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Page Contents: When you want your psychotherapist to hug you.                    


I want more than anything for my therapist to hug me because it hurts so much sometimes when we talk. Would that be inappropriate?

There is nothing inappropriate with wanting a hug from your psychotherapist. The problems begin when you start to believe that a hug will somehow make your psychotherapy better.

A psychotherapist’s job is to help you encounter and verbalize the unspoken emotional pain that you have been avoiding all your life. Hugging your psychotherapist can give the illusion of some momentary relief, but relief is not healing. A hug, under these circumstances, will only “short-circuit” the intensity of the healing process. Healing comes only from facing the pain directly and honestly and then putting it into words. Only when you want healing more than anything else—more even than a hug—will you find healing.

Once you have encountered your emotional pain and understood it, then you will have the capacity for emotionally genuine relationships, and you can give and receive all the hugs you want from friends and relatives.


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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A Guide to Psychology and its Practice



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