PsychBytes

A publication of the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis

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Touch

Tarpley Long, MSW
Member, The Washington Center for Psychoanalysis
May 2017 | Volume 4 | Issue 5

Tell me you have never walked by a marble column, a bronze sculpture, a mahogany desk or a stone fountain and not had the urge to reach out to touch it. Where did this impulse originate? Probably at birth when we are received into loving hands. This early reciprocal pleasure in touch is ongoing in intimate relationships throughout our lives. We can also create this pleasurable sensation with inanimate objects in our environment such as a favorite coffee mug or Smart phone. We reach for door and cabinet hardware and kitchen and bath fixtures many times a day. If these are of a fine quality, we register pleasure, largely unconscious, interacting with them.

Over the past 20 years, I purchased five “fixer upper” but architecturally interesting houses and restored them. There are features of these homes I could point to as the reason they sold well was the surprise element of the sweet little screened porch or the chef’s atrium kitchen. My belief is that the buyers fell in love with these houses because of the investment I made in the hardware, starting with the front door handles. Whatever the design or material, if the door handles feel strong and conform to our grasp we will feel we are being brought into a place where we will be in good hands.

Little things mean a lot.

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