Clinical Considerations Regarding the Use of Touch in Psychotherapy


  • Diana Guest
  • Jan Parker



use of touch in psychotherapy, somatic psychotherapy, ethical issues, types of therapeutic touch


The use of touch in psychotherapy has been a topic of discussion since Freud stopped touching his patients. Psychology in general has moved away from utilizing touch as a therapeutic intervention. However, several body-oriented clinical approaches, such as Bioenergetic Analysis, Neo-Reichian therapy, Core Energetics, Hakomi, and Somatic Experiencing, include touch as approved interventions. This article explores how touch can be used ethically in clinical practice. Types of touch and ethical considerations are discussed as well as the need for training and more research.

Author Biography

Diana Guest

Diana Guest, MFT, CBT, is a member of the IIBA faculty and is coordinating trainer for SCIBA, the New Zealand society and the first two training groups in China. She is currently on the BoT and was the president of the IIBA from 2017-2020. She leads workshops and teaches in Latin America, the USA and China. She has written several books and articles with her co-author Jan Parker. They recently published Becoming Grounded: a detailed guide for bioenergetic therapists which has also been translated into Italian. They also wrote A Guide to Becoming Grounded: for somatic therapist and individuals. All are available at
123-134 36180


How to Cite

Guest, D., & Parker, J. (2022). Clinical Considerations Regarding the Use of Touch in Psychotherapy. Bioenergetic Analysis, 32(1), 123–134.