AEDP Institute

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 Transformance:
Volume 6; December, 2015

presented by author and AEDP Certified Supervisor

Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW

with interviewer / AEDP Sr. Faculty member

Benjamin Lipton, LCSW


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.

Cost / Registration:

FREE for AEDP Paid Members: must be logged in!

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Meet the Presenter

Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW

Hilary Jacobs HandelHilary 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 a DDS from Columbia University. The education at Columbia included neuroscience, which has become so relevant in understanding why AEDP is so effective. She has also enjoyed being the Mental Health Consultant for the television series Mad Men.

Benjamin Lipton, LCSW

Ben LiptonBenjamin Lipton, LCSW, is a founding faculty member of the AEDP Institute.  He is based in New York City and travels 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 currently co-leads the AEDP Retreat Style Essential Skills course.  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.  His most recent article, co-authored with Diana Fosha, is on working with attachment in AEDP;  Attachment as a Transformative Process in AEDP: Operationalizing the Intersection of Attachment Theory and Affective Neuroscience.  Mr. Lipton has held adjunct faculty appointments at Columbia Presbyterian Department of Psychiatry and New York University School of Social Work and he serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services.  Previously, he was the Director of Clinical Services at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the world’s first and largest HIV/AIDS service organization.  In addition to his expertise in AEDP, Mr. Lipton has training in EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Somatic Experiencing, Solution-Focused therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy.  Mr. Lipton is committed to the foundational principle of human development that change for the better, at every level of civilization, flourishes when people feel safe enough to be curious and take necessary risks.  He is passionately dedicated to bringing this alive in both his practice and teaching.