We are not angels but human beings with a physical body and a sense of touch. […] To live in a world where there is the absence of caring touch or very limited touch can produce physical death as well as emotional and spiritual death.

Table of contents



Introduction: Exploring Touch

                    Thomas St. James O’Connor


 Section 1: The Theory of Touch

 Chapter 1 - Healing and the Forbidden Touch: A
Reflection on Selected Scripture Stories

                    Karlijn Demasure

Chapter 2 - Thinking about Touch


Chapter 3 - Contributions of Sensory Anthropology
and Durand’s Anthropology to the Symbolic Study of Touch

and the Understanding of Boundaries in

                    Christian Bellehumeur & Jane Chambers

Chapter 4 - Touch Deprivation and Counselling as
Healing Touch

                    Isaac Davis, Martin Rovers & Cassandra Petrella.   


Section 2:  The Practice of Touch in Psychotherapy

Chapter 5 - The Intervention of Touch in Psychotherapy and Trauma

                    Patricia Berendsen

Chapter 6 - A Puppy’s Touch: 
Destressing with Dogs in a University Environment

                    Kristine Lund

Chapter 7 - Inter-Partner Touch in Couple Counselling:  Theory and Emerging Practice

                    Cassandra Petrella & Martin Rovers

Chapter 8 - The Practice of the Laying on of Hands in Islamic Spiritual

                    Nazila Isgandarova

Chapter 9 - An Angel in my Pocket: 
Touch, Sacred Objects and Spiritual Coping

                    Linda Mayorga Miller

Chapter 10 - Touched(ed) in Palliative Care Nursing:  Moving with/in an Uncertain Practice

                    Lacie White & Christine McPherson

Chapter 11 - Touch in Supervision



Section 3:  The Ethics of Touch and Conclusion

Chapter 12 - The Ethics of Therapeutic Touch

                    Marilyn Guindon, Reesa
Packard & Natalie Charron

Chapter 13 - Conclusion:  Issues of Touch:  An Overall View and Integration

                    Martin Rovers, Judith Malette & Manal Guirguis-Younger



Inappropriate touch cases have sparked public outcry and made headlines, but a discussion on the importance and ethics of positive, caring, appropriate touch in the helping professions such as teaching, nursing and counselling is long overdue. The book emphasizes that healthy, non-sexual touch is not taught enough as part of professional training and oversight.