What Is Dual Handed Journaling?


I have kept a journal of one sort of another since junior high.  My first attempts at sharing my awkward tween feelings consisted mainly of poorly crafted poems, pining about boys and confusion around ever rotating friendships.  My college journals were much more esoteric and messy, filled with song lyrics, random musings and art school sketches but my written thoughts rambled just as aimlessly as when I was twelve.  I was writing my angst out but there were no solutions.

At its best, journaling has the capacity to help us get in touch with our creativity and gain clarity on our beliefs and behaviors. But it also has a major barrier built into it.  Since the language and communication centers rest in the left brain, conventional journaling remains mostly a left brained process, because the hand you write with is expressing language. Of course, I didn't know any of this until, after years of fruitless journal keeping, my journey led me to dual handed journaling.

I was in my early thirties and I was tired of piecing together enough creative jobs to make ends meet.  Just barely.  I had a fun life but it didn't have much meaning beyond my desire to have the freedom to explore my creativity.  I wanted to use my creativity to help people find their own creativity, to really know themselves.  My search for a way to express this new vision led me to the Creative Journal Expressive Arts method, developed by Dr. Lucia Capacchione, and I promptly applied to participate in the year long training program, even though I had absolutely no idea how I was going to pay for it.

During the training, Dr. Capacchione introduced me to the process of 'dual handed journaling', that is journaling with BOTH the dominant and non-dominant hands.  The popular brain/body theory is that the left hand is connected to right brain and right hand connected to left brain.  But Dr. Capacchione believes that the dominant hand is hardwired to the left brain (where the language and fine motor skills centers reside) and the non-dominant hand, by default, is connected to the right brain (which is the seat of creativity and intuition).  Dual handed (or bi-lateral) journaling is a valuable method for fostering whole-brain thinking, which is invaluable for emotional healing, problem solving and goal development.

I have now been an avid dual handed journaler for ten years and my life has COMPLETELY changed as a direct result of applying the tools I've learned.  I facilitated this method actively with workshops and coaching for about five years but realized that I had much more inner journeying to do and my heart's desire was leading me in other directions. The depths I have explored in my journals over these last five years is now bringing me back around with insights I am so excited to share.

I will be posting dual handed exercises from time to time and plan on having a short section at the beginning of every journal I create that has some helpful dual handed journaling prompts. In the mean time, try a creative warm up activity designed to get both sides of the brain working together and allow your non-dominant hand to get accustomed to participating in the creative process.

Here is a little experiment. 

Write down the following question and answer it with your dominant hand:  What is
 my heart's desire?  Now, write the question again - with your dominant hand - and answer it with your non-dominant hand.  Then read over both answers and see how they are different.  I would love to hear about the surprises that you experienced with this little exercise in the comments!


Links to two of Dr. Lucia Capacchione's many books:

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