What is Therapeutic Knitting?
When I say the words “therapeutic knitting” practically everyone looks at me with their eyes crossed. They often insist that it’s something that I made up. I promise, this is real, and it works! I admit, it’s a strange concept, but it works and it’s something I love to share with others. And- as strange as it sounds, there is a scientific explanation for why it works.
People of all kinds come to therapy, but they usually have one thing in common: they’re overwhelmed with emotion and are having trouble dealing with it. Going to see a therapist is great, but ideally, you want to learn the skills you need to cope. The goal is to teach you these skills in therapy. Having learned a new skill, the hope is that in the future you can go back and use the skills you’ve learned, rather than go back to a therapist every time something happens.
This is what therapeutic knitting does. It stimulates both sides of your brain, allows it to process the neurotransmitters that are sending these signals, calms you down, and gives you a skill that you can nonchalantly use on your own to control these emotions.
We know from studies that that repetitive motions have a calming effect. Therapeutic knitting does this as you are using your left and right brain by using both hands to create a project using a repetitive pattern and motion. It’s also really useful to decrease how intense the processing feels when we are discussing difficult events. While therapy is a wonderful tool, it requires another person and a scheduled time. Your emotions don’t run on a schedule and you don’t always have access to another person. By teaching you to knit, I give you a way to ground yourself and when needed, and distract from what is getting in your way of opening up. As we talk through your concerns, you are using both sides of your brain and body. It is amazing because the feelings process themselves and triggering decreases. As a bonus, you learn a new skill and create new things.
Benefits of therapeutic knitting:
- Decrease pain and pull your attention away from your pain
- Decrease depression and anxiety
- Learn to be more present in the moment and not thinking about the past or future
- Stop stressful thinking cycles
- Occupy the mind and hands
- Distract from unpleasant thoughts
- Provide a sense of achievement
- Teach skills like planning and goal setting
- Teach patience and perseverance as well as problem solving skills
- You become part of a community and increase social support
- Fully process troublesome emotions
- Learn to become more mindful
- Process these events in a less difficult, less intimate form than traditional talk therapy
- Learn a new, portable skill
- Process your memories in a safe environment with others who understand
Please feel free to email or call with any questions. This is an unusual but FUN way to learn to cope with life’s difficulties!