86 Days ’til 40: Hug Therapy

27 Nov


A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.  ~ Bil Keane

That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable. ~ Deb Caletti

If you’re angry at a loved one, hug that person. And mean it. You may not want to hug – which is all the more reason to do so. It’s hard to stay angry when someone shows they love you, and that’s precisely what happens when we hug each other. ~ Walter Anderson

Hug therapy…. so important.  In the past I have written about our intense human need for physical touch.  I have also found that my animals have this need.  Animals are such a gift to us – as they can provide the physical touch that lonely individuals desperately yearn for.  This may be why it is a well-known reality that people live longer when they have pets.

As an educator, I have found that there are many times when a child needs a hug more than words of encouragement.  Sadly, in this day of lawsuits and accusations, staff members have to be very careful about any sort of contact with students.  Some school districts and states even recommend that staff members put their arms in the air and do not hug a child ever, even when the child initiates.

As a past child abuse specialist for a school district in the USA, I understand the importance of wanting to protect our children from inappropriate physical contact, yet as a therapist I also understand the developmental necessity of touch in a child’s life – and the healing power of a safe, comforting hug in times of distress.  I believe that we have a happy medium where I work – and we do hug students when they initiate.  We give them the comfort they need to feel safe and secure.

I also find that adults need hugs… in fact, we probably need more hugs than we get!  This is something I am keenly aware of with our single staff members.  Between my partners and my children I get all the hugs I need, but I remember what it was like being single – being deprived of physical contact for days, weeks, or even months  at a time.  As someone who was very conservative in my choices, I found that I yearned for physical connection, but was smart enough to not go looking for it in unhealthy places.  I think there are many single adults who struggle with this same reality – some are lucky enough to have a pet to snuggle, others struggle and long for companionship and personal connection.

If you have single friends, think of them and their need for personal connection – and if they look like they may need a hug, ask them if they do!

Today, 86 days ’til 40, I am reminded about the need for connection – it is an ever-present need in our lives, from birth through adulthood.



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19 responses to “86 Days ’til 40: Hug Therapy

  1. Jennifer Stuart

    November 27, 2012 at 00:33

    Touch is so very important, I agree. While going to Massage Therapy school, my need for physical affection changed so much. I realized that touch can come in so many forms, and that we definitely do not make the most of that in our society. Being touched is good! It’s too bad that schools don’t teach massage therapy as just part of the regular curriculum so that people can practice and learn to touch objectively, maybe that would help people out in the future.

    • 400daystil40

      November 27, 2012 at 08:14

      Wow, what an interesting connection with massage school – it makes so much sense!

  2. Bob Faw

    November 27, 2012 at 00:45

    This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I love the balance that your school has discovered. When I was single I received therapeutic massage regularly to help get the touch I need. I have many close friends that hug one another. It’s so helpful to thriving in life.

    • 400daystil40

      November 27, 2012 at 08:12

      Thank you for the compliment! Great point re: therapeutic massage!

  3. transitionstande

    November 27, 2012 at 01:40

    So important, and many people go years without a hug…

  4. sakuraandme

    November 27, 2012 at 03:18

    Hugs fix everything! even if it’s only temporary! ……Paula x

  5. walkwiththerabbi

    November 27, 2012 at 04:12

    As always, a wonderfully succinct yet meaningful rendering. That said, there’s also a time to “back off” and to allow much needed “space” to one who has been deeply wounded – by another. There was a time when I was “another.” I go into this painful season of my life in detail in “The Walk” (, a time when I created an enormous chasm in my relationship, until I had a DIVINE encounter. The last thing Fran wanted was a hug – the first thing she wanted was – space! Oh yeah – hugs till next time! Blessings to you and the family!

    • 400daystil40

      November 27, 2012 at 08:15

      Thank you so much! You make a very good point… there are times when hugs feel too intrusive…..

  6. Ayslyn'sCorner

    November 27, 2012 at 04:24

    “A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.” – That was my chuckle for the day. Thanks for sharing!

  7. knitxpressions

    November 27, 2012 at 17:03

    Hugs are good for the soul. Have you ever heard of the Free Hugs Campaign? Have a look at this, I think you’ll like it:

  8. simon7banks

    November 27, 2012 at 23:18

    It is frightening how scared we have become of physical contact. Yes, there is a risk of it being inappropriate, but the psychological effects of being starved of it are serious too and will be widespread.

  9. ahmedfraih

    November 28, 2012 at 10:39

    Yes… it’s a five stars blog, you literally struck a chord. Thanks for the lovely article, you’re always the best, hope you get the hugs you need…

    • 400daystil40

      November 28, 2012 at 21:18

      Thank you so much, Ahmed! I always love your encouraging comments!!! 🙂


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