Create A Mandala In Art Therapy
The "Art Therapy Mandala" is basically just a circle. However, the circle is actually so powerful that it can bring the different personality parts of the creator to the art therapy mandala.
The art therapy mandala is a drawn symbol in a circle that is a powerful therapeutic tool. It can help art therapy clients process what is going on within themselves on a deeper level than traditional “talk therapy”.
Current research suggests that babies are born with the desire to look at circles. It is believed that this helps them bond with the face of the caregiver.
Human beings like to look at curved lines more than straight lines. Circles are the easiest shape for the brain to process as it looks the same up or down.
The art therapy mandala circle also is a representation of “wholeness” or “full circle”.
The art therapy mandala is a mirror of the self and can help bring our personality parts (parts of self or sub personalities) into the field of view or “awareness”.
Art therapy mandalas can help us see what is going on with the deepest parts of the “self” and bring these parts together into wholeness. These parts become acknowledged and begin to work in harmony together.
Creativity in counseling is a powerful tool to help clients see their inner center and inner self. Creativity helps us see our “inner operating systems and energies.”
When one uses creativity such as the art therapy mandala, they are able to go past the rational mind and look into the desires, fears, trauma, anxiety, dreams, and the many ego drives within.
How To Create Your Art Therapy Mandala:
1. Take a few moments to meditate and relax. Notice the images that appear in your mind. This is a form of visual imagery.
2. Take your art therapy mandala circle and using a chosen media (markers, paint, crayons, etc.) begin to doodle spontaneously. Let the image take on a life of it’s own. Fill in the entire circle.
3. Your art therapy mandala might be filled with the images you have seen in your meditation, or it can be filled with shapes and colors.
4. When you have finished the art therapy mandala you will have a holistic representation of what is going on within your “self”. It will show the "whole" picture, or part of the "whole" picture.
5. Translate your art therapy mandala with a detached curiosity and sense of wonder. Look at the mental patterns and energies in the forms within the art therapy mandala. Translate the feelings through the use of color.
Ask Yourself These Questions When Translating Your Art Therapy Mandala and Using Self-Confrontation:
Begin by breaking up the art therapy mandala into small pieces (mentally).
1. Do I see any patterns, or themes, within my art therapy mandala creation? Are there any hot spots, or ignored spots within my art therapy mandala?
2. Do I see anything in my art therapy mandala that might relate to a current or past problem? Do I see anything about the future inside my art therapy mandala?
3. Do I see any parts of myself in this art therapy mandala that need to be given attention?
4. Are any of my parts of self in this art therapy mandala competing for attention?
5. Do I see any negative influences or blocked energies in my art therapy mandala?
6. Is there any pain, unhealed wounds, or trauma located within my art therapy mandala?
7. Do I see any hopes and dreams in my art therapy mandala?
8. What colors have I put inside of my art therapy mandala? Translate your colors by deciding what the colors mean to you. Look at "Color Psychology" on this website.
9. Do I have any unique and different shapes or squiggly lines that stand out in this art therapy mandala? What do these mean to you?
10. Does the art therapy mandala tell a story? If so, what is the story about?
11. Look at the entire art therapy mandala and see if you can get a feel for the “big picture.”
*You may also want to translate your work with a Symbols Dictionary. I often use a short cut for translating my client's mandala. See the Dream Dictionary on-line for more information.
Please remember that it is up to the client to give the full translation. No book or website can every fully translate a client's unique art therapy mandala.
References: Susanne F. Fincher, and Micheal Brown
Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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