"Making a mandala is a discipline for pulling all those scattered aspects of your life together, for finding a center and ordering yourself to it. You try to coordinate your circle with the universal circle." -Joseph Campbell
Mandala means “magic circle” in Sanskrit. It is a circular design that has been used since ancient times to invoke the spirit of healing. Mandalas have been used in Tibetan meditations, the rose windows of Gothic cathedrals, the Aztec calendar stone, and Navaho sand paintings. In the East, mandalas are used as a focusing device for meditation. Carl Jung used the mandala as an integrative and centering device in psychotherapy.
A mandala can be created as a self-symbol for a visual representation of one’s inner and outer world. The outer circle suggests wholeness, unity, and/or the expression of your outer life. The center of the Mandala represents your center or inner life, and/or your opening. Mandalas, or circular images, occur frequently in nature. The mandala appears in all aspects of life: earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community. It is a pattern found in nature and is seen in biology, geology, chemistry, physics and astronomy.
I use mandala making in therapy to help clients feel calm and centered, for self-expression and as a way to help people explore who they are in groups. The following photos are of mandalas made in a classroom showing how each person ‘saw’ themselves in the circle. They painted how much room they felt they took, how they felt their energy or self looked in the classroom and how they felt they fit in the whole. I have used this exercise as:
1. A device to explore group conflict
2. A visual representation for families in therapy
3. A device to work with bullying
4. A device to work with boundaries and shared space
5. A tool to explore aggressive, passive and assertive behavior.
Expressive Arts therapy sessions can be live or virtual. Online workshops will be available soon.
Live Session: $50/session
Why art therapy is so dear to me: As a child I suffered from frequent night terrors. They were so real to me that I would not fall asleep just so I would not have to experience them. As a child, I went to an art therapist for a short time and I was able to draw out my dreams and release them. In my later years, I was diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma and the devasting murder of my mother at age 8. Art therapy was suggested as a way to deal with the loss. In addition, I am suffering from my second concussion. As a result I can not sleep, I get daily migraines and I suffer from memory loss. I am in the process of being treated at Bryn Mawr Rehab and my Dr. suggested I paint as a healing technique. My goal is to help others in the same way art therapy has helped me. I am grateful for all the experiences in my life. It helped me realize that my life purpose is to help others through art. God gave me this amazing talent and I can't wait to share it with others in hopes of their own personal recovery.