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Why is knitting good for mental health?

This article has been adapted from episode 117 of The Aspiring psychologist Podcast. If you prefer you can listen here or watch here. 


Introduction: Unravelling the Therapeutic Potential of Knitting

In the dynamic landscape of psychology, where discussions often revolve around intricate theories and therapeutic techniques, one unexpected tool has quietly emerged as a catalyst for mental wellbeing: knitting. Dr. Mia Hobbs, a seasoned clinical psychologist and passionate advocate for therapeutic knitting, recently sat down with Dr. Marianne Trent on a thought-provoking podcast episode to delve into the profound therapeutic benefits of this age-old craft.


Dr. Hobbs's Journey: From Psychology to Knitting

Dr. Hobbs's journey into the realms of psychology and knitting began with a shared desire to bring comfort and healing to others. Having qualified as a psychologist in 2008, she devoted her early career to working with children and young people within the NHS. However, the demanding nature of the job prompted Dr. Hobbs to seek a more flexible and balanced approach to her professional life, leading her to transition into private practice.


It was during this period of self-reflection and exploration that Dr. Hobbs discovered the transformative power of knitting. What initially started as a leisurely pastime soon blossomed into a cornerstone of her self-care routine, offering solace and mindfulness amidst life's tumultuous waves. As she delved deeper into the world of knitting, Dr. Hobbs began to uncover its therapeutic potential, both for herself and her clients.


Knitting as a Therapeutic Tool: Weaving Mindfulness and Creativity

Knitting, as Dr. Hobbs passionately elucidates, transcends its mere utility as a craft; it serves as a gateway to mindfulness and creative expression. The rhythmic interplay of needles and yarn, coupled with the tactile sensation of the fibers, fosters a profound sense of calm and focus akin to meditation. This mindful engagement not only alleviates stress and anxiety but also cultivates a deeper connection with oneself and the present moment.


Within the therapeutic context, Dr. Hobbs seamlessly integrates knitting as a powerful tool for emotional expression and exploration. Whether through knitting blankets as symbols of comfort and security or unraveling intricate patterns as metaphors for life's complexities, clients find empowerment and catharsis in the act of creation. Knitting, thus, becomes a medium through which individuals can navigate their emotions, cultivate resilience, and embark on journeys of self-discovery.


The Societal Significance of Knitting: Nostalgia, Tradition, and Sentiment

Beyond its individual therapeutic benefits, knitting holds a profound cultural significance as a cherished generational tradition passed down through families. Dr. Hobbs reminisces about cherished hand-knitted items imbued with sentimental value, highlighting the enduring legacy of this age-old craft. Knitting, she asserts, not only fosters intergenerational bonds but also serves as a tangible link to cherished memories and shared experiences.


Challenges and Opportunities in Therapeutic Knitting Research

Despite the growing recognition of knitting's therapeutic potential, Dr. Hobbs acknowledges the challenges inherent in conducting research on this unconventional intervention. Funding bodies often hesitate to invest in studies on seemingly non-traditional therapeutic modalities, posing a significant barrier to advancing the evidence base for therapeutic knitting. Nonetheless, Dr. Hobbs remains steadfast in her commitment to advocating for the benefits of knitting in promoting mental wellbeing.


Inspiring Action: Embracing the Therapeutic Knitting Movement

As the podcast episode draws to a close, Dr. Trent expresses her own newfound interest in learning to knit, inspired by Dr. Hobbs's passion and expertise. With the support of a local craft group and online resources, Dr. Trent embarks on her knitting journey, eager to explore its therapeutic potential firsthand. Their conversation underscores the profound impact of knitting on mental health and wellbeing, highlighting its capacity to foster resilience, connection, and self-expression.


Conclusion: Knitting the Fabric of Wellbeing

In conclusion, the dialogue between Dr. Hobbs and Dr. Trent illuminates the multifaceted therapeutic benefits of knitting, transcending its traditional association as a mere hobby or craft. As the therapeutic knitting movement continues to gain momentum, its potential to enrich lives, foster resilience, and promote mental wellbeing cannot be overstated. Knitting, in all its simplicity and elegance, emerges as a powerful tool for healing, self-discovery, and connection in an increasingly complex world.


Dr Mia Hobbs is on Instagram here and you can listen to her podcast series 'Why I Knit' here.


To learn more about different routes to professional psychologist qualifications check out the aspiring psychologist collective and clinical psychologist collective books.
To never miss an episode of the aspiring psychologist podcast or a free compassionate Q&A sign up to Dr Marianne Trent's free mailing list here.

 

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