Bloch Healing Touch Psychotherapy for People with Hearing Loss
An effective approach to therapy for the deaf and hard of hearing
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a general term used to describe a therapeutic intervention between a therapist and an individual, and sometimes a couple, family or group with the aim of helping a person to increase their sense of well-being as a result of a better relationship with themselves and with others.
A better relationship with ourselves is generally thought to mean that we are more accepting of who we are as a person and free to pursue our own path in life. A better relationship with others usually means that we find ourselves more able to enter into relationships with greater openness, warmth and intimacy.
There are many different ways of conducting psychotherapy, reflecting different theories about the causes of human suffering and about the most helpful way to help people with these.
What is ‘Person-Centered’ Therapy?
Person-centered therapy is probably the most influential of the various modern therapeutic models. It is based on the evidence from scientific research that shows that when genuine and deep relating takes place between therapist and client, then the client becomes gradually more able to “be themselves” in the relationship and to risk relating more openly with the therapist. Many studies have shown that psychological health depends on these abilities.
Although the opportunity to talk through problems is often helpful, all of the evidence shows that it is the quality of the relationship that develops between therapist and client that is the most important factor in successful therapy. Therapists that foster trusting relationships with their clients are generally those who are the most worthy of trust (they tend to be genuine, empathic and kind in the therapeutic relationship) and are the most open to relating deeply with their client.
The problem with talk therapy for the deaf and hard of hearing
The traditional psychotherapeutic relationship involves many ways of communicating, including gesture, facial expression and even touch. However, the most important means of communication is generally considered to be the words that are spoken. This can present a challenge to people with hearing and other communication disabilities.
The advantages of touch therapy
For people with hearing loss, touch therapy has the obvious advantage that speech is not the primary (or even a necessary) method of communication. In addition, the conventions of using language, such as thinking, analysing and explaining, are bypassed by the directness of touch. And many people find it easier to allow the close interpersonal contact necessary for healing to take place when they do not feel that they must explain and define themselves before they can trust the therapist. There is something basic about touch that allows many people very quickly to permit a level of relating that can take months, or even years, in talk psychotherapy.
How is Bloch Healing different from other touch therapies?
With Bloch Healing, communication between therapist and client occur primarily through the medium of a subtle and sensitive touch. There are some other types of psychotherapy that use touch, but these generally include doing something to the client, whereas in Bloch Healing the only goal of touch is to facilitate a deep and sensitive communication between therapist and client. This makes it easier for people to allow the quality of relating that leads to the main benefits of psychotherapy.
What are the benefits of Bloch Healing?
Bloch Healing has similar benefits to ‘person-centered’ therapy, which include an increased ability to access and to trust in one’s own thoughts, feelings and values, free from the interference of others, to make deeper connections with other people and to engage more with the world. Clients become open to new experiences and develop a more flexible outlook.
An key benefit of Bloch Healing is an improvement in posture, mobility and balance. Movement becomes an opportunity for fuller and more complete expression of who the client is as a person, and of their thoughts and feelings at that moment, and this frequently leads to relief from the commonest forms of musculoskeletal pain.
What happens in Bloch Healing sessions?
Sessions last for 40 minutes. Everyday, comfortable clothes are ideal for sessions, and none need to be removed. Most sessions take place sitting in a chair, although clients can use a therapy couch if this is more comfortable. The therapist places their hands on the client in a manner that is gentle and non-intrusive and the atmosphere of sessions is informal and relaxed.
Is Bloch Healing suitable for everyone?
Most people who are suitable candidates for psychotherapy are able to benefit from Bloch Healing, and even the most severe communication disabilities are no bar to successful therapy. In addition, people with physical and cognitive disabilities, even profound disabilities, are usually able to benefit from this approach.
Where can I get more information about Bloch Healing?
There is a detailed introduction to Bloch Healing at The Principles and Practice of Bloch Healing and a simpler introduction with information about individual therapy sessions at Bloch Healing Touch Psychotherapy