Art Therapy Group Session Three – July 2015 “What is important!…Mandala” by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!





Today was our third group art therapy session and consisted of a number of individual exercises.  Here within this weblog, I have included just the one!  For our first art for therapy exercise, we were asked to create a circular mandala that would be made up of a number of sections.


About Mandalas

Mandala means ‘circle’ in the Sanskrit language and is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe.  The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point.  It can be used as a psychological and educational approach to human development and offers a conceptual model for understanding how we can heal, develop, and transform consciousness (Mandala Symbolism).

Please find below here an amazing time-lapse YouTube about –

“the making of a Mandala by the Tibetan Monks who painstakingly spend five days to design and place tiny grains of sand to create a beautiful work of temporary art.  On day 6 they scoop up the sand and place it in a body of water, releasing the energy of the project back into the community” (The Crow Collection of Asian Art Jan 20, 2010)


EXERCISE 1 – “What is important!…Mandala” 

Each section of the mandala we were to make in this art therapy session was to represent something that was important to us as individuals on this particular day.  We were given a sheet of paper and a large bowl which was used to create the outer rim of the circle.  Materials supplied consisted of magazines that we could cut out selected images and paste onto the mandala, felt pens for easy drawing application, oil pastels, crayons and ink pens.



I decided to work with some images from the magazines, and with ink pens and felt pens for quick, easy application.  We had approximately 20 minutes to achieve but by the time we actually got started and completed the exercise, it was more like 40 minutes all up.  After completing the task each of us in turn explained what our mandala was all about.  Above is an image of my whole mandala and below – images of each section with an explanation of its meaning for me.



Mandala Section 1 – ‘Mother Nature’ Important to me!  My husband has create around our home a beautiful garden.  Now 15 years on in its development, we have large mature trees and brushes that attract the local native birds.  Be in winter, spring, summer or autumn – our garden offers a slice of nature just outside our back and front door – good for the soul!



Mandala Section 2 – ‘Coffee’ Important to me!  When my husband and I were at the peak of our grieving process from the loss of our son, we would take ourselves out and find a quiet place to have a cup of coffee.  It was a time where we found it hard to get out and mix with others. This coffee outing treat, helped us both feel that we were not alone, that we were still connected to the rest of the world.  At times we would just sit, sip our coffee, read the paper, or just quietly take in what was happening around us.  So having a cup of coffee out at a cafe’ was important to us and still is these years – it’s a small treat for us both.



Mandala Section 3 – ‘Art for Therapy’ Important to me!  The engagement of art for therapy in the way of abstract painting, creative writing and blogging is very important to me.  It helps me everyday maintain a good sense of wellbeing.



Mandala Section 4 – ‘Good Health’ Important to me!  During the period of time when I was my husband’s carer, as he recovered from chemotherapy, and during the period of time where my husband and I were deeply grieving for the loss of our son, my personal physical and mental health declined to a point where if was beginning to shorten my life span drastically.  My mental health has improved and my physical strength has returned. I am now eating better, walking each day and sleeping soundly.  Good health has become a top priority for me to ensure I can live a long and productive life.



Mandala Section 5 – ‘People in my life’ Important to me!  More than ever before, the people in my life are essential to my existence as a mother, wife, friend, colleague, art therapy group participant, creative writing group participant and as a volunteer worker. All these people who I come in contact with, week in and week out, help to ensure I have meaning and purpose in my everyday.



Mandala Section 6 – ‘Equilibrium’ Important to me!  Everyday I look for equilibrium in my life.  A balance between all of the other elements that may up my day.  When things look like they are getting out of balance, I take a deep breath and reassess and look for the things that tick the happy box!



We completed a couple more exercises and then packed up at the completion of the art therapy session.   We headed across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…


NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group Sessions 2015“, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session.  I hope you will understand.

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

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