612: The Healing Power of Touch and Humor: Christian Counselors as Intercessors of the Healing Power of Jesus
Richard Silvey, Ed.D.
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24515
John Kuhnley, M.D.
West Yavapai Guidance Clinic
3343 N. Windsong Dr.
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
The demand for effective counseling services is growing because of the impact of COVID-19 on clients and counselors. The application of counseling has changed and requires clinicians to consider alternative and additional strategies, including telemental health sessions and novel interventions within sessions to address current social and touch deprivations. To solicit clients’ thoughts about the treatment they receive from a wide range of healthcare providers, 56 individuals responded to an anonymous online survey in which they shared their experiences, both positive and negative. In addition, clients provided opinions about the use of two specific interventions, humor and the novel approach of Intercessory Touch. The responses offered perspectives to enhance care. Evidence-based research links humor and touch to numerous positive effects. The appropriate use of humor and touch in counseling can be therapeutic for the mind and body. Humor is associated with: a) decreased stress, b) lower blood pressure, c) stronger immune system, d) decreased pain, e) stronger social connection, f) endorphin release, and g) decreased inflammation. Touch impacts: a) bonding, b) safety, c) communication, d) emotional balance, e) better health, and f) neurological and polyvagal nerve benefits, to name a few. The novel approach of Intercessory Touch appears to have profound impacts on physical and social connection during a time where individuals must engage in “distancing.” In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore and discuss themes from the voices of clients, the uses and effects of humor in counseling sessions, practical applications for the healing power of touch, and particularly the power of Intercessory Touch. The Bible records the healing power of Jesus’ touch, and Christian counselors serve as intercessors of His power.
• Analyze thoughts and feelings shared by clients about the care provided by licensed mental health professionals (client responses will guide discussion on how professionals can better serve clients)
• Explain the value of two clinical interventions, humor and the novel technique, Intercessory Touch, and their application for in-person and virtual (telemental health) counseling
• Discuss the analysis of client feedback and the value of humor and Intercessory Touch, as well as other evidence-based interventions, to better guide their practices