Non-dominant hand writing therapy

Try this non-dominant hand writing therapy technique for a fresh perspective on your life and troubles, advises our writing columnist, author and coach Jackee Holder...


non-dominant hand writing therapy

When I need to find new ways of looking at something or I feel stuck, I try non-dominant hand writing therapy. I simply switch my pen to my left hand, write with my non-dominant writing hand and let new thoughts emerge.

Art therapist Lucia Capacchione’s longitudinal work confirms that writing with your non-dominant hand helps stress and anxiety. It is also a great way to access the voice of your inner child. You can even use the process to gain insight into relationship dynamics and can go as far as alleviating some physical pain.

Latent insight from your non-dominant hand

The practice of writing with the hand you don’t normally use is straightforward but don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Anita* arrived at a coaching session stressing about her partner and the impact of them both being forced to work from home in a small flat. I invited her to write this out as the question she wanted answers to using her dominant hand.

Switching her pen over to her non-dominant writing hand, I guided Anita to write a response to her question. I reminded her to keep going even if it felt awkward and slow, and to take her time and trust what might emerge. Seconds later, there were tears streaming down her face. The large, childlike writing that filled two pages of her notebook as her answer told a different story from the one her dominant writing hand was familiar with writing and asking.

non-dominant hand writing therapy

Your non-dominant hand and the right side of the brain

Capacchione believes that the non-dominant writing hand is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain. By writing with your non-dominant hand, you are accessing territory beyond your rational and linear thoughts. If you are right-handed, you are using your left hand to be in right mind, and vice versa if you are left-handed.

When you use both hands, you are boosting both hemispheres of the brain. More becomes available to you when you bring both hemispheres together through writing with both hands. The power of writing with the other hand is symbolic to working with a tuning fork on the page: a reminder that the mind that holds the problem also holds the solution.

Non-dominant hand writing therapy

Follow these simple steps to stimulate the right hemisphere of your brain and discover latent insights through non-dominant hand writing therapy…

  1. Think about a problem that is causing you trouble, then write it down as a question using your dominant hand.
  2. Next, switch the pen or pencil to your non-dominant writing hand for this part of the therapy.
  3. With your non-dominant hand at the ready, write down a response to your earlier question.
  4. This will probably feel slow and awkward. However, as you persevere, you’re likely to come up with new thoughts and ideas that can help you to solve your problem.
  5. Next, why not try writing with both your dominant hand and your non-dominant hand at the same time? This will access both the right and left brain hemispheres, helping you to see problems from all perspectives.

More inspiration: Photo journaling for mental health – benefits, ideas and tips