I teach crochet. What’s so remarkable about that? I am a psychoanalyst, attorney and mediator in private practice in New York City. I specialize in treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma and family conflicts. In addition to helping clients through talk therapy, EMDR and conflict resolution, I also encourage and teach clients to crochet to augment their treatment.
Yes, crochet. Why? The rhythmic, bilateral, repetitive motion of crochet (and knitting) helps to ease anxiety, break negative thought patterns, disrupt ruminating thoughts, self-regulate intense emotions, and restore creativity and joy. Crochet is a simple, quiet, colorful and portable activity. For some, crochet can also open the door to an inviting community of creative craftspeople, easing isolation and loneliness. It is also an ideal antidote to our increasing reliance on phones and electronics for entertainment and distraction.
How does this work? We have all heard about the many benefits of meditation – it has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve concentration, and boost the immune system. It slows the aging process, increases self-awareness and self-acceptance, and can even ease chronic pain.
But many of us can’t access these wonderful benefits because sitting still with our eyes closed for twenty minutes is just not in our wheelhouse.
Here’s some great news: Crochet and knitting are excellent forms of “active meditation.” These rhythmic activities, performed with mindfulness and intention, bring about the meditative state. In a state of “flow” or evenly sustained attention, we can access the same benefits as traditional sitting meditation. And through our senses we can enjoy the tactile sensation of yarn, the colors and patterns of our work, and the creativity and satisfaction of making something with our own hands.
Lion Brand Yarn’s brand ambassador, Shira Blumenthal, recently interviewed me about this practice. Check out our “Tea with Shira” video (below.)
Is there a class? Yes! If you would like to learn to crochet meditatively in a safe, fun and supportive environment, please join me for “Meditative Crochet” at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio beginning Tuesday evening, July 25. The course consists of four weekly classes of two hours each. Designed for people who do not know how to crochet (or early beginners), we will take our time learning how to crochet, while cultivating our awareness of what we are doing. Our focus will be on the process, not the outcome. It’s an opportunity to work with a therapeutic professional and integrate meditation practices into your craft. We will sample four different “styles” of active meditation: mindfulness, breathing, mantra and lovingkindness. We will also spend some time on how to select yarns, tools and projects for going forward with your new craft. Later this year, we’ll offer a class for those who already know how to crochet or knit.
I welcome your thoughts and comments below, or you can contact me privately through my Psychology Today page.