I once had a person come to see me who calmly told me, “I don’t like to be touched.”
Of course I told her maybe she had come to the wrong place! – since that’s what I did.
But she said she was aware of it as a problem, had seen my face on my flyer, and I looked like a nice person.
So we talked for quite a while and we did decide to do that first session. As we worked, I was naturally anxious to do no harm, checked in often, and at the end asked her how she liked it.
“Like?” she said in disbelief. “You mean how much of a torture was it?”
So I asked on the torture scale where was it.
She said “About an 8.”
However, she scheduled another appointment. And we proceeded to work every week or two.
I spent up to a half hour talking each time before we did the table work. I wanted to better understand her because her negative reaction was so challenging for both of us. She was quite depressed and somatically so uninhabited. There was no place in her body I could touch that felt even o.k.
Eventually I found an entryway. She began to find she could tolerate work on her feet. With the feet as our starting point, I then had an opening to her body and awareness. Little by little, things began to change; or at least I hoped so.
We worked every week for months. Each session was extremely challenging for both of us.
After about three months, she told me that she thought we were making some progress.
“How’s that?” I asked.
She said, “For the first time in my life I know why someone might want to live.”