The power of touch

The power of touch to self-soothe


Photo of Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling (Brisbane) demonstrating the havening technique - one of 3 ways to self-soothe using touch


In this blog post I’m going to teach you 3 simple techniques to self-soothe using self-touch. (Nothing ‘racy’.. obviously you’ve been watching too much Bridgerton). These are simple techniques you can use in your daily life when you need to calm yourself down (down-regulate your nervous system) and soothe your frazzled nerves. But first a story on the power of touch.

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The power of touch to soothe

A few months ago I went to visit a dear friend in hospital on what would turn out to be her second-last day on this earth. As I entered her hospital room, I saw her eyes register surprise and delight. Her body was slowly shutting down and she was now unable to speak and struggling to stay awake most of the time.

I remember instinctively going to sit by her side, hold her hand and stroke her arm. As I told her how much I loved her, she slowly closed her eyes. I thought she had fallen asleep.

I had positioned myself awkwardly so that I was hovering on my chair and craning my body towards her bed, so I put her hand down on the blanket momentarily to reposition myself. Her eyes flew open and she reached her arms out towards me, like a toddler reaching for their mother.

It struck me how important touch was to her at that moment. So I repositioned my hair chair and held her hand once more, reminding her of the good times we had shared together.

As I left, I stroked her hair and bent down to kiss her forehead. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be asleep, but she murmurred something unintelligible to me. A recognition of sorts. That was the last time I saw her alive.

As I left the hospital I burst into tears. I was berating myself for not having said something more meaningful than “remember the time when we got so pissed that I fell off my bicycle…”  But in hindsight, I realised how vital that touch was to her that day.

Touch meant more than words. Touch has the power to soothe.


3 simple techniques to self-soothe

In Somatic psychotherapy we often use self-touch to soothe. Here are three examples you can try at home:


The butterfly hug


Hand on face and heart

Photo of Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling showing how to do the soothing pose "hand on heart and face"








Exactly as it says on the tin… Place one hand on your heart and gently cup your face with the other hand.

Let your head rest in your hand. Feel the weight of your head.

Feel the softness of the skin on your face, and the warmth between your hand and your face.

Feel the gentle weight of your hand over your heart. And again, the warmth between your heart and your face.

Simply wait and let the pose do it’s magic.



Havening of the arms


I hope these 3 techniques help you and show you the power of touch to soothe.

Signature of Sarah Tuckett Psychotherapy and Counselling North Brisbane

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