though I really don’t know her at all.

    But yesterday was very very hard, and impulsively at the end I said ‘can you hug me?’ and she said no.

    Crying, I asked ‘who’s supposed to hug me?’ and she gave me the look to emphasize what she’d been saying all along, that I have to learn to hug myself and parent/comfort myself.

    It was good that she didn’t hug me because it was end of session and I would have broken down for 10 minutes easy.

    It was horrible because instead I sucked it up and didn’t break down and this very deep, meaningful session now became (for me) all about not being able to hug her. I’m 46 yo male, she’s 27 yo female, and while I do have lifelong boundary issues, I’ve never thought to cross a single boundary of hers and wouldn’t dare.

    But yesterday? She could at least have said ‘no, I’m sorry, it’s not appropriate’ while touching my shoulder or arm or back, some sign of compassion for this horrible session. The rejection really hurt and I left angry and, well, hurt.

    She has to walk with me down the two hallways and out the door…she could have at least let me sit in some other room for a second. I know she wants me to take care of me, but Jesus. This is now something we’ll be discussing for some time instead of jumping back into the deep pain…because I really don’t feel safe with her, knowing I’m going to get shoved out the door alone and without even a comforting touch.

    Your thoughts?

    • Mntz, I’m so sorry about your experience, and I totally get it. It’s so awful when a therapist not only refuses your request, but refuses to admit that the refusal has to do with his or her own boundaries, and chooses instead to make YOU feel like a bad person, or that you did something wrong.

      I know it has been almost a year since you posted, and you probably won’t see this, but I hope you have since found a better situation. That therapist was too young. I don’t care how much psych schooling she’s had, she just hasn’t lived long enough to feel strong and secure with her own boundaries, especially alone in a room with a (presumably) stronger man. So I hope that maybe you found a better therapist – maybe an older, hetero male, a father figure type who isn’t touch-phobic.

      I would also like you to know that this whole “you must learn to hug yourself and parent/comfort yourself,” in lieu of reaching out to another human being, is BULLC**P! We are primates. We need touch. We were meant to hang out together and cuddle in non-sexual ways. Much research has been done, and it has been shown that primates, when deprived of physical contact with others, actually fail to thrive, socially, emotionally, and *physically.* An infant monkey isolated in a cage may hug himself all day long, but he will not thrive.

      For what it’s worth, I’m a 49-year-old woman, and I would hug you within 15 minutes of meeting you. 15 minutes is all it would take me to size you up and decide whether you’re safe, and whether your expressed need was sincere. I have had major clinical depression all my life, was sexually and physically abused, have all the so-called “boundary issues,” yet I have a strong enough sense of myself that I can hug a stranger.

      I keep thinking of that man in Christchurch, New Zealand who held the head of a dying stranger right after the earthquake. That was a beautiful and healthy thing, in the midst of an increasingly sick and dysfunctional culture. I’m just glad it wasn’t some damned shrink who showed up on that scene! He would have said to the dying man “let’s talk about this first.” LOL!

  30. What a stupid society we live in when people can no longer hug each other. When did a comforting hug turn into an erotic gesture? Our society reads s-e-x into everything…

    • SO true, Jonathan! The whole culture is messed up; all forms of touch are sexualized. This leaves those of us who are unable or unwilling to have a sexual partner in our personal life, out in the cold. No one will touch us, not therapists, nor friends, who may touch for a moment, but clearly fell awkward. It is not healthy for a human being to be isolated. We sexual abuse victims need it more than anyone, yet we are made to feel like “untouchables,” damaged, tainted.

  31. Seriously. I have been in therapy for the last two years. 3 therapists, female-female. First 2 always hugged when they sensed I needed it. Current therapist has strong boundaries and is extremely professional, never hugging. She has recently tried to reach out to me with small gestures such as touching my knee or shoulder when we are sitting on the couch. (I asked her to sit at the opposite end of her couch to help me let her in as I have extreme trust issues along with an eating disorder.) She is aware that I don’t do well with physical touch as I was abused as a child, but need it more than anything to help me heal. Recently all I have wanted from her is to hold me. I haven’t asked for fear of rejection, but I know that she knows this is what I need.

    Why haven’t I asked? Because of all that is written above. Our society takes something so healing and blows it out of proportion. It’s ridiculous. My fear of asking comes from the fear that she will say no because of her “oath” and the fact that so many people read things inappropriately. Furthermore, suffering from an eating disorder and having a body-mind disconnect is extremely difficult, for both therapist and client by way of dealing with the tough issues. Having and allowing for the proper healing by way of touch is an essential part of the therapuetic process and all should be so lucky to be able to experience it.

  32. I have been with this therapist for 4 years. He has been reparating me with hugs that I never rec’d as a child and I was sexually abused by my father. His hugs have helped me tremedously it has healed my inner child and I felt safe in his arms. All therapist should hug their patients especially when dealing with the inner child who has been neglected or even abused. It taught me that it was ok to be hugged in a safe way and now I can transfer this to other people in my life and couldn’t before.

    • Diane, I am so with you, even though the genders are reversed but the actions are identical except that my therapist has allowed some great hugs, she is now into the no touch mode.
      I am so happy for you Diane that you have such a wonderful person who cares so much for you.
      At the same time she purposefully let me go through the biggest emotional treat without any hand holding, and she knew I could do it solo. I didn’t. And after a few hours after the session, I understood the purpose. I had power over my destiny.
      But at the same time I wish she would realize that it just isn’t right to be cold. We are human beings, and I do understand the vulnerability as well.

  33. I am 16, a female. I got real angry and self harmed in front of my psychiatrist two days ago, minutes after having a panic attack. Towards the end of the session he asked me “do you need a hug?” and I just sat there staring at the wall, nodding. We hugged and he told me I was being strong and doing so well. It calmed me down, brought me back to earth and I felt safe again. Alot of the reason I see a psychiatrist is to do with lack of trust in people (especially men) due to past events, but that hug made me feel safe again. In no way was it sexual so I don’t understand why there is all of this drama about it being too touchy and the rest of it. You’ll find it’s actually good to hug someone who knows virtually everything about you. You know then that they haven’t judged you and don’t think any less of you and no matter what you say or do, they’re still going to be there to talk to.

  34. I’m emotionally attach with my psychologist. I have never share emotional intimacy with anyone like I have with him. I love him. Now, my session is almost over and all I need is a hug and probably cry on his shoulder. I will feel regret if I don’t but feel shy and scared to ask.

  35. I have seen my therapist for 1 yr and 7 mths now, recently i entered into a program , where i see her once a wk, esp due to probs i have. Well , a few wks ago, we had severe weather tornado warnings, i day before, due to rain almost got into wrek twice. I was very frightnened to leave. And just before i left, i asked for a hug, i didnt get one, but got a pat though on shoulder which helped :) Sometimes i do long for hug though, but keep it to myself

  36. i don’t want a hug from my therapist but i think i “NEED” a hug from him at times. he has never hugged me. he has never touched me. Never. i was sexually abused by my father and his friends so it is safe to say he is really being careful with his boundries. i think if i were to ask for one we’d talk about it as we talk about everything else. we are very open about everything… even transference. we talk about that one a lot.

    i’ve had lots of therapists and 3 of them hugged me. one in particular was inappropriate but i didn’t know it until this year. i really loved her… btw, i am a 37 yr old female and my current therapist is around the same age and male… and im a lesbian. weird dynamics, i tell ya!

  37. I feel so lucky to work with a healthy therapist. She hugs me if I need a hug, especially if I’ve been working on childhood abuse issues. We’ve talked about all of this, including my feelings of wanting her to be my mom or lover. She is crystal clear that she cannot and will not be either of those, but that she Will be my therapist and that is how we get to do this wonderful (although really difficult) healing work. My mother did not hug and my dad sexually abused, so having a steady, clear-boundaried, nurturing, loving female in my life has been incredibly healing. Her hugs tell me more than any words that she is not disgusted by me, that I am loveable and good just because I am me. I have a much stronger core sense of myself after working with such a loving woman. I am grateful that she has told me, “we will Never have any kind of sexual relationship”. It was hard to hear that at first, yet, at the same time, it makes me feel safer with her than with anyone else ever in my life!! I am so grateful that she knows herself and will not allow a sexual boundary to be crossed, AND she is not afraid of hugging!!

    • If you think having a therapist who you TOLD you have sexual feelings for – and who continues to hug you is “healthy”, it’s no wonder you are in therapy. Unbelievably sick and you lack insight. Good luck with that!

      • I feel exactly the opposite about this. And I find your comment judgmental and hurtful. Sexual transference happens and is more common than you think, and if a therapist with holds because a sexual issue has been brought up, that would NOT be healthy. Whether or not a therapist hugs is an individual choice and should be made in relativity to whether or not it would help or hurt the client. Therapy should NEVER ever be about the therapist. It is ALWAYS about the client. It would make sense for a sexual abuse survivor to have confused sexual feelings in the context of therapy, but hugs are not sexual. sexualizing a very normal human expression of support and care is what is not healthy here. I think the above poster showed a great deal of courage in being honest enough to share and explore sexual feelings and confusion within the context of the therapeutic relationship. That shows courage, resilience, and a desire to get well. To call that “sick” is a serious miss attunement to what the poster was actually saying. For a therapist to with hold ANYTHING based on a clients sexual confusion would be alarming and cause serious harm. Sexual feelings are not sick, or disgusting… They can be normal/abnormal but they typically make sense in the context of a person’s life experience. Any good therapist is going to be able to separate what is transferance, and be able to work that out within the healthy and safe boundaries of the therapeutic relationship. Your comment was hurtful at BEST.

  38. I have been in therapy for about 14 months now, and have never had a hug or even a handshake from my therapist. I think it would be very healing to have a hug once in awhile. I am quite a bit older than he, and I don’t see even the slightest danger of a sexual encounter happening over it. Even now, as I read these posts, I realize how much I would like a hug from him. Somehow it would make the therapist more real.

  39. Touch is more healing than words could ever be.

  40. I find the posts interesting. Currently I am a therapist, but I’ve also been a client. I had a therapist who very appropriately gave hugs, and I found it to be a way I internalized that I was not “too much” and that I could feel safe, even when I felt emotionally raw. In my own private practice, I’ve found that if I offer, most clients will opt for a hug. I only ask if I sense that it would be helpful to the client and if we have worked together long enough that the client knows that my boundaries are rock solid. I have worked in a variety of treatment centers and also in private practice; so far I’ve had no problems with it at all.

  41. My therapist hugs me at the end of ever session. It isn’t weird to me, and I am not worried about it ever going to anything further. I find it to be very normal, because a therapist is part of your support system, and a hug is one of the best ways to show someone that you care. I always feel connected and safe when she hugs me.

  42. I’ve been having counselling for 3 years now and have a hug at the end of each session but I would love a longer hug, as a little girl would have a hug with a mum. Am I weird?

  43. I have a therapist for 5 months?? Something like that, and she knows my trust problems so for now every time she moves a tad bit closer I can tell. And we laughed when she said. I don’t completely look traumatized to see her anymore :)

  44. I saw my therapist for about 2 yrs. It started out with counselling and turned into coaching. Whilst growing up my parents showed me very little affection & I don’t remember them ever saying they loved me & so I found it very hard to express or show affection to another person. For a while I wanted to hug my therapist and then at the end of one session I gave him a quick hug. He smiled and then usually at the end of sessions we had a quick (goodbye) hug, once he hugged me. It showed me that I had learnt not to be too afraid of showing affection for someone and for me it was my way of thanking my therapist for his help & support. I never discussed the act of hugging with my therapist but I feel that he knew it was a big thing for me to do and he knew it was a good thing and I was beginning to heal. I bumped into him a few times in the supermarket and no hug ensued, hugging him was purely therapeutic.

  45. I have been seeing a female therapist lately for weight loss issues. When I first met her alone, she seemed as if she had just stopped crying. She was in her office and after about an hour, we finished up our meeting and she held out her hand to shake hands. But, my heart went out to her and as I grabbed her hand, I brought her to me and gave her a nice teddy-bear hug. I think it made us both feel better. After every single session, I hug her. She still holds out her hand to shake and I hug her instead. She really is a lovely lady. I am coming along rather well in my weight loss, and doing all I can to achieve success. It is in pleasing her and myself and feeling like I have a person who I can turn to, while dealing with such a powerfully difficult issue as weight loss. (375 lbs.) Yet she will hug me and hold me close for a short while and it makes me feel loved without needing to be focused on her, sexually. However, I know she is a sexually being. I feel her body close to me, the same as my mother did, where I got my desire for touch. Even though she is younger that myself by 12 yrs., I am grateful for her maturity and mother instincts for me._ Would I love to marry her? I think that would be a bed-time story, for she is already married to a great guy and her personal life is hers. But, I saw my father physically abuse my mother and I think that put some strong impulse control in me so I could never go there. She is a wonderful woman, a great therapist and a sweet friend to me. Thank God there are therapists like her.

  46. This morning I had my 6th session with a very good counsellor. I was in bits – as distressed as I have probably ever been in my life. I thought he was hiding how repelled he was by my confession. A hand on my shoulder would have been very welcome or a hug on leaving would have helped enormously to console me. However, I have told him that I have a history of falling for my therapists and so he was probably concerned that I may get inappropriately attached. And of course that may have been right. However, it meant that I felt bereft and left feeling very dejected. He did advise me to go to my planned mindfulness session this evening and that has helped. Im sure he was right not to hug me today.

  47. I’ve been seeing my therapist for almost a year, and I love it when she hugs me. I feel like she is the only person who knows my sh!t and doesn’t judge me. Mostly I’m the one who asks for a hug at the end of a session, but a few times she has asked me if she can hug me, and it makes me feel loved knowing that she wants to hug me. We don’t hug every time we meet, even though I want to. Sometimes I just don’t have the courage to ask. Our hugs are getting longer and longer these days, I guess because I don’t want to let go. Being held in her arms makes me feel safe in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. And the sweetest thing is that every time I ask for a hug, her response is, “Always.”

  48. Hi – Thought I had a good relationship with my counsellor, he has instigated a hug a couple of times nothing I am worried about until this week where about to do go down the stairs I explained my life was doing nothing but going up and down then he held the back of my neck and put his forehead to mine….. is this weird?

  49. I have been in therapy since age 24. I am now 51. I have been with my current therapist 3 years and was FINALLY properly diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder after a year. My life has been hell. I was raised in a family that was like a cult. Terrorized and abused in every way you can imagine. I never received hugs or love. When I got to know my different identities, I understood the hole I have lived with all of my life and listened to the traumatized voices within me, starving for hugs and terrified of abandonment. As my therapist and I got to know each other, and slowly developed trust, I shamefacedly discussed whether it was possible, if an identity was out and crying and terrified, if that identity could receive a hug. He told me, and kept telling me, we’d have to talk about that and what it would mean. He was very clear and concerned about traumatizing an identity. I started shaking his hand on the way out the door. I needed touch too. That was enough for me. Twice a little one (identity) has, head downcast, after telling a terrifying trauma of abuse, asked my therapist for a hug. I had told the identities ahead of time, that I thought they could get a hug now if they asked for one. There was nothing awkward. My therapist was hugging a crying child begging for comfort in touch that it had been denied. A simple hug. Not long. But very healing. And there has been no awkwardness in my relationship with my therapist and greater trust among all my identities toward my therapist. A good therapist will KNOW when a hug is okay, even necessary, and will talk about it with his patient before it happens. Unfortunately, not all therapists are good therapists and some will take advantage of innocence and some will believe it is too dangerous to cross that line where a hug might become sexualized. It’s a complex subject. It’s sad.

  50. I have been seeing my psychiatrist for a few years now and a psychologist for just less than a year. I am male and my therapists are female. I always tell them all my issues and feelings, and then it just seems so sterile on their end at times. After my last session with my psychiatrist I asked her if I could give her a hug and she said yes. It was wonderful! I felt like I could truly show my appreciation for her.



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