COVID-19 changed everything in 2020
How did the pandemic change cuddle therapy? Thankfully, one thing didn’t change. Survivors still reached out for professional cuddling services to
- decrease stress
- increase relaxation
- lower compulsive cravings
- improve self-esteem
- lessen the symptoms of depression, PTSD, Complex PTSD, and anxiety
But some significant changes did occur.
Prior to the pandemic, the experience of professional cuddling was pretty straight forward.
How clients experience cuddle therapy before COVID
- clients submitted a state issued ID so a copy could be kept in the therapist’s files
- cuddler and client discussed beforehand what the goals of the session would be
- the session began with conversation to confirm how things would go
- clear communication followed throughout the session
- the client told the professional cuddler desirable ways to be held
- the cuddle therapist guided the client in and out of cuddle positions at a rate pleasant to the client
- there may have been talking, silence, music, or a combination of all three
- the cuddle therapist never gave advice but listened attentively and reflectively
- the client left the session feeling seen, heard, accepted, relaxed, and at ease
The same benefits of professional cuddling are still in effect today but the delivery is different since 2020.
Professional Cuddling: In-Person or Virtual Sessions
In-Person Professional Cuddling
Professional cuddle therapy began as an in-person practice. Clients reached out to a local practitioner who was recommended by a friend or a healthcare professional or a through an online search.
After completing the initial paperwork, satisfying the payment requirement, and participating in the intake call, a client would meet the practitioner in the designated spot.
- at the cuddler’s home
- in the client’s home
- at a cuddling studio
- in an agreed upon public place
The cuddle therapy session that followed would include conversation, cuddling, and work toward specific healing goals. The sessions lasted anywhere from 60 minutes to 9 hours (usually reserved for overnight sessions but sometimes used for day-long retreats), depending on the agreement made prior to the start of the appointment.
That process ground to a halt when public reaction to COVID-19 shut down in-person anything all across the globe.
Clients all over the world had to discontinue participation in professional cuddle therapy in an in-person way.
Virtual Connection Sessions
Professional cuddlers met (virtually) and discussed how best to serve their clients when in-person sessions were no longer an option for an underdetermined amount of time.
Clients called and emailed and asked how they could still receive professional cuddling services, feeling more in need of connection than ever before.
In response to the need and because of inspired conversations, professionals and clients embarked on a new and uncharted course: virtual connection sessions.
After following the same first steps of the in-person session (paperwork, payment, and intake call), the cuddle therapist and the client met . . . virtually.
Virtual sessions are conducted using laptops, tablets, or cell phones.
Lasting anywhere from 60 minutes to a few hours, a virtual “cuddle” session could include
- mirroring exercises
- breathing exercises
- consent coaching
- active listening
- shared experiences (watch parties, making a meal together, or sharing cups of tea)
- and other techniques agreed upon between the professional cuddling practitioner and the client
Professional Cuddling is healing and available
In 2020, a professional cuddling session can happen in-person or through a virtual connection session.
Clients can connect with a safe person, professionally trained to provide instruction on boundary setting and opportunities for acceptance. Professional cuddlers use their experience and training to craft a focused time of healing for each client’s individual needs, in person or online.
Happily, clients get a healthy dose of oxytocin bliss and practice platonic touch.
Find a professional cuddling practitioner in your area or connect with one many miles away.
But be sure to stay connected, too.