Is it possible to stitch a broken psyche back together? Our brains all work a bit differently, and something as precious and fragile as the human mind may just require a little more TLC and creativity along the route back to healing. Allow me to introduce you to a super-healing superhero who used her favorite hobby to thread a new needle for healing trauma! 

Dominique Kaehler Schweizer, better known as her alias, Madame Tricot, is not only a qualified psychiatrist, but she is a talented knitting artist with an outstanding sense of humor! This combination is the golden ticket to her success in mending the mind, one stitch at a time.

Armed with a crocheted cape, two needles, and a ball of yarn, she’s knitting a new way to help her patients heal!

Image: Woven Hands Wearing Knit Gloves

Source: Pixabay

Creating a new way to mend the mind!

Psychological trauma is damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience.

What many people don’t realize is that when the memory of trauma is triggered, it causes a separation between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, making it difficult to function on a “normal” level.

Sadly, experiencing trauma is very common. The odds are likely that someone close to you is trying to cope, right now. According to a recent study, 60% of men, and 50% of women have experienced at least one trauma in their lives. While this statistic may be heartbreaking, it also serves as a motivating reminder to be empathetic and kind to one another! You just never know what your neighbor, teacher, or friends are going through behind their curtains. 1

So, is it possible to stitch the brain back together?

As someone who has experienced the therapeutic effect of knitting herself, Madame Tricot says that the rhythmic, bilateral, repetitive activity, associated with the complex cognitive process, is one of the best therapeutic tools to treat trauma. 2

‌The doctor says, “Today, the trend is to have standardized treatment, which does not care for the personality and particularity of the patient. I always check the needs of the patient, and then I adapt the therapy to the patient’s individual needs.” 3

‌The best way to understand her process is to hear it from the outstanding woman herself! Check out this fantastic video by the ever-wonderful Great Big Story!

‌Did that video inspire you? Great Big Story has a vast array of feel-good stories for you to get lost in right here on their YouTube channel! You can also follow Madame Tricot on Instagram to see more of her whimsical knit creations!

“I knit, therefore I am. I am, therefore I knit.”  — Madame Tricot

If knitting isn’t your bag or you aren’t necessarily trying to heal from trauma, it’s still a great idea to immerse yourself in an activity that brings you joy!

Research has shown that people with hobbies suffer less from stress and depression. It is vital to our mental health that we find activities that will get us out into the world, and make us feel happier and more relaxed. 5

Discovering the healing power of your favorite hobbies!

Just think of all of the untapped potential that lies within our treasured pastimes! If you want to get lost in a good yarn about some hobbies that are changing people’s lives, check out these articles!

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Whatever you decide to do in your spare time, whether it’s knitting a charcuterie board, or building a planetarium, make sure it brings you joy. Because that has a magnificent healing power all on its own!

Keep dreaming and notice the beauty around you!

~Renee

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Notes:

  1. “How Common Is PTSD in Adults? – PTSD: National Center for PTSD.” Www.Ptsd.va.Gov, www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp#:~:text=The%20following%20statistics%20are%20based. ‌
  2. “Knitting Art – Madame Tricot.” Madame Tricot, Oct. 2019, madametricot.ch/knittingart/#:~:text=Madame%20Tricot%20is%20also%20a,best%20ways%20to%20improve%20awareness. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
  3. “US Vogue Knitting Magazine Automn 2015 – Madame Tricot.” Madame Tricot, 3 Sept. 2015, madametricot.ch/us-vogue-knitting-magazine-automn-2015/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
  4. Great Big Story. “How a Psychiatrist Uses Knitting to Heal.” YouTube, 8 July 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTTJjD_q2Ik&feature=emb_title. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
  5. Relojo-Howell, Dennis. “Why Is Having a Hobby Beneficial for Your Mental Health.” Psychreg, 7 Apr. 2020, www.psychreg.org/hobby-mental-health/#:~:text=A%20hobby%20is%20the%20best. Accessed 8 Oct. 2020. ‌

Renee Laroche-Rheaume

Outreach Coordinator

Renee is a graduate of FIDM, and has held jobs in several industries such as apparel manufacturing, retail, professional office work, and even hospitality! Her creative outlook, wide variety of experiences, and desire to notice the beauty around us make her a great addition to the EWC team!