The Judicious Use of Touch in an AEDP Treatment: Responding to Developmental Need and Transformance Drive

Transformance Talk based on an article of the same title from AEDP’s Journal TransformanceVolume 6; December  2015

presented by author and AEDP Certified Supervisor Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW

with interviewer / AEDP Sr. Faculty member Benjamin Lipton, LCSW

Access to this recording is available for AEDP Institute Members Only.


Abstract.  The use of touch in talk therapy has long been considered controversial and even taboo. However, touch when used thoughtfully and judiciously has the potential to facilitate healing. When confronted with the developmental and core need for touch, psychotherapists should have the ability to think through when it could be helpful and when it could be harmful. This paper and Transformance Talk considers the use of touch in a clinical case and the way it is negotiated by the patient-therapist dyad.

We will discuss viewpoints from the literature; some considerations regarding the use of touch that are born from the my education and training both as a psychoanalyst and an AEDP psychotherapist; and my specific rationale for incorporating touch into this particular treatment. A verbatim transcript from a mid-treatment session illustrates clinical work with touch. At the end of the paper – and during the Talk – I present some general guidelines for the judicious use of touch.

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Meet the Presenter

Hilary Jacobs Handel

Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW

Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW, has been involved in the AEDP community since 2004. She first heard Diana present at a conference on Affect Regulation at Mount Sinai Hospital in 2003—and was truly inspired. Other major influences are Benjamin Lipton, Eileen Russell, and Natasha Prenn with whom she attended the 2004 AEDP Immersion Course.

Dr. Hendel received her AEDP Certification in 2010. Also in 2004, she graduated with a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She gradually built her practice and continued her education at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy where she earned a Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in 2008. Ms. Hendel has a background in the sciences, which began at the Bronx High School of Science. She majored in biochemistry at Wesleyan University and received (Read More…)


Benjamin Lipton, LCSW

Benjamin Lipton, LCSW, is a founding faculty ember of AEDP™ Institute.  He is based in New York City and has travelled nationally and internationally to teach and present AEDP to a broad range of professional audiences.  Mr. Lipton pioneered the first AEDP Advanced Core Training programs (Bay Area and Seattle); and he teaches seminars as well as the certification courses Essential Skills and Advanced Skills.  His open and engaging teaching style and skill in translating complex ideas into clear and accessible learning points receives consistent praise from his audiences.  Mr. Lipton is the editor of From Crisis to Crossroads: Gay Men Living with Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities (Haworth Press) and has published many clinical articles and book chapters in psychology and social service journals over the past two decades. (Read More…)