Using Goddess Dolls in Therapy by Linda Jones Hargreaves
4th September 2020
By Linda Jones Hargreaves
I started making my Goddess dolls in 2018 to honour the work I’d done in my own personal therapy. The doll I created is bright blue and is decorated with a huge sunflower and roses.
Throughout therapy I had worked with the metaphor of a sunflower to symbolise my growth. This had been a deep process for me and I’d just come to the end of 2 years of TA therapy where I had been able to reconnect with my creative self and also heal some wounds around female relationships and energy, so the Goddess doll symbol seemed to embody all of this beautifully.
I then went on to make them as gifts for friends, each one is individual and became a way to express my connection with each person I made the doll for.
My best friend had made a career change from counsellor to midwife, so I made her a doll to celebrate her graduation. The doll is green which is the colour of fertility and she has a red felt heart symbolising the womb and roses as ovaries.
Another meaningful creation was for my supervisor of many years, our time working together had come to an end and the doll was a symbol of what I had received from Barbara in our relationship. The doll is decorated with a tree and this signifies the learning and growth I experienced during our work together, Barbara helped me find my counselling roots and encouraged me to blossom.
I’ve now made some dolls to add to my therapy room so I can offer them to clients as a way to explore themselves and their experiences in a more creative way. I’ve made them colourful and used simple designs of flowers and symbols.
What’s lovely about creative work is that everyone will find different meaning in art, and objects can be used to help clients access and process hidden parts of themselves and their experiences, helping to facilitate the therapeutic process.
The dolls are very simple to make, I found a goddess doll symbol online and made a template from cardboard. I use craft felt to make the dolls and decorate them using embroidery thread. I did an embroidery workshop a few years ago and learnt some basic stitches, and then learnt a few more from YouTube tutorials. I really enjoy embroidery I find it so relaxing. I make a cup of tea put on my audiobook and get lost in my sewing for a few hours.
Here’s how to make your own doll.
- Using the cardboard template cut out 2 dolls from a piece of felt, choose one to be the front.
- On the front piece create your design, I use embroidery pens which are air erasable to do this. As they are air erasable, I don’t draw it out all in one go as bits may disappear while your sewing. I tend to draw one element, embroider that, and draw another element. Working this way also feels more organic as the design can evolve while I’m sewing.
- To create circles I use coins, 5p, 10p & 2p are great sizes to use and you’ll need a circle if you want to create the 3d roses or spirals.
- Once the design has been embroidered your doll is ready to put together. Use pins to pin the pieces of felt together and using regular cotton sew your doll around the edge using a basic running stitch. I choose to use the same colour of cotton, but you could colour clash for a different look. Leave a gap of around 3 cm for stuffing.
- Using soft toy stuffing, break the stuffing into the small pieces and start to fill out your doll, I use a pencil to gently push the stuffing into the arms, I don’t fill the arms to the top I just puff them out a bit at the bottom. Once your happy with the shape of your doll, sew up the gap and your goddess doll is complete.
You can be as creative as you like with your dolls, I love flowers so they always seem to make an appearance, but you could write words or symbols on your dolls. You can also cut out other shapes in felt and sew them on using regular cotton to make an applique effect. Happy sewing 🙂
Free Creative Counselling CPD Tribe
Join your free tribe to access networking opportunities, community events and regular emails sharing creative interventions, training and other community news!