Has creativity ever offered you solace during a particularly challenging time, lifting you up, unsticking you or providing you with a safe haven? Has the simple act of starting and completing a project enabled you to feel more grounded and comfortable within your immediate social and physical environment?
Yarn Therapy provides a safe and nurturing environment where individuals can experience the benefits of counselling while they sit and knit. It works especially well with clients who find it hard to trust or open up and those who are reluctant or unable to connect to the emotion attached to a trauma.
Often, the meditative and creative aspects of yarn crafts can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to coping with difficult times – be it grief, depression, change, relationship issues or that emotional slump you just haven’t been able to emerge from. Occupying our hands can help us to feel calmer and more relaxed. And having a project with a clear and reachable ending fosters feelings of wellbeing and achievement.
In addition, talking about a problem can bring relief and bring us closer to a resolution, especially if accompanied by a professional ear, qualified to offer guidance and advice where necessary. With very little investment: clarity, resolution and a fresh perspective can be achieved in areas where things have previously been stubbornly stuck.
The form of knitting that we are familiar with today dates back to the Middle Ages and the Middle East, where socks made of cotton or silk were knitted in intricate detail with Arabic blessings written into them.
Since then, knitting has spread throughout the world and most cultures now practice it in some form or another. It has taken many different forms, gone in and out of fashion and been practiced as both an occupation and a hobby.
In the last ten years, it has experienced a dramatic rise in popularity, and there are now numerous knitting cafes, social groups, books, magazines, blogs, forums, websites and television shows encouraging a new generation to adopt it.
An expression of anti-consumerism, self-identity and independence, it is loved for instilling a sense of belonging and rooted-ness within the community in a time when as a culture we have lost many of the ties that bind us together.
For a more detailed history, see The Origins of Knitting.
Although modern scientific psychology is dated at 1879, attempts to create methods for assessing and treating mental distress existed long beforehand. The earliest recorded approaches were a combination of religious, magical and/or medical perspectives with examples of such psychological thinkers, including Patañjali, Padmasambhava and Rumi. It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century, however, that the first clinical application of psychology began with the practice of psychoanalysis, the ‘talking cure’. Key theorists include Freud, Adler and Jung.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, the field of psychology has developed significantly. Once fairly limited in both its accessibility and diversity, it is now widely available and includes many different forms and fields. It is also popular with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
For a more detailed history, see Talk Therapy.
Employing yarn craft within the context of a therapy session is a relatively novel concept, but one that is growing in notoriety and popularity as knitting as a hobby and alternative therapy in general become more mainstream.
Yarn Therapy on a one-to-one basic, however, remains in its infancy, if indeed it exists at all.
In my work I adapt my approach to suit each individual client, blending several different different modern therapies and techniques (including Counselling, EFT, EMDR, Bilateral Stimulation Therapy and Matrix Reimprinting). It is a gentle and non-invasive practice, especially effective with those who find it hard to trust or open up.
Knitting is the ideal portable self-soothing tool, enabling stress, anxiety, difficult emotions and fear of social situations to be managed in the moment.
In addition, it can also be beneficial to a whole range of physical and psychological issues, including:
- Blood Pressure
- Panic Attacks
- Generalised and Social Anxiety Disorder
- Pain Management
- Relationship Problems
- Family Discord
- Anger Management
- Eating Disorders
- Adjustment Disorder
Knitting also helps individuals to:
- Alleviate tension, anxiety and stress
- Learn to relax
- Clarify thinking and reduce emotional turmoil
- Build self confidence and self-esteem
- Strengthen focus and improve concentration levels
- Ease transition and change
- Prepare for exams and interviews
- Foster assertiveness
- Set and achieve goals
Sessions are split into two distinct halves: beginning with knitting and gentle discussion, and closing with some action-orientated healing work. Former experience of the craft is unimportant, as those with no prior knowledge will be taught the basics when we first meet. But remember, it’s the process not the end product that we are interested in, so dropped stitches and irregular tension are all perfectly ok.
For those who can’t wait to see me to try their hand at knitting, I have included pictorial guidance of the basics below.
- Knitting encourages individuals to think creatively, to plan, prepare, organise, co-ordinate and control just one small aspect of their life which, in turn, makes other changes more manageable.
- Knitting is the ideal socially-acceptable self-soothing tool, which can be done anywhere, at any time
- Knitting induces a form of meditation which leads to a deep appreciation of the present and encourages feelings of relaxation and calm.
- Knitting can be done by people of all ages and skill sets and can help with a wide range of physical and mental conditions.
- Knitting therapy is a gentle, non-invasive process, especially effective with those who find it hard to trust or open up.
For more information, please contact me with your questions.
Additionally, if you would like to enquire about booking a session with me in private, please fill in the short form available from the booking enquiry page and email it along with your request. I will endeavour to reply to all enquiries in person at the first opportunity available.
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