Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: February 18, 2022
Sometimes we just need a caress. Nothing else. We do not want the usual words or those phrases that have been said and repeated many times. We want to feel reaffirmed, welcomed and enhanced by the contact of a hand that passes gently on our skin.
Few things give an emotional and mental calm like the simple act of stroking. What's more, in humanistic psychology and transactional analysis it is said that everyone needs to be touched by loved ones to feel “recognized”.
Sensory deprivation is a reality that not only the child experiences with the mother, but also couples can experience it at certain times. They are bonds in which there is no adequate contact, the person is not recognized through caresses, hugs, kind words.
They are bonds in which affection is not transmitted and love goes beyond words. A child suffering from maternal deprivation has a much slower development and may one day experience emotional and reactive disturbances. They are creatures that grow up with serious shortcomings.
On an emotional and couple level, it may happen that one of the two people does not have the emotional wisdom implicit in simple caresses, those complicit caresses that allow you to build a true relationship.
In these cases, the other member of the couple will feel empty and doubt the partner's feelings and the value of the relationship, commitment.. Because caresses are the food that our soul and our emotional brain need to feel part of the world. Part of what we love.
The caress: a psychological, biological and social necessity
A caress is a powerful weapon, an essential gesture that encompasses a whole world of emotions, inner balance and psychological well-being.. This need to be recognized and, therefore, caressed, is something that will characterize us throughout our life.
It is usually said that how a person received his caresses in childhood will also determine how he expects them from others..
If a person has never received caresses, it is possible that he does not know how to give it, but his need to receive them will undoubtedly be very intense despite not recognizing it. It is a very complex thing, because the caresses of childhood determine many aspects of adulthood.
And although there may be various differences between people, the need for affection and closeness is universal not only among humans, but also among animals.. In fact, we can see it with our pets.
Let's now see what are the fundamental characteristics and psychological implications of caresses.
The power of unconditional caresses
For a caress to have impact, relevance and transcendence it must be unconditional. I caress your face with my hand because that's what my heart feels, because I recognize you as part of me and I do it without selfishness. Without conditions.
- A caress is first of all a sensory stimulus. A sensation is created, but in order to be authentic and unconditional, this gesture must awaken positive feelings and emotions.
- If the caress is sincere and unconditional, the right reciprocity is established. The two people recognize each other and receive these caresses as if they were a language that unites them, which builds their bond.
In my caresses there is also a part of me
We do not caress only to offer pleasure, to soothe, to gratify. We caress each other to convey a part of ourselves and build a bond.
- The caresses, once given, are what they are, then the other person will have to judge them as authentic or false. We must not forget that there are also caresses that hurt, caresses given out of pity or ironic that can destroy a bond, instead of strengthening it.
- A caress says a lot about us, so we must offer it calmly, gently, transmitting those messages of complicity that do not need words..
Caresses as part of healthy attachment
We have often talked to you about the concept of attachment. Although often, and from certain points of view, attachment is conceived as "addiction" or becoming too attached to someone or something, from the point of view of humanistic and affective psychology people need a healthy attachment to create a link.
A caress is the gesture with which we recognize, embrace and integrate one or more people into our being. They are part of our heart and we need skin-to-skin contact to reaffirm emotions.
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