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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Touch in CYC

I am a final year student studying social work at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland currently undertaking the research stage of my dissertation.

The purpose of my study is to explore the views of residential child care staff in relation to the use of touch.

I would like to invite you to share your thoughts and experiences of using, or not using touch in residential care settings in order to generate a discussion.

How will I use the findings?

The information collated from the discussion will be collated and analysed to identify common themes. This information will be written up and included in my undergraduate dissertation. All identifying information from the participants will remain confidential and will not be included in the research

Thank you, and I look forward to reading your contributions

Kathy Grant

Dr Bruce Perry has some interesting things to say about touch in his book The Boy Who Was raised As A Dog

Peter Hoag

Hi Kathy,

In regards your question about the use of touch in a Residential care setting, I recently read a book I would highly recommend: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog. Dr. Bruce Perry is a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. This book examines the lasting psychological effects of severe trauma in children. One thing that really struck me is his belief in the need to hold a child, at whatever age, to allow the child to proceed developmentally. It is a great read.


See also these threads from a while back:

While these re not specific to CYCC these will get you started:

Zur, O., & Nordmarken, N. (2010). To touch or not to touch: Exploring the myth of prohibition of touch in psychotherapy and counseling

Stenzel, C. L., & Rupert, P. A. (2004). Psychologists’ use of touch in individual psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training

Phelan, J. E. (2009). Exploring the use of touch in the psychotherapeutic setting: A phenomenological review. Psychotherapy: theory, Research, Practice, Training

Connor, A., & Howett, M. (2009). A conceptual model of intentional comfort touch. Journal of Holistic Nursing

Bonitz, V. (2008). Use of physical touch in the “talking cures”: A journey to the outskirts of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Training

Patricia Kostouros


Regarding the use of touch and physical stimulation and how you can work with it: see this free education program: . When opening the page, click "sessions" and go through sessions 4 (for the effects of lack of early touch and balance stimulation) and 8 (for practices that increase brain activity and dopamine production (dopamine is released by the brain also by touch, and it's an important element in mutual attachment and social behavior). The principles described are applicable also to older children and youth.

I used another book years ago which has a wonderful compilation of various research results regarding touch:

Or, you can read this book concerning also how touch can be part of work with severely deprived and disturbed children:

med venlig hilsen/ Yours sincerely

Niels Peter Rygaard

I have not read the book by Bruce Perry but would love to do so. I am a student at Monash South Africa and I agree with Laura that it is important to show physical affection to any child. There is no telling how a child needs that show of affection. If adults need all the love and care and to be held to be comforted, then how much more so for a child?

Talent Mathe

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