Cuddle therapy is the use of consent and respect of boundaries in order to create a safe and comforting space where one can learn or relearn self-care, self-affirmation and to express their needs and boundaries in terms of platonic physical contacts.
Definition of Cuddle therapy
See how Cuddle Therapy can also be done with no contact when in times of pandemic.
Through the practice of consent, where everyone’s agreement must be reached before anything happens, and the respect of Calia’s boundaries and everyone’s personal boundaries, a space is created where the participants feel comfortable, safe and respected enough to be able to explore their own needs, sensations and abilities to give and receive platonic physical contacts and, above all, to express themselves in consequences.
More and more recognized in the United States, Cuddle therapy is not only about hugs and oxytocin, but is mostly a therapy by consent. Thanks to the principles of consent and the respect of personal boundaries (those of the client AND the professional AND / OR the other participants, in the case of Group Workshops), an environment is created where the client can learn or relearn how to respect and assert themselves. The client is then invited to be more attentive to their needs and boundaries and especially encouraged to express them; the client can then explore the physical contacts in an environment where they feel that their consent and boundaries are respected (and where they must also respect those of the other(s)).
Not only does this approach allow the client to rediscover the benefits of hugs and cuddles, but it also allows the client to practice communication related to needs, consent and personal boundaries.
The client can also learn to reproduce by themselves, with other people, comfortable and reassuring situations where they will then be able to have enjoyable and consenting physical contacts.
Intentions of Cuddle therapy
Allows you to safely explore your personal boundaries in terms of platonic physical contact as well as learn to express them.
Allows you to learn to say NO to what makes you uncomfortable without feeling guilty about taking care of yourself.
Allows you to learn to identify and ask for what you need without feeling guilty about taking care of yourself or being afraid of rejection.
Allows you to learn to appreciate refusals without the feeling of rejection and to respect others’ boundaries.
Allows you to improve your communication in terms of consent and personal boundaries and thus improve your interpersonal relationships.
Allows you to rediscover the physical and mental benefits of consenting platonic cuddles and oxytocin.
No contact Cuddle Therapy
Above all, a Cuddle Therapy Session offers you a safe, respectful, non-judgmental and relaxing space that allows you to be yourself and honest with your stories, your emotions, your needs and your limits. You can then talk about even the most difficult subjects and benefit from attentive, welcoming and non-judgmental listening from the professional.
Although the professional in Cuddle Therapy is not a psychotherapist (see the Collaboration with psychotherapy section), she can still advise you in her areas of expertise, namely consent and touch.
So she can…
- Assist you in the analysis of the validity of a consent in a given situation;
- Help you better understand the different skills of consent and how you can put them into practice in your daily life and in your different relationships;
- Guide you in identifying and expressing the types of touch you really need in order to perfect your communication and negotiations in terms of physical contact.
Knowing how to verify the validity of a consent; understanding the importance and extent of the different skills of consent, as well as being able to clearly identify and express the desired or unwanted physical contacts, are all essential to maintaining healthy and balanced relationships.
“Sometimes just realizing that we have the right to say NO or to change our mind about physical contact that makes us uncomfortable can make all the difference in someone’s life. ..
Personally, the day I learned that I had the right to change my mind [during physical proximity], that even if I’d said YES at the beginning I did HAVE TO stay until the end. ..; That day, there was no cuddling involved, just theory, and it was still an epiphany that changed my life! In fact, it was on that day that I understood how I should create Calia. Everyone should have the chance to realize that their well-being and consent are more important than other people’s pleasure. But it’s not just knowing it, it’s also knowing how. When you have said YES all your life, even if you are told that you can say NO; you just don’t know when to say NO because you haven’t learned to identify your boundaries …”
– Alie Valérie
Calia therefore also offers Virtual Cuddle Therapy Sessions for those who want to learn more about touch and how to respect their own consent, without having to go to Calia. For more information or to book a session, visit the Virtual Cuddle Therapy Sessions page.
Collaboration with psychotherapy
Cuddle therapy is not a psychotherapy; this is why a psycho/cuddle-therapy collaboration is ideal in cases of disorders associated with physical contact. Psychology or psychotherapy allows the client to identify, analyze and correct their psychological and mental disorders, while cuddle therapy allows them to put it into practice in a supervised and safe environment.
“Many of my clients who had psychotherapy for physical contact PTSD ended up being told by their therapist (and here I quote my clients): “Well, we have fixed the mental part, now you have to practice to hug in the real world, so find someone on a dating site or get yourself an escort. ”
– Alie Valérie
By collaborating with Calia, not only the client remains safe and can be properly accompanied in their healing process, but the psychotherapist can also be ensured follow-ups and thus be able to intervene each time a cuddle therapy session generates progress, regressions or revelations at the psychological level.
Here is the testimony of a Calia’s client (Post-traumatic stress disorders due to physical and sexual abuses in childhood and autistic spectrum disorders) (Shared here with his permission).
“I have been seeing Alie since February of 2019. I’ve decided to write a review today, a review well over expired. To describe me more, I have struggled in my life due to PTSD and autism. If you know what these are, you will understand this underlines a whole series of complications in my life. Physical contact being my biggest struggle, I have seen so many therapists but it is not in their mandate to help when it comes to physical contact. This is where I took a leap of faith to meet Alie and attempt another type of help. When I first met Alie, I was petrified, wanting to leave. Alie took the time to allow me to adjust to my rhythm and standards rather than rushing me. After my first session with Alie, I was quite pleased despite being scared. Went to see her again the following week(s) to see the same true person she is. I’ve been seeing her every week since then and I have progressed in my life so much that I never thought possible. This type of help has benefited me in my everyday personal and working life. We have had a lot of good moments and we have had our bad moments. Alie was always willing to work things out so I can continue my therapy with her. It wasn’t until I attended a workshop September 20th, that I noticed I have accomplished something I never thought possible in my given situation.
To paint a better picture of Alie, she is patient and non-judgmental. She will try to understand where you are coming from and the reason for your visit to make your session feel at home. She’s very easy to get along with and not shy to talk about anything. She wears her heart on her shoulders and is very empathetic even though she has her goofy funny side. As long as you follow the guidelines of Calia, you will gain her complete confidence and trust. When you arrive at her place, she always has a big smile, eager to meet people and help in any possible ways she can within the guidelines of Calia.
Till this day, I still continue to see Alie in hopes to further my progress in therapy. The guidelines makes this company possible for everyone to enjoy the simple platonic touch that we all may not get every so often.”
If you are a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist, social worker or any other type of specialist working with people who have suffered physical contact traumas (aggression, abuse, physical, sexual or mental violence, etc.) and are interested in a collaboration with cuddle therapy, please contact Alie.
Whether it’s to refer Calia to your clients or to have Calia refer you to their clients!
Limitations and risks of Cuddle therapy
In addition to the fact that Cuddle therapy is not a psychotherapy (see the Collaboration section), Cuddle therapy has certain limitations that must be understood by the client. In addition, Cuddle therapy may also lead to an overdose of oxytocin, which in turn, although associated with many benefits, may also carry certain risks (see the page on Oxytocin (soon available)).
*Cuddle therapy is not a licensed medical practice and should not replace the consultation of a health professional, either physical or psychological.
Indeed, I can’t guarantee you any results nor give you a receipt for insurance. I can’t tell you that cuddle therapy will solve all your problems, although there is more and more studies and evidence that it can help. All I can promise you is to do my best so that you have the best experience possible!
I also cannot analyze your state of mental or physical health, nor give you advice in these respects. For example, if you are suffering from depression, I cannot confirm that you are suffering from depression, nor give you any advice on how to get out of depression, other than going for a psychological or psychiatric consultation. The only areas where I would allow myself to analyze and advise you are those of cuddles and consent.
*Cuddle therapy does not include, under any circumstances, any form of explicit or implicit sexuality.
Indeed, cuddle therapy involves only platonic cuddles. There is no nudity even partial, no intention nor sexual or even sensual energy. Picture a mother holding her child in her arms; that’s more like it.
Yes, erections are possible, even natual given the level of relaxation or proximity, but nothing else happens! Actually, we usually put a pillow, cushion or blanket between people so that the erections don’t cause any discomfort. And if the tension starts to rise: well, we take a break, we pull away, take a deep breath and if need be, start talking about car mechanics or politics!
As for conversations, the subjects of sexuality can very well be approached (such as the tale of non-consensual sexual experiences, the need for advice on communicating consent during sexual relations or even the confidence of some of your desires that make you feel ashamed) as long as the intention remains platonic, that is to say without any sensual nor sexual intention, energy or attitude (in other words, talking about it shouldn’t turn you on and you shouldn’t expect to turn on the other person by talking about it).
*The relationship between the client and the professional is exclusively professional and is strictly limited to the scope of the session or the workshop.
Indeed, it is important that you to understand that I will not become your friend (outside of Calia) nor your girlfriend. The reason it’s hard to remember that is that you’ll be spending a couple of hours with someone who gives you their full attention, who respects you and listens to you without judging, who takes the time to make sure you are comfortable … For some people, this is a rare experience! Add to that the fact that well-done cuddles, consenting cuddles, fill you with oxytocin (the hormone accentuating the feelings of attachment, love and well-being). So yes, it is easy and common to “fall in love” in a cuddle therapy session!
What you need to remember is that during the cuddle therapy session, just like any other type of therapy, attention goes one way. You don’t come to see me to hear about my personal problems; you come to me to tell me about yours. You do not come to see me to give me the touch I need; you come to ask me if I would like to give you the touch you need. And that’s great! That’s the reason you pay; to have a few hours where you are the center of attention! So enjoy it, I’m here for that!
*Emotions are welcome
Indeed, we do our best to create a bubble where the judgment doesn’t exist so that each person can feel comfortable to live their emotions. Because, believe me, cuddles well done can actually bring out a lot of emotions! Whether they’re emotions of joy, sadness, guilt, disappointment, despair, frustration (obviously, violence isn’t allowed, but you can still feel frustrated or angry); at Calia, you are free to live your emotions in peace, security and without judgment. And if it ever gets too difficult to manage these emotions, we will think of collaborating with a psychologist or psychotherapist (or any other appropriate expert) and, together, help you get better!
Discover how a Virtual Session can be both a space for confidence and a space for learning.