hand open upwards made from sensory dough

the hand and the heart

For my current therapy course, which will take me to Level 5 and complete qualification in 2023, I had a starter task: to use sensory dough to create a physical representation of myself as a vessel in my counselling work. No other explanation to go with the task, just that. Questions I chose to ask of myself included what would it look like, what shape, what is its capacity to hold ‘stuff’, what might it say about me as a therapist in training?

I chose the first vessel we ever used as a species, not a cup or vase, but the hand. The hand is open in invitation – to shake on it, to reach agreement, to touch with care. It works as a real, physical aid to communication and as a metaphor for reaching out, holding confidences.

There is a heart in the hand. The heart is always there, directing empathy and presenting honestly and authentically. By revealing the heart, we show our vulnerability, bravery and leadership to inspire others to open up. What it says about my approach as a therapist is that I am willing to to be candid, honest, and open – because a therapist cannot assume trust will be given by clients, but must go some distance to earn it and forge psychological contact with them.

I found the exercise interesting and revealing. It was fun and satisfying to work with the dough. It had a nice colour and smell. It got warmer as I worked with it.

The hand isn’t perfect. It has its flaws. We all do. But imperfections, if we even want to call them that, are what make us unique along with our life experiences.

The hand together with the heart can hold a great deal. I am committed to pursuing my studies to become a helper to people and that takes a commitment from the heart. It isn’t going to be easy, the next two years, but I am up for the challenges. They aren’t solely to do with my studies but also surviving financially while I complete them.

How you can help

You’ll see a ko-fi link badge on the site, on all the pages, in the sidebar. If you are able to help at all, now or in the future, with a donation to support me in achieving my goals, thank you. I have already had some measure of support via ko-fi from friends and from strangers too. It’s empowering and motivating when people seek to help me in this way.

I have a lot of outgoings to cover over the next two years. There’s the monthly cost of my course, the hours of personal therapy I need to pay for as part of my course requirements, the cost of supervision and my student membership of the professional counselling body, the BACP, to find. It is not a cheap or easy path but I can do this. I know I can.

There are other ways to support me as well, through commissioning my paintings and buying my books if they are of use to you. Most of all, though, while it doesn’t pay the bills, it serves me a great deal to know I have emotional support from people. We are more than we are alone when we look after each other.

Thanks for reading, as always.

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andrew hinkinson
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