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Old 10-22-2009, 08:34 AM   #1
rainbow8
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Default Do hugs really resolve the unmet needs?

I am thinking about Melba's post about hugs and T asking if hugs would resolve the unmet needs? I have those same needs but in many years of therapy with Ts of different orientations, no one thought that was the answer to my unmet needs. Or, at least not hugs by THEM. They wanted me to get closer to people IRL.

I always had fantasies of running around the room, crying, and having to be stopped by my T, which meant she would then hold me. Or of falling apart in therapy so I could be comforted and held. I discussed those feelings with my Ts, but no one suggested that they hold me or even hug me. They said they could comfort me with words. At least one T said that. The others didn't use hugs in their therapy, and my most recent T said that a hug would not be good for me, though she hugged me at our final regular session.

So, can hugs from a T make up for unmet needs from our past? Would crying with my T with her hugging me/holding me, make it all better? I'm not being sarcastic, though it may sound like it. It doesn't seem plausible to me, but maybe that has worked for some of you, and if so, I'm interested in how and why.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do hugs really resolve the unmet needs?

this is a great question, rainbow!!

i've never received hugs in therapy. so maybe i'm not qualified to comment. but for what it's worth (can't get this deli to shut up )...

i don't think hugs can resolve unmet needs. i think sometimes they can help as an in-the-moment thing - have short term effects of feeling better, and also the long term effect of possibly feeling closer to your therapist. all of these might then contribute to creating an atmosphere in which you might feel safer (perhaps?) to work more deeply on painful issues, or whatever.

i remember once my old-T told me he wished he could give me a hug. that in itself was more than enough to make me feel calm and safe and 'held' (i try to ignore the fact that he then went on to lecture me about professional boundaries etc...).

i think that for some clients it could actually interfere with therapy, however. there have been times when i have wanted a hug from pdoc (i'm too much of a wuss to say it, though). but i think that maybe if i did get it, would it prevent me from seeking it elsewhere? would it then contribute to me idolising him as the perfect caregiver/nurturer and interfere with my motivation to find these things in the "real" world? i think the answer for me is 'no' (i want hugs from someone not in a business suit!), but i think that some ppl could almost become so attached to the therapist, that the actual therapy bit fell to the wayside. kind of like the appointments would just be about maintaining that ideal relationship, rather than working on making 'real life' change.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:53 AM   #3
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I think if touch was one of our unmet needs then yes I think being held by someone you have grown to trust can be the jumping board for healing that particular area. I think for one to reach an intimate understanding of their own need for touch then yes it will help, but if one is still split of from that particular need then no. I know for myself as that need begins to re awaken I am ready for it and feel it will heal a lot. Having to re experience the pain of that unmet need is deep deep work. So I dont think sarcasm is intended if meant at all, but I think we are all at different stages of our journey, we all have different needs and when we're ready we will intuitively know what is right for us. I am pleased to be in a place where that part of myself is finally alive again. Its a cold dark place when I was in denial of it.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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Deli, Your post just shows me where your at in your journey rather then a factual take on anyone elses therapy. I get hugs from my husband, but its that early need that needs healing. Have you not seen how those romainian babys suffered from lack of touch? well I am an abandoned baby that suffered from lack of touch, and survived by turning in on myself and denying touch really matters. I;m not sure what you going on about in the rest of your post re real change?? I think if you have followed my posts you will indeed see that real work my own therapy consists of and will have read the real caring my therapist has displayed, who wouldnt want a hug from someone as kind and caring as that? I know between the tyep of posts that are here in this thread and the kind of person my T is, I know which choice I'd make for further healing, take the hug and be thankful those defence tactics posted in this thread aren't mine any longer.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do hugs really resolve the unmet needs?

I don't think hugs from a therapist can make up for the past. It may be a short-term fix, but the reality is, we have to be able to do this for ourselves. That is the long-term fix. I think we can get too dependent on our relationships with our therapists and expect them to fix everything. But they can't. And they shouldn't. We have to be able to find comfort in our own minds, our own lives. I have never felt like therapy was about maintaining my relationship with my therapist. I guess that is why I'm not bothered by cancellations, no hugs, etc. We have close relationship, but it is a professional relationship, not a "real-life" relationship. My "real" relationships are with my husband, my children, my co-workers, my family, my friends. Those people are the people I have to learn to accept support from. Those are the relationships we work on in therapy. After all, my relationship with my therapist is only temporary. All those other people will be with me for a lifetime.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do hugs really resolve the unmet needs?

Melba, I was not trying to imply that hugs in therapy weren't good, and that they aren't going to be good for you. I wonder if they would have helped me; that's why I'm asking. I don't want to start any controversy with my question. That's the opposite of what I want! I'm just interested in a discussion, and I realize that there is no one right answer here. Everyone has a different opinion, and everyone's therapy is different.I sure like giving and getting hugs here!
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:26 AM   #7
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What I find astonishing is something that I've always felt conflicted about is the use of the hugs and I care about your smilies on this board, and when the REAL thing is being worked towards, suddenly its irrelavent? Perhaps that needs looking at? I've never been an overboard smilie hug user, because its not real, its at times used in a neurotic cover up for the denied real needs to be hugged. Anyone can post I love you, or heres a hug, but can they really do it? and do it withsome that they care about and at the same time fear rejection? tell me how thats not moving forward? I knew my feelings about the pseudo hug smilies on this board weren't some misguilded feeling. Lets do away with the pseudo hugs and get down to the real thing???
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deliquesce View Post
i think that for some clients it could actually interfere with therapy, however. there have been times when i have wanted a hug from pdoc (i'm too much of a wuss to say it, though). but i think that maybe if i did get it, would it prevent me from seeking it elsewhere?
For me, I think it's kind of been the opposite. I don't think that physical contact with T has resolved my unmet needs...but I do think that it's comforting, and feeling how comforting it is with him has actually led me to seek it out in real life. It honestly never would have occurred to me before to ask H to sit with me quietly and hold my hand for a little while, or to go to him and let myself really feel comforted by a hug. I learned that in T.

Could I have learned that without the physical contact with T? Maybe. Probably. But it ended up being such an emotional, deep, visceral kind of lesson...not a cognitive one (if that makes any sense). I seem to learn things best that way when it comes to therapy.

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Old 10-22-2009, 10:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: Do hugs really resolve the unmet needs?

yes, (((Tree))). the thing with therapy is that certain techniques work well for some clients, not all. i guess that's why i said 'some' - i wasn't intending that my post reflect anyone else's choices to receive/refuse hugs in therapy.

melba - as a rule, i don't follow your threads on PC so i have no idea how your therapy works. however i am glad you feel you are making progress. given that we have different backgrounds and issues to address in therapy (i am not a romanian orphan ) i am surprised to learn that you understand where my journey in therapy is leading and at what stage i'm currently at on the basis of one post. i'm quite content to remain in the dark, however, and seek guidance instead from those less peripherally involved in my healing .
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Do hugs really resolve the unmet needs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by farmergirl View Post
I have never felt like therapy was about maintaining my relationship with my therapist. I guess that is why I'm not bothered by cancellations, no hugs, etc. We have close relationship, but it is a professional relationship, not a "real-life" relationship. My "real" relationships are with my husband, my children, my co-workers, my family, my friends. Those people are the people I have to learn to accept support from. Those are the relationships we work on in therapy. After all, my relationship with my therapist is only temporary. All those other people will be with me for a lifetime.
Farmergirl you've touched on something here - this is why, eventually, a time can come when termination is OK.
Still... the therapeutic relationship may not be "real-life", but I submit that it is very real. During the process, if the healing lies in regression and restructuring of neural connections (pardon my inadequate phrasing), it's not surprising (to me anyway) that benign touch could have a role, no less than the therapist's expressions of validation, understanding, and UPR... just my $0.02

and as for virtual hugs and smiles and hearts, here at PC - I see these as symbols of deep understanding and compassion, given by those who have suffered similarly, and they are precious to me. I would never question their validity or worth. They've been paid for in blood, so to speak.
so there
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