On January 19th 2018, as part of the ‘Niche Work If You Can Get It’ series, CPI Founder Kitty Mansfield was interviewed about cuddle therapy and professional cuddling.
Professional cuddling is slowly becoming more accepted as a legitimate holistic therapy, in line with a growing body of scientific research, as mentioned by cultural commentator Karen Krizanovich in the show. We appreciate the BBC investigating the role of cuddle therapists but feel that there were some issues raised in the programme that warrant clarification.
The host, Nick Baker, said he was worried about a “young person offering physical intimacy for money, in a client’s home.” This statement is misleading . While cuddling is by its very nature intimate, both the client and the professional cuddler abide by a strict code of conduct which states that the session is strictly platonic and non-sexual in nature.
Nick Baker also questioned why people turn to cuddle therapy, asking, “Is it a substitute for love? Is it a substitute for true intimacy? Is it a substitute for friendship?” The answer is that people turn to cuddle therapy for reasons as varied as our clients. Some simply lack human touch and hugs in their life, others suffer from anxiety, stress and loneliness. Some people are working through a trauma around touch. There is no one set reason, and if you’re interested in exploring whether cuddle therapy is for you, please get in touch.
During the course of the programme, Nick expressed his concern about the treatment itself. I reiterate the point I made that, “cuddle therapy is not a substitute for proper medical consultation for physical, mental and psychological illnesses.” Cuddle therapy is for those who are touch deprived and based on scientific evidence, we know that touch has the ability to mitigate the impacts of major issues like loneliness. As such, we are proud to deliver this innovative form of therapy and to play a positive role in the lives of our clients. We are not members of associations for counsellors or psychotherapists, because we are not counsellors or psychotherapists!
Despite Nick’s obvious cynicism he experienced two cuddle sessions, both with CPI graduates - Rebekka Mikkola at Nordic Cuddle, and Lindsay Meadows, a Brighton-based professional cuddler. Despite saying how pleasant he found both experiences, he was not a convert. In the programme Karen Krizanovich, suggests to Nick that, “You’re not their market, you see that’s the issue… You’re not a man that needs a cuddle.”
As the first professional cuddler in the UK, and Europe, and as founder of CPI, I was glad to be invited to take part in this fascinating programme. Our members will continue to provide quality cuddle therapy sessions to our clients, and I always welcome the opportunity to positively change perceptions of our industry to reflect the true nature of our work.