Basic Human Needs- Touch

All of us have basic needs that make us feel fulfilled in our lives.  Some of these needs are critical to our survival as a child (such as safety and security), but also impact us later in life as adults, too.  The bottom line is that everyone has needs, even if they have difficulty in letting other's see their "neediness".  As therapists, we often see individuals and couples come to counseling when these needs aren't being met, because it can cause confusion and chronic unhappiness without them.  To reach our full potential as adults, we require most of these needs.  So much that some of the worlds (and histories) greatest scientists, psychologists and behavioral experts and authors, such as Maslow, Miller, Weil, and Glasser, have dedicated much of their careers to researching this topic.  This week, Imagine Hope therapist's will be discussing some of the basic human needs. Touching

We know that infants who are deprived of touch, fail to grow and thrive, even if they get proper food, nourishment and protection.  The most powerful form of touch for an infant is skin-to-skin. 

But what about the need for touch as an adult?

To feel connected and cared for, we need to be hugged and touched as adults, too!  Some of the research suggests that we need from 4 to 12 hugs a day as part of our "health maintenance".

We know that people who are compassionately touched often feel happier, more alert, more safe, more understood, and more communicative.

Many times in couple's counseling sessions, we hear the words "but we don't even touch anymore".  Some couples have become so distant that the basic touches, such as holding hands, hugging, or even a simple pat on the back or touch of the arm has been withheld or stopped.  Appropriate touch is a powerful and tender way to easily (and simply) bring feelings of love into a relationship. Touch is a way to share or express feelings that may be more powerful than using words.

Knowing the importance of touch, it's no wonder that couple's lacking touch might also be struggling in their relationship, as well.  How often do you touch?

Stay tuned this week, as we review some of the other basic human needs.  Tomorrow, Tamara will talk about the basic human need for listening, participation and accepting.  Thank you for joining us!

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.