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ANATOMY OF A TOUCH SESSION

Below are the six phases of a TDCT session. For now, scroll through them to get familiar with their order. We will go into detail on each section with a bit more detail.

  1. Warm Welcome

    • This phase helps the client acclimate to the mentor and the space.

  2. Check-in

    • The check-in is a conversation. It helps set the stage for a great session.

  3. Opening Ritual.

    • An opening Ritual is an activity that can help a client who wants touch therapy to go smoothly and transition from not touching to touching.

      • Opening ritual is significant for clients that are victims of violence, abuse, rape, etc.

  4. The Contact

    • The contact is the meat and potatoes of the typical touch session.

  5. Closing Ritual

    • The closing Ritual prepares the client for the end of the session.

  6. Fond Farewell

    • Fond Farewell is the final phase and prepares the client to say goodbye until the next time.

WARM WELCOME

A warm welcome greeting with each other and offering a handshake or a warm hug (it should be noted that not all clients want a hug, and PPM mentor Corinne will ask you if you would like one.)

At this point, we will move on to Practicing Consent:

PRACTICE CONSENT- PART ONE

First, we will practice Consent. We will state the word "no" to each other. Practicing Consent helps it be more comfortable if the word is brought up. After the word "no" is stated, the other person will say, "Thank You For Taking Care Of Yourself'." Practicing authorization with Consent lets the client know they are not being judged for stating "NO".

Why Do We Practice Saying No?

Many see a touch therapist due to mental health diagnoses and past trauma. This helps them become comfortable with the word and allows them to know they have the power to either do or not do what they feel is appropriate for them during a session.

Most of us have some trauma that can cause us to freeze in the face of speaking up for ourselves if it means risking rejection. At that point, we have lost the ability to choose and act out of Free Will. There is no shame in being unable to say "no" when we can't. Our aim here is to exercise the action of saying the word 'no'. To build resilience so that we say "no" before it becomes so uncomfortable that we lose the ability to exercise our Free Will. And to advocate for our clients to do the same.

​*Reminder: Just because something was a "yes" in the past does not mean it is a "yes" today. People are forever changing, and so is Consent.

**Reminder: "No" does not need a reason, an explanation, or justification. Just say "NO" unless you WANT to go into more detail. However, "no" is a complete sentence during these therapeutic sessions.

Opening Agreement:

Secondly, we will go over the agreement. This is done verbally before any contact can take place. This is mandated by the company that Corinne is trained under and not written by Positive Peer Mentoring or Corinne Pulliam; however, she upholds the agreement.

  • I promise to take responsibility for my boundaries. If I'm uncomfortable with anything during our session, I will adjust to come back to comfort and communicate if I need to. This is my commitment to you that I will only engage in ways that I am wholeheartedly happy with.

  • Will you respect my needs and limits? (Wait for verbal agreement)

  • Will you promise to notice your own boundaries and discomfort to the best of your ability and communicate or change during our session if anything that feels less than comfortable happens? (Wait for verbal agreement)

  • Thank you, I promise to prioritize your needs, wants, and desires during this time together. I am dedicated to serving your well-being and self-care within my resourced capacities. Will you do your part by being receptive to what you want and willing to ask for it even though I may not be able to provide it that way? (Wait for verbal agreement).

  • This is an agreement that if we are uncomfortable, at any time, for any reason, we will speak up and adjust accordingly. Will you agree to do that? (Wait for a yes). Great, I promise to do that too.

CHECK IN 

Below is a list of possible questions we may ask during the check-in phase.

For New Clients:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, what number best describes how many touches you'd like today? A "1" would mean that you might opt out of touch for this session, and a "10" would suggest that you'd like as much cuddling as soon as possible.

  2. Between 1 and 10 - with 1 being that you'd like to make as few decisions as possible and prefer me to take the lead and guide every step of the way - and ten being that you'd like to have complete creative control and get to ask for exactly what you want, what number would you choose?

  3. What are some places/ways you most enjoy being touched?

  4. What are some areas or types of touch I should avoid?

  5. Would you prefer conversation or quiet today, or should we go with the flow?

  6. What sounds more therapeutic: being held, getting to hold, or a mix?

  7. Is there something that you need today?

  8. Do you have any goals or intentions for today's session?

  9. Do you have any preferences for quiet or music?

  10. What type of touch are you in the mood for? (Fun and playful, meditative relaxing, comforting and reassuring, conversational and connective, etc.)

  11. Do you have any questions for me before we begin?

 

For Repeat Clients:

  1. Do you have any updates on your preferences? Is there anything about today's session that you'd like to be different?

  2. Is there anything about our last session that you'd like to repeat or change?

OPENING RITUAL

Once your Check-in is complete, it's time for your Opening Ritual. A ritual marks the beginning of the touch experience, giving the mentor, a touch practitioner, and the client a space to settle comfortably into your body. Choose positions, activities, and conversation topics to serve as a starting point for more contact and connection. Here are some suggested activities for your  Opening Ritual:

  • At PPM, this is where we offer a gentle starting position.

  • At PPM, we try to guide the client in relaxation or breathing exercises.

 

Two ways that we can start touch therapy.

  1. Companioning:

  • Companioning means simply sitting side by side. It can be done while holding hands if the client wants to. A client may also choose to "companion" with space between you so there's no touch.

  1. Back-to-Back:

  • Sitting back-to-back can be very comforting.

 

Reminder: This may look different to everyone. It can be generic, like big spoons, little spoons, having your hair played with, having your head on someone's lap, etc. There is no right or wrong way to cuddle; this is TOUCH therapy. If everyone is giving Consent for the type of touch, which is nonsexual, it is allowed during a TCDT session.

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THE CONTACT

With your Opening Ritual complete, it's time to proceed to the core of the experience: The CONTACT.

We've created a list of activities that can work well independently or combined with contact. It adds variety and can be an excellent pick-me-up for our client. As you'll see, we encourage clients to be creative and have fun.

Other activities that can be done during a Touch Therapy session include:

  • Create new touch/cuddle positions together and name them wacky things.

  • Dancing

  • Deep Breathing together

  • Draw conversation questions from a jar.

  • Eye gazing

  • Hair playing

  • Laughing game, fake laugh until it becomes natural.

  • Listing to an album or podcast helps the client feel relaxed.

  • Playing a video game

  • Reading a book aloud (can be a children's book or a passage from any book)

  • Share silly TikTok's.

  • Singing together

  • Staring contest

  • Stretching

  • Thumb war

  • Verbal Affirmations (2 minutes of listening to or repeating kind words)

  • Watching a movie

CLOSING RITUALS

Closing Rituals are the last activities that the PPM mentor and the client can do before it's time for them to get up and start gathering their things to exit. Offering Closing Rituals can help the client shift gears, takes the edge off of any possible abruptness, and brings your session to a gentle but purposeful close.

Ten-Minute Heads Up

The first Closing Ritual will be a Ten-Minute Heads Up. Most clients prefer to know when there are ten minutes left of their session. That way, they can make any final requests or return to a favorite position before the end. It also helps clients mentally prepare as transitioning from bliss contact and therapeutic touch to leaving can be jarring for the client.

Some clients chose to have a 15-minute warning and a 20-minute warning. Please let us know if you would like additional notifications.

The Final Activity

 

The PPM mentor and the client can be as simple or creative as possible with your final activity. Feel free to experiment with the options below or come up with your own:

  • Ask: How was the experience for you? Were there any highlights or something you would like to try next time?

  • Assign "homework." (This is for if you have a coaching relationship with your client.)

  • Create/share a fun handshake.

  • Eye-gaze in silence or with verbal affirmations.

  • Finish the sentence stem: "I leave here with ___________."

  • Guide them through a brief meditation.

  • Heart-to-Heart Hug: Hold it and take three synchronized breaths together.

  • Listen to a song or watch a short, funny/inspiring YouTube video.

  • Love Burst: End your last position with a squeeze, hold it, take a deep inhale together, then exhale and release in a burst of love. 

  • Read a short children's book together.

  • Recite a poem or mantra to your client.

  • Stretch together or dance to some upbeat music.

 

The client's last 2-5 minutes session is the perfect time to integrate downtime experiences. At PPM, we give you space; you can sit, lie in silence, and share your thoughts, and Corinne will listen.

Closing Circle

After you have your 2-5 minute down town we will be doing a closing circle, so to speak; basically, this allows both parties an opportunity to reflect on how they feel. What the client liked, did not like, and what they may want to do for the following sessions.

As this is designed to work as therapy, we will also discuss at this time if this is something you would benefit from doing weekly, monthly, etc.

FOND FAREWELL

The Closing Ritual is complete, the Session is over, and it's time for the client to go. Our Fond Farewell guides the client out smoothly and efficiently. Our training suggests having the client out the door within ten minutes of the session's end. (The ten-minute rule applies if our PPM Mentor is doing an out-call session.)

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If you are feeling any of the above, please think about booking a session.

NOT in PA? No worries, she offers phone and video visits as well.

 

Use the button to see her updated calendar and book her today

When you have a Therapeutic Mentoring Session with Corinne Pulliam, at Positive Peer Mentoring she will:

  • Recognize her reactions to what the client is telling her.

  • Be non-judgmental and empathic.

  • Show a genuine interest in what the client is telling her.

  • Try to use the language of the client she is interacting with.

  • Validate what the client is telling her and show the client she is actively listening.

  • Find out what else is happening in the client's life (stress, relationship difficulties, etc.)

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