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February 20, 2018

Hands - A Counseling Thought

By Dr. Richard Boyum

It is important at times for an individual to understand their own behaviors and values. Likewise, it is important for a counselor to have similar insights when working with a client. There are a variety of ways to get at objectively what individuals really believe is important. Sometimes it is important to know what people look at. Sometimes it is important to know what people say. Sometimes it is important to know what people think. Sometimes it is important to know what people feel.

But I believe that if we really want to know what a person values and how they live their life, we need to ask them the question, "What have you done, what are you now doing, and what will you do with your hands?" What we experience with our hands really tells us more about our behaviors and values than any other singular aspect of human behavior. Hands can be helpful or hurtful. We often can talk about what we wish we were doing, but we need to examine if our hands are really moving us toward that experience.

Hands can be wrapped around bicycle handlebars or baseball bats or hold a bubble wand. Hands can rock a doll. In terms of self-care in the present, hands can brush, wash and dress us in the appropriate ways each day. Hands can type or write our assignments. Hands can turn the pages of a book. Hands can extend themselves in warmth or embrace in a hug. Unfortunately, hands can also take drugs or pour into us an alcoholic beverage. Hands by their actions, describe our locations, our avocations, or hobbies. Hands tell us how we value people and how we value ourselves. The history or herstory of our hands also tells how gender and community can make a difference in our lives. The history or herstory of our hands also demonstrate the changes we make as we evolve and grow as human beings. Take some time to think about how your hands have been used at various stages in your life. Examine in any given day what your hands do. And challenge yourself to think about what your hands might need to do in the future to help fulfill the destinies that we all have laid out in front of us. Hands indeed are a remarkable part of each of our stories. Take the time to see the implication of the power of your hands.