The Hug Therapy Book
A playful parody on therapy with a serious message about the power of compassionate, healing touch.
I wrote the The Hug Therapy Book, a parody on therapy, because I wanted to share a serious message about the power of touch in a playful way. However, I don’t want people to take touching and hugging for granted as just a ‘nice’ gesture or judge it as gimmicky or sentimental.
Hugging is an intimate form of touch. We are suffering in our society from a sad condition best described as touch deprivation, skin hunger and hug inhibition. We need to recognize that every human being has a profound physical and emotional need for touch - men and women and children. And even our animal companions!
We are alone in our separate bodies, yet to live we must connect with each other in order to belong and get our needs met. Touch is the primary way we contact and connect with each other. Touch is the experience of how I meet you and and you meet me and we meet the world. We touch the world, and the world touches us. Touch is a contact function. We meet the world outside of ourselves, outside the boundary of our skin, we make contact with the boundary of our skin. Our skin is the antennae that feels, touches, contacts the world. With touch, we meet the world outside of ourselves in a vibrant, alive, nourishing way. With touch we meet, connect, bond, belong.
Machines are important - the computer is an amazing tool! But we are losing the something grand and mysterious that makes us compassionate - and passionate human creatures. We are so much more profoundly complex than machines, it is ludicrous to make a comparison, as we often do, when we use machine metaphors. Like machines we have skills - but we must not imitate machines. It is essential to stay connected to the “divine animal” in each other. Touch is our primary connection. With touch we are restoring the balance in those human qualities that are far more powerful than ‘machine’ skills.
We are all committed to a better understanding of love...and it is one of the greatest tragedies of our day that our culture often equates tenderness with weakness and love with sentimentality. Even hugs and huggers are frequently considered just sentimental.
There is something godlike everyone of us possesses in our arms, hands, fingers. This is the power to make someone feel cherished....the power to give (and receive at the very same time!) kindness, warmth, tenderness, support, healing, security - and most of all belonging. All add up to the profoundness of love....all human qualities that humans can give - and give with a simple touch - a simple hug.
In a world that has grown more complicated, more fierce in the demands made upon our hearts and pocket books, there is one easy, free gift left. The power of touch. Don’t turn away from the elderly, disabled, terminally ill or long term care residents because their needs seem beyond your ability to give. The one thing they need the most is the most simple, yet profound gift you have to give. Your kind hand holding theirs and a hug from your heart. The gift of touch is the most powerful healing you can offer another, and it is the most powerful healing you can give yourself. Give generously and watch yourself grow rich in what matters the most. Hug often, hug well...I embrace your spirit.... Kathleen Keating Schloessinger
Illustrated by Mimi Noland
Mimi's delightful bears are warm and playful and perfect for illustrating different types of hugs.