Emotional Intelligence | Stevehein.com

Psychologists Don't Give Hugs

Yesterday I was talking to some people here in Argentina about my teen suicide chat network. I was explaining why I introduce the teens to each other. I mentioned that in countries like the USA and England, psychologists don't give hugs. Everyone in the group quickly told me that the psychologists in Argentina don't give hugs either. Then last night I checked Google to see if I, or anyone, else had ever posted the quote "psychologists don't give hugs" on the Internet.

Here is what I found::


What this tells me is that not many people have been thinking about this.

Children and teens need hugs. Especially when they are crying. One reason they need to see psychologists in the first place is because they aren't getting enough hugs and emotional support at home. Yet psychologists don't give hugs.

In the group I was talking to yesterday there was a young man in his twenties who has tried to kill himself. He calls himself "bi-polar" because this is how the psychologists label him.

He also told me he has never met his father. His father left when he found out the mother was pregnant, something not at all uncommon in South America. He said he was raised by his grandmother and grandfather. I asked him what his grandmother did when he cried as a boy. He thought for a while and said he remembered when his dog died and he was crying. He said "She looked at me with a sympathizing look, a look that said 'You poor thing,'" but then she walked away without giving him a hug. I'd say this is a relevant factor in his suicidal equation.

He also told me, by the way, that he grew up in a small town and always read more and thought more tha n others around him. He was not popular with the girls because they only wanted to get pregnant and start a family but he wanted to talk about things like philosophy. Then he moved here to Salta, the capital of the province, where he met other intelligent people, started dating a girl from Europe and has stopped feeling suicidal.

This is more evidence that Mayer and Salovey are wrong when they say that emotionally intelligent people are not suicidal. I am quite sure his emotional intelligence did not suddenly go up when he moved here from his hometown. Instead, his level of emotional support went up. If you are interested in emotional intelligence, please do not make the mistake Mayer and Salovey have made by confusing emotional intelligence and emotional support. A highly emotionally intelligent person who has suffered from invalidation, emotional and other abuse, and a lack of emotional support, is a prime candidate for suicide. Confusing emotional intelligence and emotional suppport is like confusing cognitive intelligence with a lack of educational opportunity.

But getting back to the issue of psychologists, a hug may be the best form of emotional support, possibly even a silent hug....yet psychologists don't give hugs.

S. Hein
Salta, Argentina
Nov 28, 2006


Teen Suicide Chat
Silent Hugs
Emotional Abuse

See also the below list of why psychologists don't give hugs

Possible reasons psychologists don't give hugs

- They are told they shouldn't and they just accept this without question.

- They are not comfortable with physical touch.

- They are not confident in their ability to keep sexual feelings from arising.

- They are afraid of lawsuits.

- They are afraid of losing their license.

- They are not comfortable talking honestly about their feelings or the client's feelings for them.

- They are afraid they will lose control. IE they doubt their own ability to manage the situation.

- They are not clear themselves what the boundaries are between sexual and non-sexual touch, so they just avoid all touch like a person so afraid of drowning they never go into the water.

S. Hein
November 28, 2006