According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, safety is the second most important need after basic physiological requirements have been met. This means that an individual will first seek to find safety, before they look to progress any further along the hierarchy.
Ellen Boeder, from the Gottman Institute, says that when we experience safety, “Our social engagement system enables us to collaborate, listen, empathize, and connect, as well as be creative, innovative, and bold in our thinking and ideas.” Safety is therefore a crucial aspect which determines our ability to achieve our full potential in life.
One component of this is emotional safety. In a blog for Psychology Today, James D. Huysman, writes that, “Emotional safety comes from within us. It is the ‘knowing’ of what we’re feeling; the ability to be able to identify our feelings and then take the ultimate risk of feeling them.”
We therefore need to ensure that we have environments where we can feel emotionally safe. Cuddle therapy can provide just this, allowing us to express emotions with genuine honesty and to be confident in the knowledge that we won’t be judged for anything that we share. Not only is this an extremely liberating feeling which builds self-confidence, but it also helps us process past experiences as one of our clients explained in a guest post.
In this post, we’ll explore four ways that cuddle therapy can build emotional safety.
1. Speaking to a caring professional
In life, there will be times when we wish we had someone to speak with about difficult situations we’re going through. Reaching out to friends and family is always a good option, however, there may be times when this isn’t possible and when speaking to a person with a neutral perspective might be beneficial.
Cuddle therapists incorporate physical touch with talking therapy into their sessions. Knowing that you can speak honestly from your heart, takes a burden off your shoulders and provides a comforting sense of relief.
2. A safe and secure environment
Our cuddle sessions can take place in a number of locations, including therapy studios as well as in a client’s home (depending on the preferences of the practitioner and client). As such, the environment is a safe space for open and honest reflections.
3. The oxytocin effect
In our previous blog, we explained that oxytocin is released when we hug, which can help increase levels of empathy. Oxytocin, however, is best known as the trust hormone and creates a bond between individuals when they hug. For example, it’s been suggested that the oxytocin released when a mother cuddles her new-born infant helps with the bonding process between them.
Through the release of oxytocin, we’re more open to have difficult conversations about sensitive issues. Cuddles also calm us down by lowering our blood pressure and stress levels, while helping us feel emotionally connected to one and other.
4. Non-rushed experience
Time seems to speed up with each passing year and with our on-the-go lives it can sometimes feel like we’re rushed off our feet. Cuddle sessions provide the perfect opportunity to reflect and find our true selves once again.
Whether you’d like to embrace, talk or even have a nap in the arms of a caring practitioner, the choice is yours. Cuddling allows us to take a break from our devices and social media which offer a wealth of distraction, and reconnect with another person in a meaningful and beneficial way. A cuddle session also offers a small oasis of relaxation from fast-paced London lifestyles and careers.
The importance of emotional safety can’t be overstated and we could do well to foster emotional safety in our lives. To enquire about a cuddle session, visit our ‘Book Online’ page and experience the emotional safety of a therapeutic cuddle today.