Laura Hunter Therapies

Can I Ask My Therapist to Hold Me?


Well, you might feel like you need a hug sometimes, right? Who doesn’t! But when it comes to therapy sessions, can you ask your therapist for that kind of physical comfort? It’s a sticky situation, indeed. Let’s unpack why the line between seeking support and maintaining a professional boundary with your therapist isn’t just important—it’s essential for both sides.

1. Understanding the Therapist’s Role

First off, let’s get down to brass tacks. Your therapist’s job is to provide mental health support through conversation, guidance, and sometimes, exercises that are all about the mind. Though they’re there to help you navigate your emotional landscape, therapists are not friends or family members; their role is professional to the core. Jumping into physical touch, like holding or hugging, usually goes against the grain of professional conduct. Why, you ask? Well, it boils down to keeping the relationship clear and focused on your mental health, not physical comfort.

2. Why Physical Touch is a No-Go

Imagine this: you’re in a canoe (that’s your therapeutic relationship), and you’ve got a set path down the river (your therapy goals). Now, if your therapist starts mixing in hugs or holds, it’s like throwing a big old rock into your canoe. Suddenly, it’s not just about steering straight anymore; you’ve got to deal with this new weight. Physical touch can muddy the waters of your professional relationship, making it hard to keep things clear and therapeutic. Plus, it can set up a dependency that’s more about comfort than coping strategies. Not exactly what the doctor ordered!

3. Other Ways to Meet Emotional Needs

So, what can you do when you’re craving that comforting touch? First, let’s throw some ideas on the table:

  • Talk it Out: Tell your therapist how you’re feeling. They can help you explore these emotions and find coping strategies that don’t involve touch.
  • Physical Self-Comfort: Learn self-soothing techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or even wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket.
  • Reach Out to Loved Ones: Friends and family are your go-to for hugs and physical comfort. They’re likely more than willing to give you a squeeze!

4. The Importance of Boundaries

Keeping boundaries in therapy isn’t just about following rules; it’s about making sure the therapy provides its intended benefit without personal biases or complications. Strong boundaries help ensure that the focus stays on your mental wellness, with clear lines that help both you and your therapist know where you stand. Think of it like this: good fences make good neighbours and even better therapist-client relationships!


Asking your therapist to hold you might feel like a natural request, especially when you’re feeling low. However, remembering the role and rules of the game can help you keep the relationship healthy and helpful. If you’re feeling touch-starved or overly emotional, don’t bottle it up—talk about it! Your therapist can work with you to find other ways to meet your needs without crossing lines.

Need to chat about what’s on your plate? Consider booking a discovery call with us. It’s a great first step to understanding how therapy can work for you, within the bounds that keep it professional and productive. Let’s get you on the path to feeling great—mentally and emotionally!

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