This daily e-course will support you to express and process your emotions through in-depth art and writing prompts. This e-course has an optional private online peer support group, and comprehensively offers 100 days of art and writing directives to support you to move through deep pockets of emotional pain in a safely paced, wise and creative way.

 

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Art Journal Therapy Activity #1 - Write Your Emotional Pain a Letter

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal directive offers a safe way to honor your "immature" emotions. By paying attention to the emotions that we are ashamed of and afraid of  - we "grow ourselves up" into emotional maturity.

 

Materials:

 

- Art journal and pen

 

- Magazines, scissors and a glue stick

 

Method:

 

Growing up Your Emotions

 

“Don't be scared of scars. They just tell stories that are hard to hear.”

 

~ Ashly Lorenzana

 

Voicing our raw, immature emotions can be destructive if we act them out in front of other people, and so they need to be expressed in a safe place, such as within a private journal writing process. Our negative emotions are always younger than our current age, formed at a time when we did not rationally understand the truth of life. 

 

It is common to try to force ourselves to feel and act more mature than we actually are. Because most of us are scared of the wild irrationality of our emotional life, we do not not ever let our emotions "grow up." Emotional growing pains are just as necessary as physical or mental growing pains. We experience emotional growing pains when we honestly admit to our immature emotions...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #2 - Define Your Core Values

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journaling directive will help you consciously choose and define your top 10 core values and offers a list of nearly 400 values to choose from. This journal exercise will also help you discover your hidden, subconscious values. 

 

 

Materials

 

- Art journal 

 

- Magazines

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue stick

 

 

 

Method

 

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 

Your thoughts become your words, 

Your words become your actions, 

Your actions become your habits, 

Your habits become your values, 

Your values become your destiny.”

 

~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Defining our values helps us to organize our mind around our higher purposes and will help us make the best decisions in our life. If we do not define our highest core values we will stay stuck living from our habitual self-defeating thinking and our negative emotional patterns. 

 

Once you define your highest core values, you can begin to make all of your life decisions in alignment with what is most important to you. As you know what you stand for in every situation, your guiding principles will align and shape your higher vision for your life...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 3 - Collage Your Appreciation

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal directive will support you to lift up" your life energy into a better feeling appreciative state when you are struggling with heavier emotions.

 

Materials:

 

- 1 magazine - and only one - chosen randomly from a pile

 

-  Art journal

 

-  Scissors and glue stick

 

 

 

Method:

 

Seeing Through Higher Eyes

 

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” 

 

~ Marcus Aurelius

 

To see through "higher eyes" takes persistence and dedication. We do not even have to create elaborate changes when we intensely appreciate our life as it is now. So much of our life creation unfolds from simply making each now moment rich with attention and appreciation for what is currently happening.

 

Life lays itself out at our feet, waiting to be noticed and appreciated. Even negative circumstances can be appreciated for inciting need growth, change and movement. Embracing the present moment intensely through appreciation is a healing process that does not involve having to change your outer life...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 4 - Draw and Collage Your Inner Critic

Collaged Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Collaged Drawing by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal exercise will support you to examine how your inner ways of hurting yourself correlates with the unreasonable fear of outer criticism.

 

Materials:

 

- Art journal

 

- Felt markers and pencil crayons

 

- Magazines to cut up, glue stick, scissors

 

Method:

 

The Fear of "Not Good Enough"

 

We criticize ourselves in ways that we fear others will criticize us, and most often we are defending ourselves unnecessarily.

 

When we limit our thinking to repetitive self-critical thoughts, our thinking will stay immature and fearful, we leave no room for the growth of love, creativity, and inspiration. And, while we may need to defend ourselves from harsh outer criticism once in a while, when we keep ourselves in a vigilant self-critical state, we harm ourselves with unnecessary stress. When we learn how to soften our defense system, and stop protecting when there is no need to do so, we can relax and heal our inner critic...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 5 - Growing Through Problems

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal directive will support you to find your next positive growth steps by sensing into your body for fresh information. 

 

Materials:

 

- A small journal

 

- A ballpoint pen

 

Method:

 

"Most traditional methods of working on oneself are mostly pain-centered. People get to repeat over and over their painful emotions without knowing how to use the body's own inherently positive direction and force."  - Eugene Gendlin

 

Understanding Your Problems

 

If you have trouble identifying the more subtle cues and signs of your uncomfortable problem states, I share psychologist Eugene Gendlin's focusing process below to support you address the "stuck feelings" in your body. This process will help you to sense into the growth step that is trying to emerge from within your current problem... 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #6 - Meditation for Increasing Self-Love

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This daily journal exercise will support you to love the pain, loneliness, abandonment that you feel in your heart by daily nurturing your own feelings of inner fulfillmentThis prompt includes 15 "Good Mother Messages."

 

Materials:

 

- Journal

 

-  Pen

 

Method:

 

When we do not have the feeling tone of self-love within, we endlessly look outside of ourselves for love. Since no human mother can be perfectly unconditionally loving, it is our own responsibility to embed feelings of warmth, nurture, safety and love into our body on a regular basis in order to heal from past fears and emotional traumas...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #7 - Collage Your Emotional Set-Point

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

  

This art journal directive invites you to reflect upon your current emotional set-point, and using the principles of positive psychology, expand your feelings of well-being.

 

Materials:

 

- Colored papers

 

- Magazine clippings

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue Stick

 

Method:

 

Our emotional set-point is the habitual background feeling that we carry all through our lives, often without really recognizing that it is there. We all have varying degrees of happiness and self-love that are our "normal."  Until we become aware of it, our "normal" is usually similar to the emotional climate that we grew up in. 

 

Take five minutes to close your eyes and go within. Our "normal" is often a hum of anxiety that covers up predominant feelings of fear, anger, or sadness. Feel into the emotional state that is your unquestioned "normal."  What is the ever-present emotional hum that runs under your days? 

 

Creating Your Collage...


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 8 - Dialogue Balloon Collage

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This journal exercise will support you to explore your inner cast of characters in a form of visual dialogue.This directive describes 19 different aspects of self that most of us carry inside.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Pictures of people from magazines

 

- Paper for dialogue balloons

 

- Glue stick and scissors

 

- Markers

 

Method:

 

When an submerged energy pattern arises to be integrated it will conflict with our "primary" social self, and it will often show up in our dreams and spontaneous artwork. Witnessing the energy patterns within ourselves without judging them is a key to inner peace and reconciliation...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 9 - Heal Your Blocks to Success

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This journal directive invites you to explore the hidden parts of your mind to discover your limiting beliefs about achieving success. This exercise will also offer a six step art journal process for releasing negative beliefs.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal

 

-  Pen

 

- Markers and pencil crayons for drawing

 

Method:

 

To be successful in any area such as work, relationships, abundance, we need to want our goal with all of our heart, free of inner conflict and contrary beliefs. If you are not successful in some area of your life, be it in your love relationships, your creativity, your career, or your family connections, this journal directive will explore why you do not want your success with all of your heart.

 

When you feel like you are on a treadmill that is getting no results, you can explore your inner conflicts and hidden beliefs to see what is holding you back from happiness, love, and abundance. This journal exercise is designed to give all parts of your mind and heart a voice....


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 10 - Gestural Pastel

Gestural Pastel by Shelley Klammer
Gestural Pastel by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal directive will support you to explore non-objective spontaneous mark making as a path to insight.

 

Materials:

 

- Paper or journal page

 

- Oil pastels

 

 Mark Making for Insight

 

Drawing non-objectively can express inner energy and emotions in vivid and surprising ways. Accessing inner wisdom through spontaneous mark making can invite deeper feelings and insights to arise that we do not normally allow through our habitual thought system. 

 

 

 

"It wasn't long before I fell in love with the improvisation process, spontaneous expression, and the strange and graceful phenomena when the mind surprises itself."

 

~ Ruth Zapora

 

6 Step Method for Gestural Drawing...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #11 - Found Poetry Collage

Found Poetry Collage by Shelley Klammer
Found Poetry Collage by Shelley Klammer

This art journal directive will support you to explore your creative imagination by seeing and playing with imagery and words in fresh ways.

 

Materials:

 

- Vintage thrift store books and discarded library books

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue Stick

 

Method:

 

Choosing Your Imagery

 

Unusual imagery can spark poetic collages. Imagery and words from books are often much richer than what can be found in magazines.

 

Buying image rich books for collage making is worth the small investment. I often buy old art and nature books from libraries and thrift shops. I also search new book stores for bargain picture books to cut up.

 

Five Steps to Choosing Your Poetry and Imagery

 

1. Put together a quick spontaneous collage using imagery that intrigues you. Explore free form juxtapositions that make no logical sense to spark your poetry....

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 12 - Collage Who You Admire

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This journal directive invites you to explore the qualities that you admire and idealize in other people, in order to consider how you could incorporate similar higher possibilities into your daily life.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Magazines/old books/internet access/printer

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue stick

 

- Art journal

 

Method:

 

Negative and Positive Projection

 

“You will be a beautiful person, as long as you see the beauty in others.” 

~ Bryant McGill

 

We personalize our perceptions based on our past experiences. In order to survive in our ego world, and to avoid feeling our emotional pain, our nervous system generalizes our positive and negative beliefs. 

 

We all have unclaimed positive qualities hidden within that are longing to emerge into our lives, and they are often revealed through our positive projections onto other people. It is interesting to find an image of someone you admire and deeply contemplate why...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 13 - Word Collage

Word Collage by Shelley Klammer
Word Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This exercise will help you find visual clues about emotions that are below your normal awareness. This prompt offers three journal explorations for understanding your word collage.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Pastels or watercolor paint

 

- Scissors and glue stick

 

- Old magazines and books

 

 

  

Not Knowing Why

 

Our minds will always reveal the next layer of our unconscious mind that is wanting  to be seen, acknowledged, accepted and healed. Spontaneous word collages often reflect the opposite of what we are consciously thinking and feeling. When you might choose positive words, for example, when you are struggling in your daily life. When you feel positive in your daily life your word collage may seem negative, indicating the next layer of repressed emotionality that needs to clear....

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 14 - Expressive Still Life Drawing

Expressive Pastel by Shelley Klammer
Expressive Pastel by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal directive will support you to draw quickly and instinctively, so that your drawings become more alive, dynamic and expressive. This exercise supports the practice of seeing the essence inside of form.

 

Materials: 

 

- Timer

 

- Still life - your choice of fruit, vegetables and/or flowers

 

- Oil pastels

 

- Art journal page

 

Method:

 

Each thing is unique - animal, vegetable, or mineral. Each thing is precious, irreplaceable, fragile, mortal. Each thing has a personality - try to find what that distinction is and express it. Not its outward appearance - but its internal meaning."   ~ Nancy Doyle

 

When I was a gallery artist in my twenties it took me at least a month to complete one painting. In my early years I was extremely self-conscious as an artist. I fretted about perfection. Each art piece was rationally thought out, patiently designed, and painstakingly composed.

 

When I was in my 30's, I started facilitating expressive art groups for seniors and I was able to work with a passionate artist, who long after her death, still inspires me today.  In her early 90's, she had dementia, and had long forgotten that she was an accomplished artist and sculptor.

 

Yet, when I gave my client a box of fresh pastels and an inspiring still life to look at, she would begin to draw quickly and passionately with her whole body arching over the paper. I was in inspired by how she seemed to quickly "digest" the essential nature of her subject matter and move it through her hands onto the paper...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 15 - Collage a Mandala

 This art journal activity offers a contemplative way to consider what would support you to feel more whole.

 

Materials:

 

- Circle template made from card stock

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue stick

 

- Magazines and books to cut up

 

“ The mandala signifies the wholeness of the Self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground."

 

~ Carl Jung


Four Step Method for Creating a Collage Mandala:

 

1. Use a circular object to trace a circle onto your card stock, and cut out your circle. 

 

2. Because mandalas are a contemplation on wholeness, ask yourself a question  or set an intention before you make your collaged mandala. A good question to ask before beginning is, "What do I most need in order to feel whole?" 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #16 - Intuitive Doodling

Intuitive Doodle by Shelley Klammer
Intuitive Doodle by Shelley Klammer

This art journal exercise will support you find your unique drawing style in order to allow a release of emotional "pressure" from within.

 

Materials:

 

- Ballpoint pen

 

- Felt Pens

 

- Journal Page

 

Method:

 

 I learned how to draw from being bored in school. I would doodle on the margins of my paper.

 

~ Kevin Nealon

 

Intuitive drawing offers a way to make the unconscious - conscious. Many of us doodle randomly and aimlessly when we are bored, when on the telephone, in school, or in a meeting - and yet the act of doodling can be done as an intentional self-expression practice everyday. Intuitive doodling only asks only for a simple ballpoint pen and some colored markers. Doodle when you want to visually strengthen your intuitive connection to yourself....

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 17 - Expressive Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait by Shelley Klammer
Self-Portrait by Shelley Klammer

This art journal directive will support you to visually understand how you see yourself on the inside, and offers five steps to creating an inner self-portrait.

 

Materials:

 

- Acrylic paint

 

- Collage papers and magazine clippings

 

- White glue and sponge brush

 

- Journal page

 

Method:

 

It is interesting to create an expressive self-portrait that focuses more on your inner state than your outer appearance. This expressive art journal therapy exercise is helpful when you feel like one stage of your life is ending, and you do not yet know where you are going. You might reflect on the question. "Who am I right now?" Or you might ask, "Who am I becoming?"

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 18 - Intuitive Watercolor Painting

Intuitive Watercolor by Shelley Klammer
Intuitive Watercolor by Shelley Klammer

 

This intuitive painting exercise will support you to see your emotional patterns in visual form so that you can more easily identify how you feel. 

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor paints, brushes

 

- Watercolour paper or journal page

 

Method:

 

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations...I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.” 

 

~ Albert Einstein

 

The medium of watercolor is spontaneous by nature, and is well suited for the intuitive painting process. Watercolour behaves in a fresh and translucent way that is more "committed to the moment" than other paint mediums that can be changed or painted over and over again....

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 19 - Collage Your Stillness

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

 

This art journal exercise will support you to self-regulate your emotions by calming your mind and body.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Magazines

 

- Scissors and glue stick

 

- Journal Page 

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

“All artists, whether they know it or not create from a place of inner stillness, a place of no mind.” 

~ Eckhart Tolle

 

It is challenging to be still, and yet a quiet mind and body is essential to emotional freedom. A quiet mind reprograms our biology for calm. When we are calm our body stimulates endorphins (natural painkillers), serotonin ( a natural antidepressant), and dopamine ( a hormone that helps us feel good).
  

Expressive Art Activity #20 - Fabric Assemblage

Fabric Assemblage by Shelley Klammer
Fabric Assemblage by Shelley Klammer

 

Meditational sewing invites you to attend to small, detailed, spontaneous tasks to "narrow your focus" for inner calm.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Fabric scraps

 

- Ribbon, cord, wire and string

 

- Small ephemera such as feathers, buttons, beads and small objects

 

- Pinking shears, scissors

 

- White glue

 

- Needle and thread

 

 

 

Method:

 

Creating a Fabric Assemblage for Relaxation

 

In our frenzied modern life, it is rare that we take the time to spend a few quiet hours to sew, and play with color, pattern and texture with no pre-designed end-product in mind. Focusing on a simple, spontaneous fabric assemblage can invite relaxed mental awareness, and the emotional comfort of working with soft, tactile materials...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 21 - Paint a Tree Spontaneously

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This art journal directive offers a familiar starting point to support you to begin the spontaneous painting process.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor paper or journal page

 

- Watercolor, acrylic or tempura paint

 

- Brushes, water

 

Method:

 

A Starting Motif

 

"I want to own a motif so that it flows from my hands effortlessly. That way, it's still spontaneous; I just know where I'm going."

 

~ Peter Fiore

 

Painting spontaneously without external references or preconceived notions about how your painting will turn out can be a challenge at first. When I first started facilitating spontaneous painting classes, I was surprised to find that most people found it difficult to access their intuitive imagery....

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #22 - Warm Up: Paint Spontaneous Circles

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This art journal exercise will support you to loosen up before a spontaneous painting session.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor paint, brushes

 

- Watercolor paper, or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Creativity Overrides Conformity

 

Most of us were conditioned out of our creativity early when we were taught that if we could not make "good art" as children we should not bother at all. Expressive Art therapist Natalie Rogers shares how creativity overrides the conformity of what we were taught:

 

"The creative process involves intuition, mystery, delving into the unknown, messing around with ideas, shapes, and colors; being willing to play and experiment. And part of the process is to allow feelings to be expressed through all media: the written word, speech, color, line, form, drama, music. Through this whole process, we find our individuality, self-esteem, and ability to act consciously."

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 23 - Resolving Fear Through Collage

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This collage reflection exercise supports you to look at the beliefs that underpin your fears, and to change your withdrawal patterns into confidence.

 

Materials:

 

- Old magazines and picture books

 

- Glue stick and scissors

 

- Card stock or journal page

 

 

Method: 

  

The Gift of Fear

 

Psychologist Chuck Spezzano says, "Fear comes about from resisting our own energy. It is an attempt to block the energy that wants to fountain up inside of us and make life thrilling." 

 

Whenever you feel fear notice where you are holding back your energy from fully expressing itself right now. Fear reflects a dread of the future based on what you have not learned from or let go of from the past. When you feel fear you may be scared of a change that you need to make in your life...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 24 - Spontaneous Painting

Spontaneous Painting by Shelley Klammer
Spontaneous Painting by Shelley Klammer

This art activity encourages you to find your innate painting style and includes 19 intuitive painting tips.

 

Materials: 

 

- Acrylic or tempura paint, brushes 

 

- Heavy paper, stretched canvas, or a journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Spontaneous painting  is not a technique that you learn with your mind so that the result will be "art" but more of a joyful process of exploration of your inner world through intuitive art making.

 

Spontaneous painting requires no special talent, skill or inspiration.  Because your natural, original style is already within, you are already good enough to begin painting at any point in your life.

 

Talent Arises Out of Self-Love and Acceptance

 

Our creativity is available at all times and needs only an invitation to reawaken. "Talent" as an artist comes from taking risks and allowing everything to emerge from under the brush. A willingness to be completely honest is the key to spontaneous painting.


Art journal Therapy Activity # 25 - Paint Abstract Shapes

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

 

This journal exercise invites you to explore the emotionality behind abstract shapes.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor or acrylic paint

 

- Watercolor paper or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Ten Quick Abstract Paintings

 

Sometimes less is more. Simple abstract shapes can express the purity of a singular feeling that might get lost in a more detailed painting.

 

If you are used to adding a great deal of detail into your paintings you might like to experiment with painting ten fast, simple abstract paintings. When you are finished, place your ten abstract paintings down on the floor side-by-side to contemplate your progression of emotional expression.

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 26 - Collage Together Past Paintings and Drawings

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal activity invites you to collage together fragments of past paintings and drawings to support the integration of who you are today.

 

 

 

Materials:

 

- Several old paintings and drawings that you are not quite happy with.

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue Stick

 

~ Art journal

 

 

 


 

Method:

 

"I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could."

 

~ Georgia O'Keeffe

 


Gathering Together What Feels Meaningful From the Past

 

Usually when we express an inner truth through art-making we get a sense of inner "rightness." When a painting or drawing feels right, there is a feeling of completeness, as if something has become clear and honest inside....

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 27 - Fine Art Collage

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal exercise invites you to explore fine art imagery to deepen your emotional experience of collage.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Fine art magazines

 

- Scissors

 

- Glue

 

- Card stock or journal page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

"All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name."

 

~ Andre Breton

 

Surrealist Collage

 

Surrealism - the juxtaposition of unlikely symbols to convey unknown feelings can capture the unknown edges of what we do not know about ourselves akin to a waking dream. Fine art magazines provide emotionally stimulating imagery for surrealist collages...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 28 - Draw Your Spiritual Essence

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This expressive art journal activity invites you to meditate into and draw how your soul needs to develop.

 

Materials:
 

- Ballpoint pen or waterproof fine marker

 

- Watercolor paint

 

- Art journal

 

 Method:

 

What Does your Unique Spiritual Strength Feel Like?

 

“Bring your Essence Self into your present expression. Aliveness is derived from essence."  

 

~  Ariel Spilsbury & Michael Bryner

 

It is easy to forget who we are in our spiritual essence, and to be out of touch with who we came to develop in our lifetime. We are born into a world where people live primarily from their limited egos, and only develop the aspects of self needed to survive practically. For this reason, many of us shut down our spiritual essence early, in order to fit into our family of origin, and to belong to the society and culture that we live in...  

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 29 - Meditate on Color

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This art journal exercise invites you to explore a spontaneous, emotional response to color, and it offers 11 steps to developing a personal relationship with color.

 

Materials:

 

- Pencil

 

- Watercolor paint

 

- Watercolor paper or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Exploring Spontaneous Color Choices

 

"Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions."

 

~ Pablo Picasso

 

Emotionally sensing what colors you are drawn to is the first step towards creating a spontaneous painting. Intuitively choosing colors is an emotional releasing exercise in itself. This simple structured exercise supports you to explore which colors emotionally call to you, and encourages the process of intuitive color choice-making...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 30 - Collage Cards for Self-Discovery

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This expressive art exercise invites you to create visual representations of different parts of yourself so that you can better understand your inner landscape. 

 

Materials:

 

- Old magazines and books

 

- Scissors and glue stick

 

- Matte board/cardboard cut to size for your cards such as 5x7 inches or 6x6 inches if you prefer working in a square format

 

- Photocopies of your collage cards so that you can write and reflect upon them in your art journal.

 

Method:

 

Mapping Out Your Inner World

 

We each have a treasure trove of sub-personalities that live below our conscious awareness. Each personality part has its own goals and dreams for our happiness. This often sets up inner conflicts within. We can preoccupy much of our life with inner struggles between opposing parts of self, not really understanding why we want something and then sabotage having it...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #31 - Spontaneous Watercolor Drops

Watercolor by Shelley Klammer
Watercolor by Shelley Klammer

 

This simple art exercise will support you to let go of control in your painting process. This painting warm-up exercise is a good way invite a feeling of flow to open up creative blocks.

 

 

Materials:

 

Watercolor paper, or art journal page

 

Watercolor paint and brushes

 

Water spray bottle or an eye dropper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

"Because watercolor actually moves on the paper, it is the most active of all mediums, almost a performance art." 

 

 ~ Nita Engle

 

Watercolor paint is a free flowing medium that is fun to splash around in. Painting free-form watercolor drops will support you in the art  of allowing anything to happen in your creative practice.

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 32 - Freeform Watercolor

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor by Shelley Klammer
Wet-on-Wet Watercolor by Shelley Klammer

 

This art exercise will support you to play and surrender to how color wants to flow for you.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor paper soaked for 5 minutes in a tray of water, or a journal page sprayed with water.

 

- Watercolor paint

 

- Brushes

 

 

Method:

 

The Wordless Feeling of Color

 

Color is prior to the birth of imagery. Our minds cannot really think about color. We can only feel color. In color we can steep in the mystery of our feelings. And, in spontaneous creativity, as in feeling, we must learn to surrender control...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 33 - Mandala Coloring Therapy

This coloring exercise will support you to relax, and will show you how you can intentionally color in order to quiet your emotions or expand your horizons.

 

Materials:

 

- Pencil Crayons

 

- Mandala coloring book page

 

 

Method:

 

Calming Emotional Distress

 

Coloring pre-drawn mandala patterns can be surprisingly soothing especially during times of emotional distress. Psychotherapist Rudiger Dahlke, the "father" of the the mandala coloring epidemic, found that creating within a predetermined framework promoted a sense of peace and inner order. 

 

As children we often color before we begin to draw. Coloring within a "perfect, rotating geometric figure" is a way to induct emotional and mental harmony. Concentrated focus on geometric patterns can bring the mind into a state of peaceful order... 

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 34 - Exploring Difficult Emotions Through Intuitive Painting

Intuitive Painting by Shelley Klammer
Intuitive Painting by Shelley Klammer

 This art journal prompt offers ten tips to support you to symbolically express difficult emotions.

 

Materials:

 

- Tempura paint

 

~ Journal page

 

- Brushes, water

 

 

Method:

 

Exploring Emotional Pain

 

"Sometimes you will go through deep experiences that bring up intense pain inside of you. If it is in there, it is going to come up. If you have any wisdom, you will leave it alone and not try to change your life to avoid it.

 

You will just relax and give it the space to burn through you. You do not want this stuff inside your heart. To feel love and freedom, to find the presence of God within you, all of this stored pain must go. It is in this inner work that spirituality becomes a reality. Spiritual growth exists in that moment when you are consciously willing to pay the price of freedom. You must be willing at all times, in all circumstances, to remain conscious in the face of pain and work with your heart by relaxing and remaining open."    ~ Michael Singer

 

When we feel emotional pain we generally want to do everything we can to avoid, change or distract away from our discomfort. It often does not occur to us that we can create, learn, and grow, and even delve right into the center of our most challenging emotions... 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 35 - Visual Journaling

Visual Journal by Shelley Klammer
Visual Journal by Shelley Klammer

This art journal exercise will support you to express your feelings through simple lines, symbols and colors.

 

Materials:

 

- Assorted colored markers, oil and/or chalk pastels.

 

- Journal page

 

Method:

 

The simplest of imagery can express the inner workings of the psyche and soul. We can all make signs, symbols, and marks on paper that express our inner feeling states. In fact with visual journaling - the simpler the better. 

 

Pioneered by Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox, this visual journaling process is a wonderful and simple form of self-expression for people who do not feel like they can draw. 

 

 

The Conflict Between Thinking and Feeling

 

The fundamental cause of all stress is the conflict between thinking and feeling. Whenever we feel anxiety or stress, we can be sure that we are thinking one thing and feeling something else...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 36 - Active Imagination Journaling

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This written journal prompt will support you to meet your inner imaginal figures and find out what their emotional needs are. This process "invites the creatures of the unconscious to come up to the surface and make contact with us."

 

Materials:

 

- Journal page and pen

 

Method:

 

Active Imagination as psychologist Robert Johnson explains is "to invite the creatures of the unconscious to come up to the surface and make contact with us." As we make contact with the characters in our unconscious mind through our imagination, we can journal and dialogue with what wants to make itself known to our conscious awareness. 

 

Waiting for an Image

 

Our spontaneous imagination happens when we sleep and dream at night, but it is possible to access our dream imagery during our daily journaling process while we are awake. Usually, if we wait in stillness long enough, an inner image will want to come forward and speak to us...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 37 - Draw and Journal Your Anger

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This art and writing journal prompt will support you to process anger on a very deep level by owning it, expressing it honestly, processing it through your body, disassembling your story, and turning your hardships into a gift.

 

Materials:

 

- Felt pens

 

- Journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Draw Your Anger

 

Anger holds tremendous energy. The aim of processing anger is not to get rid of anger, but to get stagnant and depressed energy moving again.

 

When we feel anger, we can be sure that a change needs to happen. Anger that is safely expressed and mobilized can invoke the passion and power to grow. In order to process anger it is helpful to begin by expressing the energy of anger physically in a drawing, a painting, in a dance, or through your voice...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 38 - Color Body Mapping

This art journal prompt will support you to offer kind attention to where you feel sore in your body, and to heal the split between your thinking and feeling nature.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor, tempura, or acrylic paint, or colored pencils and markers

 

- Watercolor paper or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Bodily Truth vs. Outward Appearances

 

Our bodies symptomatically mirror what we are thinking about. And, most of us think way more than we feel. To become exquisitely aware of our body is to become aware of our intuitive nature. Yet, we most often ignore our bodies until they hurt. 

 

Most of us spend most of our lives with our attention directed towards the outer world and away from our bodily feelings. But, as much as we try to ignore all that is uncomfortable deep down inside, our body faithfully and accurately records and express all of our thoughts somatically...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 39 - Body Stories with Collage

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This art journal prompt will support you to dialogue with the parts of your body that you like and the parts of your body that you dislike, with the aim of unconditional self-love.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor or acrylic paint

 

- Colored markers

 

-  Magazines and books

 

-  Scissors and glue stick

 

-  Journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Our bodies are a living metaphor of what we feel and think on subconscious and unconscious levels. Whatever we are unwilling to acknowledge within will be held in the "story" of our body.

 

Our bodies hold many stories, dreams, memories and purposes. Using collage to tell the story of our body, either in part or in whole, reveals what is hidden from our everyday mind...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 40 - Painting with Music

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This journal exercise aims to give a passionate boost to your creative process and uplift your mood.

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor or acrylic paint, brushes

 

- Watercolor paper or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Inciting Creative Passion

 

We all need a passionate boost in our creative process once in a while. Creative writer Julia Cameron makes the point, "When I am afraid of my own creativity (which may be to say I am afraid of my own passion), I turn to passion and creativity of others whose hearts have burst into music and I let them light the way for me."

 

Moving from mundane states of consciousness such as dissipation, boredom and negativity into inspiration and creative expansion sometimes requires music. One way to intensify and shift surface attention into a more expanded state is to paint spontaneously to music...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 41 - Self-Reflective Writing

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This journal prompt will support you to understand the deeper patterns and meanings of your thoughts. It includes the three rules of reflective writing and four final questions to reflect upon.

 

 

Materials:

 

- Pen and journal

 

- Candle

 

- Meditative music

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

Expressing vs. Understanding

 

When we self-express without deeper reflection, we release our emotional accumulations without understanding them. Free-form automatic writing, as in the Artist's Way morning pages support an emotional release or a "brain drain" but unless we examine the deeper meaning of our thoughts and feelings, we will continue to repeat the same patterns of self-expression without knowing why.

 

If we really listened to what we think about in a day, a month, a year, we would discover that our seemingly random thoughts cyclically communicate our challenging and inspiring life themes. Our written thoughts reflect our emotional patterns, and the repetitive struggles of our life perfectly...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #42 - Scribble Drawing

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This art journal prompt will support you to loosen up and draw spontaneously. It will also help you to see your unconscious thought processes in your scribbles.

 

Materials:

 

- Black or multicolored markers 

 

- Watercolor paint

 

- Journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Spontaneous Art as a Route to the Unconscious Mind

 

Scribble drawing is a tried and true art therapy exercise that works well as a visual starter or warm up for spontaneous drawing or painting. Scribble drawing was developed by art educator Florence Cane.

 

Her sister, art therapist Margaret Naumburg started a progressive school for children in 1914 that encouraged spontaneous creative expression and self-motivated learning. Naumburg was a visionary in children's education in her time. She was influenced by Jungian psychology, parapsychology, and surrealistic and primitive art.

 

In 1930 Naumburg left progressive education and began to devote her life to the development of art therapy. Having undergone Jungian therapy herself, she felt that art therapy was a more effective route to the unconscious than verbal therapy. Her sister Florence Cane, a teacher at her school, was a pioneer in facilitating art for children that emphasized the expression of feelings, and she searched for ways to stimulate the creative process. One creative method she developed was the scribble drawing...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 43 - Healing Grief Through Art and Journaling

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This art and written journal process will support your to heal your grief through "dual consciousness."  This process will teach you how to "unblend" from your grief and witness it from your authentic strength. This prompt offers 8 ways to express and release your pain.

 

Materials:

 

- Pen and paper or journal page

 

- Colored pencils, markers, and watercolor paint

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

At some point in our growing up years, we experience our first loss of love and belonging, and in our grief we shut down emotionally. When we store away our grief, we arrest ourselves at the age when our feelings become too overwhelming to process.

 

Grief is often difficult to heal because it holds a complex set of "younger" belief systems that continue to compound and gather speed throughout our lives with each subsequent loss and heartbreak. Grief also holds broken dreams of what we wish our past could have been, that continue to exacerbate and gather evidence as we age.

 

As we continue to verify and affirm our childhood and teenage belief systems surrounding unprocessed grief, we see through the eyes of sadness and hopelessness, and will perpetuate the feeling that we have lost something essential about ourselves that cannot be recovered.

 

When we chronically repress grief, we will feel like there is a missing piece in our lives. We will feel less alive. When we believe that this "hole" of loss is a permanent part of our psyche, we solidify the original places of loss where we believed that we could not be loved, and we can sink into depression.

 

Stored Grief Runs Our Life

 

Consider your grief from this perspective by Michael Singer:

 

"What happens to that experience that didn't make it through? What you don't realize is that that your entire experience of life is about to change because of what didn't make it through you. Life must now compete with this blocked event for your attention, and the impression does not just sit there quietly. You will see that your tendency is to think about it constantly.

 

"This is all an attempt to process it through your mind. All of that inner noise is an attempt to process the blocked energy and get it out of the way. Long term, the energy patterns that cannot make it through you are pushed out to the forefront of the mind and held until you are prepared to release them.

 

These energy patterns hold a tremendous detail about the events associated with them. As you willfully struggle to keep these events from passing through your consciousness, the energy first tries to release by manifesting through the mind. This is why the mind becomes so active."

 

When the energy cannot make it through the mind because of conflicts with other thoughts and mental concepts, it then tries to release through the heart. When you resist even that release, the energy gets packed up and forced into deep storage within the heart. In the yogic tradition, that unfinished energy pattern is called a Samskara. It's an unfinished energy pattern that ends up running your life."

   


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 44 - Map of Consciousness Collage

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This collage exercise will support you to discover your inner relationships, and identify the different parts of your psyche that are in conflict.

 

Materials:

 

- Collage papers, old magazines

 

- Pastels, markers

 

- Journal page or card stock

 

 

Method:

 

Symbolizing Your Current State of Mind

 

Most of us experience inner conflict as a feeling of unnameable free-floating anxiety. In a single day, we can feel conflicted in our consciousness in several different ways, and not even realize that it is the root of our anxiety.

 

Because different hurting aspects of ourselves can take the leading seat in our consciousness throughout the day, it is helpful to explore our sub-personality dynamics by mapping them out visually with spontaneous collage and drawing.

  

Inner Conflict Resolution

 

Sorting ourselves out on the inside can be a confusing task at first. Inner conflict arises initially as anxiety, and often, without the aid of visual imagery, it can be difficult to identify what our inner struggles are about...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 45 - Healing Traumatic Memories with Embodied Writing

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal process offers eight in-depth embodied writing techniques that will support you to gently process and release emotional pain and unhelpful beliefs. This prompt includes 8 methods for embodied writing.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

The Guardian of Difficult Memories

 

In the interest of continuing to function in our daily lives, our protective parts of self will likely be cognitively weary of revisiting painful memories, yet in truth we may have never truly felt or released the painful emotions embedded within our body.

 

What we remember from the past - especially if the memory is re-occurring - indicates a place we have not emotionally healed from yet. We can relive past traumas over and over in our mind intellectually, yet the past will not heal unless we are willing to face, and be lovingly present for the original stored emotions in our body...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity #46 - Portal into Possibility with Collage

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This art journal directive will support you to open up the frame of your limited thinking and creatively vision into your higher possibilities, and to ask "the big questions."

 

Materials:

 

- Watercolor paints

 

- Collage materials: magazines, scissors, glue stick

 

- Watercolor paper or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

"Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny. We each have something to fulfill, some message to be delivered, some work to be completed.

 

You are not here accidentally. You are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you."

 

- Osho

 

Making Room for Higher Possibilities

 

When we struggle with emotional flooding, and the jumbled up thinking that results from inner conflict, we cannot see beyond our personal life to understand what we want to give to life. The emerging symbols and signs for our higher potentials are around us all of the time yet we disassociate from seeing them clearly when we are in emotional pain. 

 

As we heal ourselves emotionally and psychologically, we become clear enough to intuit and connect to the realm of larger possibilities, and we can begin to consider creating new life-enhancing forms in the world... 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 47 - Transforming Your Inner Brat

Inner Child Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Inner Child Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This inner child art journal exercise looks more deeply at the emotionally hurting part of your psyche that seeks to take from life instead of contributing.

 

Materials:

 

- Crayons or pastels

 

- Paper or journal page

 

 

Method:

 

Creating Separately from Others

 

When we are non-integrated within, we operate from different parts of our psyches. Our "inner brat" is the part of our minds that compensate for unmet emotional needs by taking. From our "inner brat" we consume life from a state of emotional neediness. We try to feel good in ways that do not contribute to the whole...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 48 - Free Association Pastel Drawings

Pastel Drawings by Shelley Klammer
Pastel Drawings by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal exercise will support you to explore your unconscious thoughts and to discover your non-rational creative mind.  This drawing practice will support the development of your authentic creative nature.

 

Materials:

 

- Oil pastels

 

- White or colored pastel paper

 

Method:

 

Leaping Beyond Reason

 

"The years that I was pursuing my inner images were the most important in my life - in them everything essential was decided."  ~ Carl Jung

 

Drawing can be a form of meditation where you can choose to allow your inner imagery to emerge spontaneously from your unconscious mind. Since our reasoning, judging mind guards against deeper self-knowledge, free association pastel drawings can be used to access the "energy patterns" of hidden aspects of self...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 49 - Meditate on an Intuitive Zendoodle

Zendoodle by Shelley Klammer
Zendoodle by Shelley Klammer

This doodling directive will support you to calm your anxiety and increase your mental focus. 

 

Materials:

 

- Black permanent markers - various sizes

 

- Journal page

 

 

Method: 

 

Single Focus Visual Meditation

 

Most of us multitask and continually scatter and dissipate our energies. 

 

Singularly attending to a deliberate, detailed visual task can be astoundingly centering. Focusing intently on small, repetitive creative tasks integrates the mind and gathers energy...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 50 - Unburdening Past Pain

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This expressive exercise will support you to release emotional pain out of your body.

 

Materials:

 

- Old magazines, scissors, glue stick

 

- Pen and Journal

 

 

Method:

 

Clearing Emotional Burdens to Make Way for a New Life

 

"We are not unified. We often feel that we are, because we do not have many bodies and many limbs, and because one hand does not fight with the other.  

 

But, metaphorically that is exactly what does happen within us. Several sub-personalities are continually scuffing with each other; impulses, desires, principles, aspirations are engaged in an unceasing struggle."

 

- Susan Bello

 

Our entire psychology is built on defending away from emotional pain. Some parts of our psyches defend against feeling unprocessed emotional hurt. These defensive parts of self live stuck in the past, and they have fears about moving out of our "safety" zones of emotional "comfort" and into new growth.  

 

Growth always means a facing an old loss and starting again - fresh, innocent and ready to give to life. Our core conflict in life is essentially whether we will stay withdrawn in the emotional conditioning of our past, or move forward to extend into who we are meant to become... 

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 51 - Journal Process for Healing Your "Inner Demons"

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This creative journal exercise will support you to understand that whatever is most unwelcome in your consciousness - whether it be shame, anger, fear, prejudice, hidden urges or instincts - can be accessed and healed in a friendly, creative way.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal page

 

- Pens, pastels, pencil crayons

 

 

Method: 

 

Many of us do not want to admit that we struggle silently with "inner demons." Our demons are any negative thought, belief system or emotion that we fear looking at. Yet, when we give our denied aspects of self what they need, they change into allies, gifts, and strengths.

 

We treat what is uncomfortable within as the enemy to be kept at bay at all costs, but what if we befriended our shadow parts of self instead of distorting them into more darkness? Whatever is most unwelcome in our consciousness - whether it be shame, anger, fear, prejudice, hidden urges or instincts can be accessed in a friendly, creative way...

 


Expressive Art Therapy Activity #52 - Journaling Through Emotional Overwhelm

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This written journal exercise will teach you how to become intensely present, open, and aware during periods of extreme emotional overwhelm. This journal prompt supports you to be present for emotions such as fear, grief, and anger.

 

 Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

- A timer or a clock

 

 

Method:

 

Typically when we feel emotional pain our life force energy fragments and dissipates. This journal method offers a way to unify emotional energy during times of emotional overwhelm. This writing exercise is inspired by Richard Moss MD, who has developed many methods of opening up the emotional fieId.

 

I share my use and interpretation of his methods for stream of consciousness writing below:

 

Heavy Emotions Shrink Awareness 

 

When we are overwhelmed with emotional pain we tend to close down into  a state of extreme self-focus. Our world becomes very small. In emotional overwhelm we cannot envision our possibilities very far beyond the perimeter of our own body...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 53 - Exploring Inner Conflict Through Storytelling

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This expressive journal exercise will support you to find the the still, silent "middle point" of your inner conflict. Only by being present for our ambiguity do we open up to a "third" possibility that we likely have not considered before.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

"Ambiguity has a destabilizing effect.

 

Very few have the courage or the strength to hold the tension between opposites until a completely new standpoint emerges.

 

This is because in acknowledging contradictory truths, one has to create an inner equilibrium to keep from being torn in two."

 

- Aldo Corotenuto

 

Mixed feelings can be exhausting. Because our psyche functions in pairs of opposites, it is no surprise that we tend to get caught in inner conflict and polarization much of the time. When we are struggling with an inner conflict, we cannot move forward when both sides have strong viewpoints that do not want to waver.

 

Sitting in the middle of an inner conflict, and listening to both sides equally reveals new creative solutions. This writing/speaking/storytelling exercise offers a way to hold opposing parts of your consciousness in your awareness at the same time, to see what new options arise...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 54 - Healing Negative Core Beliefs

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal prompt illustrates how we create our emotional pain by resisting our core negative beliefs. This exercise will support you to face and transform the limiting beliefs you inherited in childhood. 

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and pen

  

Method:

 

In so many ways we arrive into adulthood mystified and hypnotized by what what our parents taught us when we were little.

 

Psychologist Stephen Wolinsky describes how we arrive into adulthood carrying varying amounts of post-hypnotic baggage. This baggage contains the negative core beliefs that color our life experiences: 

 

"A developing child is deluged with hundreds of post-hypnotic suggestions that form the filters that we see the world though, delivered by well-meaning, as well as abusive parents. Not all of these are internalized." 

 

The Mother and Father Lineage

 

Our core negative beliefs are the lineage that we inherit from our mother and father or primary caregivers. We absorb our limited negative core beliefs from our parents in order to connect to them. As we find and understand our negative core beliefs we can return them to the lineage transformed. Evolution invites us to heal what our parents could not heal... 

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 55- Understanding Physical Illness

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This art journal exercise will support you to understand how younger emotionally upset parts of your psyche create illness in your body.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal

 

- Felt pens in various colors

 

Method:

 

Most people believe that disease is due to outer factors, yet when our emotions remain agitated, upset and irritated, we are more likely to get physically ill. When our scattered emotional and mental energy is fully integrated, good health builds and self-understanding increases. 

 

Younger parts of self will express the feelings that we could not bear to process in childhood through illness and bodily discomfort. Dialoguing with both hands in this journaling process can deepen our understanding of the thought and emotional systems of younger parts of self which are influencing our direction away from good health...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 56 - An Emotional Approach to Healing Illness

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This in-depth painting and art journaling meditation will challenge your conventional beliefs about illness and offer ways to tap into your deeper emotions and beliefs.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal page

 

- Paint and brushes

 

- Pen 

 

Method:

 

An Emotional Approach

 

The emotional struggles that we cannot work out consciously, will often try to work their way through the body in the form of an illness. The emotional component of illness can be explored symbolically through spontaneous painting, followed by sensing into the body, and meditating on direct questions in a journal writing process...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 57 - Create a Mandala for Healing

Mandala by Shelley Klammer
Mandala by Shelley Klammer

 

This mandala exercise offers 11 steps to generate symbols of healing for your body, mind, and soul.

 

Method:

 

- Black paper 

 

- White and colored pencils

 

- Oil  or watercolor pastels

 

Method:

 

Healing Imbalances

 

When we are feeling imbalanced emotionally, mentally, or physically, we can be sure that we are operating from negative mental patterns from the past. Drawing healing light as it emerges from the darkness of your unconscious mind, can support you to discover how to heal your emotional, mental, or physical imbalances... 

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 58 - Create a Higher Intention Journal

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This exercise will support you to set higher intentions and help you to identify your conflicting "lower intentions." This prompt includes six steps to creating effective higher intentions.

 

Materials:

 

- A dedicated intention journal 

 

- Pen and assorted art supplies

 

 

Method:

 

Deliberate Creation

 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step," says a well known Chinese proverb. Nowhere is that statement more pertinent than in our urge to transform our consciousness. Despite grand schemes and noble ideas, transformation boils down to how we use the sixty-five thousand seconds that make up the average working day.

 

We know how difficult it is to break a habit that commits us to a negative pattern of behavior once it is acquired. What may not be so obvious is the ease with which good habits also gain momentum and perpetuate themselves. The same habit forming consciousness that commits us to destructive behavior routines also allows us to cultivate constructive behaviors."

 

-F. Aster Barnwell

 

Setting Firm and Constant Intentions

 

We each have great freedom to use the power of our minds to choose our own thoughts. Yet, most often we live in habitual ways, even if they are not life-affirming because they seem to feel "natural, familiar, and safe." The word intention in Latin means "to stretch towards." Forming intentions is a spiritual practice that helps us to clarify which higher qualities of being we are stretching toward, yearning for, and longing to grow into. 

 

We would permanently live in a higher, happier state if all parts of ourselves were aligned towards the same higher intention. But, we each have many parts of self that have contrasting goals and ideas for our happiness. So, intention setting also becomes a practice in healing all of our unconscious "counter-intentions" so that all parts of ourselves can align toward one higher goal...

 

Art Journal Therapy Activity # 59 - How to Create an Altered Book

Altered Book by Shelley Klammer
Altered Book by Shelley Klammer

This expressive art activity offers an in-depth art-making process for emotional healing.

 

Materials:

 

- A suitable book to alter

 

- White glue

 

- Matte acrylic medium

 

- Gesso

 

- Acrylic or latex paints

 

- Pencil crayons, pastels, markers, and pens to doodle with

 

- Collage materials, glue stick, scissors, pictures from used books and magazines.

 

Method:

 

An altered book is an artist-made book recycled into something new in appearance and meaning. An altered book, used in an art therapy context offers an in-depth art-making process for healing. Altered books can be used to work through long standing emotional issues, to find and cultivate new strengths, or to process and accurately remember the past. Altered books can be joyfully made to help climb out of depressive cycles and to cultivate inspiration...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 60 - Processing Trauma Through Altered Book-Making

Altered Book by Shelley Klammer
Altered Book by Shelley Klammer

This art journal prompt offers 10 methods to process trauma through altered book making, including understanding, disidentifying from, and creatively changing your trauma patterning.

 

Materials:

 

- An old book to alter

 

- Paints, collage items, old magazines, markers, pastels, pencil crayons

 

- Acrylic medium, diluted white glue, or Mod Podge

 

 

Method:

 

Understanding Trauma

 

The aim of all therapies is essentially to interrupt unhealthy patterns that have been operating on automatic for years and often decades. To heal trauma we need to work on many levels of body, psyche and soul. Bodywork is essential to help interrupt the body holding patterns of trauma, but if the same belief patterns continue to feed into creating the same distressing emotions, the body will constrict back into its contracted emergency state once again.

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 61 - The Art of Setting Boundaries

Watercolor Painting by Shelley Klammer
Watercolor Painting by Shelley Klammer

This in-depth painting and journaling exercise will support you to give to others from inspiration instead of sacrifice, and to set healthy boundaries even when it upsets other people's ego expectations.

 

 Materials:

 

- Journal and Pen

 

- Watercolor paints, brushes, water

 

Method:

 

"For millennia, we women have been taught to be energetically open to the world, to be personal and accepting. We have been trained to move through life with an open energy field, to blend with the people in our lives who are important to us.

 

Everyone "knows" that it is feminine to be receptive and available, to be able to interact smoothly and pleasantly with other people and to blend our energies with theirs."  

 

- Sidra Stone

 

 

A Period of Independent Self-Reflection 

 

Because women are not supported to keep other people's energies out, our self-actualizing journey involves getting to know our personal energy clearly so that we know what feels right and what does not. As we separate from our feminine societal conditioning of always having to remain soft and accommodating, we can learn how express our "yes's and no's" without guilt.

 

This self-definition requires a period of independent self-exploration, free from outside pressures to conform to others expectations. Once we learn how to set our own boundaries, we can deepen our relationships authentically - or not. Authentic connection is not fusion, care-taking, co-dependency, or confusion about where we end and others begin. 

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 62 - Healing Grief with Expressive Drawing

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This expressive drawing exercise will support you to understand where you are not learning the life lessons inherent in your losses, and will show you how to find the wisdom to heal. 

 

Materials:

 

- Art journal

 

- Black marker, ballpoint pen, felt pens, pencil crayons, pastels

 

 

Method:

 

Finding New Life in Loss

 

When we are grieving, we can "cathart" sadness, only to have it return, and cycle back again and again. When grief cycles without end, we can know that we are not seeing and learning the life lessons inherent in our losses.

 

Expressing our emotions helps to release grief but it does it not always heal the beliefs that feed into grief. Life affirming decisions about how to grow, like any other time in life, need to be made amidst feelings of grief. When we experience loss, some new life direction must eventually take the place of the feelings of loss and devastation...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 63 - Exploring Age Regression

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This directive offers 16 different art journal and writing explorations that will support you to  "grow up" the aspects of yourself that are frozen in the past.

 

Materials:

 

- Art journal

 

- Pens, pencils, markers, pencil crayons, old magazines, glue stick and scissors

 

Method:

 

Resisting Past Emotions 

  

Becoming aware of when we are age-regressing (defending against feeling unfinished emotional pain from the past) is a process that can be visually and verbally explored through the art journaling process. Most of us experience age-regression on an almost continuous basis - until we have processed a considerable amount of past pain.  

 

All unfinished business from the past holds our younger selves frozen in time. In order to resist traumatic experiences, the child freezes the body by tightening the muscles and holding the breath. After much repetition, our patterns of contraction become an automatic response that can carry on for decades until they are seen, understood, interrupted, and changed...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 64 - Self-Soothing for Emotional Overwhelm

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This art journal directive provides soothing tools to calm, regulate and slow down the overwhelm of painful emotions. 

 

Materials:

 

- Art Journal

 

- Magazines, glue stick, scissors

 

- Calming music

 

Method:

 

Pacing Your Healing

 

We must again and again face fear until we can do so without being thrown back into lower self functioning."  - Richard Moss

 

Why Process Emotional Pain?

 

Some trauma therapists believe that if you are feeling overwhelmed, you are going too fast with emotional processing. Yet, spiritual teacher Richard Moss writes, "We are rightfully afraid of pain, but when pain - especially emotional pain - is what is, then to continue to rely on a self-avoidance survival structure created in childhood is to remain barren of potential." 

 

Paradoxically we become more alive when we turn and face our emotional pain,. We can develop a conscious relationship to our own suffering. By compassionately respecting our internal timing and pace, and by taking breaks when the emotional pain and intensity feels overwhelming, we can face what we habitually avoid. With great love and gentleness, we open up to our authentic potential...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 65 - Processing Difficult Emotions

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal exercise includes a daily 5 step journal process, and an in-depth journal guide to inner body listening to help you better understand your emotions.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

 

Method:

 

Daily Journaling from the Body

 

Emotional overwhelm often begins with an inkling or a slight discomfort. A part of your body, for example, may feel particularly uncomfortable. If so, direct all of your witnessing attention to that spot.

 

Sit patiently with your uncomfortable place, say "hello" and wait. Body listening involves sitting with your journal, getting still, closing your eyes, and waiting quietly for your body to share its messages...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 66 - Create an Experimental Art Journal

Art journal page by Shelley Klammer
Art journal page by Shelley Klammer

 

This prompt will support you to loosen up and find emotional freedom in your art journaling process.

 

Materials:

 

- 8x10 inch spiral bound sketchbook

 

- Acrylic and watercolor paints

 

- Papers to paint and draw on

 

- Printed and colored tissue papers

 

- Collage materials, magazines, glue stick, and scissors

 

- Drawing pens, markers, pastels

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

Art Journaling for New Awareness

 

Most of us repeatedly perpetuate the same emotional reactions and mental patterns until they are interrupted with new information and fresh understanding. Regular art journaling can support you to develop unconditional empathy for your emotional healing process. 

 

Art journaling invites new possibilities and nurtures new awareness. Playing with odd combinations of words, metaphors and imagery allows contact with something unknown to emerge. By experimenting creatively in your art journal, without judging or evaluating what emerges, new information will infuse old repeating patterns with fresh possibilities...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 67 - Art Journaling for Healing Trauma

Art Journal by Shelley Klammer
Art Journal by Shelley Klammer

Art journaling allows memories that are intruding into the present moment to be seen, understood and cared for. This art journal prompt also offers many creative exercises to support you to tend to the "10 Healing Tasks of Trauma."

 

When we experience trauma we feel unprotected and alone. Psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek writes:

 

 "Without belief in a fair and moral universe, a sense of control of one's fate, a coherent sense of self, and a continuous personal narrative, life makes no sense.

 

Living becomes a pointless exercise of getting through the day. People reeling from trauma are thrown into a crisis of meaning that goes far beyond disillusionment; they are plunged into and abyss of despair."

 

Creating a Self-Caring World - One Page at a Time

 

To re-condition a safe, and caring world within we can dedicate our art journal to self-care. To create a caring world for ourselves, we can daily process and unravel disturbing thoughts and emotions gently as they naturally arise. 

 

Digging for memories is not required to heal. There is a right timing to healing. Art journaling is a way to understand and release the remnants of trauma regularly and slowly as it arises - one page at a time - in a format that can be closed and put away if emotions become overwhelming...

 


Expressive Art Therapy Activity #68 - Restoring Passion Through Expressive Movement

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This expressive movement exercise will support you to practice ways of speaking and moving that you normally do not allow.

 

Materials:

 

- Loose, comfortable clothes 

 

- A private room to self-express

 

 

Method:

 

We do not need to go into memory to heal the past. With Gestalt therapy our "unfinished business" from the past can always be discovered in the here-and-now, and expressively worked through with body movement and emotional and vocal expression.

 

The more we honestly express ourselves, the more passion we will feel. In Gestalt therapy, our disturbing experiences, needs, blocks, fixations, emotional blind spots and unconscious split-off aspects of our personality can dialogue with our own higher witnessing consciousness...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 69 - Healing Post-Traumatic Stress

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This art journal directive supports you to heal past trauma through loving self-connection, creating safety, and making art that represents a feeling of "all-healed."

 

Materials:

 

- Art journal or paper

 

- Collage materials

 

- Paint, pencil crayons, felt markers, pastels

 

Method:

 

Post-Traumatic Stress

 

For those of us who struggle with post-traumatic stress, enduring high levels of anxiety is a daily, biological reality. Living in crisis mode even when life is uneventful takes its toll on body, mind, and spirit. However, it is possible to recover from distressing traumatic events with presence, attention, and love. 

 

Love Heals Trauma

 

"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind."  

- Caroline Myss

 

Without proper support and love right after a traumatic event, the effects of harm are more long lasting and continue to cause emotional pain, fear, panic and confusion long after the event has passed. If you did not receive the love and support you needed when you experienced trauma, you can give yourself loving support now. 

 

To restore self-love you can choose to become profoundly present to the intensity of your emotions instead of reflexively resisting and avoiding them. Unconditional acceptance and presence to your own feelings is the highest form of self-love. When you process emotions on your own, it is possible to "ride the waves" of your trauma symptoms with witnessing, loving presence...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Exercise # 70 - Exposure Therapy to Reduce Fear and Anxiety

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This in-depth collage journaling directive and written exercise will support you to face your anxiety avoidance tactics and will support you to gradually move through your fears one-by-one.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

- Collage materials

 

Method:

 

What We Avoid Weakens Us

 

"Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?" 

 

- Pema Chödrön

 

When we repeatedly shy away from what we fear, our ability to cope with life decreases. While avoidance tactics might provide a brief respite from anxiety, prolonged exposure therapy is a "fear toleration" or "fear presence" practice that delves past avoidance patterns, so that fear can be faced and overcome. 

 

What we fear will continue to plague us until we turn and face it. Exposure therapy journaling is a mental and emotional process of writing out fears in a detailed way. Through a process of repeated exposure to what causes us anxiety, we can learn how to prolong and strengthen our presence in the face of fear...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #71 - Understanding Transpersonal Therapy

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This exploratory journal exercise will help you understand where you are in your growth journey so that you will know how to focus your inner work. This prompt includes three journal explorations of your Mask, Lower and Higher Self.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Understanding the Three Layers of Yourself

 

1. The Mask: We create an idealized defensive mask to protect ourselves from hurt and rejection. We hide our emotional pain - even from ourselves. This mask or false self dampens down the vibrancy of love of our core truth.

 

2. The Wounded Child/Ego/Lower Self: The next layer of our being is the wounded child/ego/shadow or lower self of our human nature. Our ego self is comprised of separated off, rejected parts of self that keep love and connection out. This self-protection causes great pain and isolation. Our lower self does not trust in love...

  


Expressive Art Therapy Activity # 72 - Mindfulness for Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This mindfulness exercise offers a way to decrease anxiety through repetitive focus on the breath, and/or focused creative activity.

 

Increasing Concentration and Calm

 

Many of us have some perfectionist or obsessive tendencies that intensify during times of emotional distress. The acronym OCD has become a stock term, often used in a casual way to describe someone who is excessively meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed, or otherwise fixated.

 

Whenever we have mild or extremely exacting fixating tendencies, we can use the gift of our meticulous minds to focus on the positive practices of concentrated breathing, and mind training to increase inner peace and emotional healing. 

 

Anything done repetitively increases concentration and calm. In the case of obsessive, compulsive tendencies, repetitive and ritualistic behaviors that seem to have no apparent meaning are in effect creating calm, and they could be channeled into a form of life-enhancing meditation or a focused, repetitive creative activity...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 73 - Healing Perfectionism

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This art journal prompt explains the 3 types of masks that we can wear in social situations and how the false self creates painful perfectionism. This activity will guide you to transform your mask through 3 simple steps and 6 journal questions.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and pen

 

- Collage materials, magazines that you regularly enjoy, scissors and glue stick

 

Method:

 

The Mask and Childhood Hurts

 

Each of us has a protective mask self, and until we heal the wounds from our childhood by re-visiting and releasing them, we will continue to present an overly protective idealized self to the world. Our mask keeps our hurt frozen within our personality structure. And, this frozen way of seeing the world continues to attract the same childhood hurts into our current reality. 

 

Because our mask is inauthentic, we will experience continual rejection when we are in our mask. People often avoid inauthenticity, and so this starts the struggle for perfection to create an even more infallible mask, so that the emotional pain of rejection can be avoided...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 74 - Physical Repetition to Calm Anxiety

Painting by Shelley Klammer
Painting by Shelley Klammer

This art journal and physical expression exercise will support you to discharge intense levels of anxiety when emotions run high.

 

Repetitive Action to Relieve Anxiety Induced Restlessness

 

Inner work is often intensely uncomfortable. Any emotionally charged memory that is difficult to look at will have intense anxiety "sitting on top" of it.

 

Holding strong presence in the face of extreme anxious restlessness is nearly impossible for most. When anxiety arises, it is often essential to work it through the body before the underlying emotions can be seen.

 

Since our body is the home to all of our emotional history, our tension and emotionally induced anxiety often needs to be cleared through vigorous physical action before we can feel strong enough to quietly witness, and release past emotional pain...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 75 - Spontaneous Collage Scrap Journal

Collage Scrap Journal by Shelley Klammer
Collage Scrap Journal by Shelley Klammer

 

This collage journal exercise will support you to play freely, using whatever you have on hand, without worrying about results.  This prompt also provides a written journal review process to support you to see the unconscious patterns in your creativity.

 

Materials

 

- Old drawings and paintings, rubbings, colored papers

 

- Magazine collage scraps, tissue paper

 

- Scissors and a glue stick

 

Method:

 

Loosening up Your Creativity

 

Collages that take very little thought, time or effort can evoke an unknown feeling, a new idea, or a fresh longing. Leftover collage scraps - colorful papers, magazine clippings, rubbings, words, old drawings and paintings - can be created into quick, experimental collages.

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 76 - Freedom From Shame

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This written journal exercise will support you to understand the beliefs at the root of your shame, and to dispel feelings of embarrassment through honest writing.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

The False Conclusions of Childhood

 

* As children, when we experience emotional shocks or traumas, we generalize the shortcomings of ourselves, our parents, and the world.

 

These emotional shocks form static conclusions and vast generalizations about life, and while they defy rational logic, they are held and hidden within our bodies in a dark, emotionally charged container of shame.

 

As children, we innocently think that everyone else has a perfect family and ideal home conditions but ourselves. Shame arises when we believe that our challenging life situation is unique, and that our entire thought and emotional process around shame has to be hidden away from others...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity #77 - Heal Your Core Wound

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This written journal prompt will help you to uncover your core wound and dismantle its untrue belief system.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

What is the Primary Core Wound that Drives Your Negative Behaviors?

 

When we act from our core pain we will sense our energy extending forward out of our center in a way that is willing to compromise our authenticity. This gesture is lacking, needy, anxious, and overly effortful to please other people and "win love."

 

When we excessively "do" positive-seeming things to avoid feeling our core wound, we will feel hollow and drained. Negative core beliefs are hard to find because we cover them up with virtuous-seeming opposite behaviors... 

 


Art Journal therapy Activity # 78 - 100 Faces Journal Project

Face by Shelley Klammer
Face by Shelley Klammer

This art journal project will support you to loosen up and practice spontaneously expressing your many aspects of self.

 

Illustrating Our Different Selves

 

"We are not just one person. A trained individual can learn to listen to the voice quality of others and hear them shifting between several levels of their consciousness even within a single sentence. We are capable of very different perspectives and behaviors depending on which facet of consciousness is dominant at a given moment."

 

- Richard Moss MD

 

Practicing Spontaneity

 

It seems strange that we would have to "practice" being spontaneous but most of us were encultured early on to become rigidly self-conscious about about art-making. Many of us were bound by rules about what "good art" was in elementary school. So, it can be interesting to draw or paint on one theme, or to practice using one subject, size or media, for a hundred days in a row to watch yourself progressively loosen up over time...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 79 - Intuitive Found Poetry

Found Poetry by Shelley Klammer
Found Poetry by Shelley Klammer

 

 

This poetry journal directive offers an easy spontaneous way to tap into your unconscious mind to discover what you are feeling.

 

Materials:

 

- Printed material such as newspapers, novels, old books, magazines, recipe books, fortunes, horoscopes, textbooks or dictionaries.

 

- Black and colored markers, pencil crayons, collage items, watercolor or acrylic paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

 

Exploring Paradox

 

"Poetic language expresses what plain language cannot, and thus helps us heal in a very unique way."

 

- Jon Fox

 

If you find it challenging to surrender to the spontaneous creative process, found poetry is good way to warm up your willingness to create from intuitive awareness. Found poetry taps into the words that feel the strongest to our unconscious mind. Found poetry can reveal hidden emotionality, visionary possibilities, or unknown beliefs in a mysterious and intriguing way...

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 80 - Express your Vulnerable Inner Child

This journal prompt will support you to see where you are still operating from a childlike perspective in your adult life. This activity offers 10 in-depth journal activities to support you to grow up emotionally.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Growing Up Our Emotions

 

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” 

~ e.e cummings

 

Spiritual teacher Eva Pierrakos - the inspiration for this journal exercise - states: "The repression of feelings does not alleviate suffering; on the contrary it increases the pain. Feelings need room to grow, just as our minds and bodies do."

 

Many people believe, "I will not suffer if do not allow myself to feel."  Yet, allowing our feelings to come to the surface enables them to grow up and mature.

 

It might seem strange to consider that our emotions need to grow up, yet mental and physical development without the full mature embodiment of all of our emotions leaves us feeling one-dimensional - like something is missing. To fully function and thrive in our life we need to develop the physical, mental and emotional sides of our nature... 

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 81 - Healing Negative Intentions

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This journal contemplation will support you to uncover your hurt inner child's negative intentions.

 

 

"Those parts of ourselves which we reject exist in the unconscious, as separated aspects.

 

They are the lost sheep of our psyches and we must become the good shephard that welcomes them home."

 

- Susan Thesenga

 

 

Materials:

 

Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Our Pleasure Seeking Negative Self

 

Because our hidden negativity lives in our unconscious mind, it can easily thwart our good intentions despite our best efforts to improve and progress. Our unconscious lower self has a life of its own with hidden negative agendas for finding negative pleasure. When we ignore our negative tendencies, they will seek to fulfill a destructive pattern in our lives that will keep us trapped in emotional pain and lower-self functioning...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 82 - Healing Sexual Distortions

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal exercise will support you to understand how the roots of your sexual fantasies trace back to childhood emotional pain, and how childhood hurt connects to sexual arousal.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

- Collage materials - old magazines, scissors and a glue stick

 

Method:

 

Understanding Sexual Fantasies

 

One of the best ways to understand our unconscious mind and our lower self is to take a deep look at our sexual behavior and our sexual fantasies. As transpersonal counsellor Susan Thesenga writes,

 

"Almost everyone has some sexual fantasy in which sexuality is divorced from love, involving degrading or forcing oneself or others, or being degraded and forced." 

 

Our sexual fantasies - when they are divorced from love - are a strong indication of where our sexual energies became distorted by emotional pain in childhood. When we deeply examine our sexual fantasies we will come to understand our areas of inner child unfulfillment in profound ways... 

   


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 83 - Cultivate Concentration with Zen Painting

Zen Painting by Shelley Klammer
Zen Painting by Shelley Klammer

This expressive art prompt supports the practice of deeply concentrated engagement in the creative process as way to profound peace and integration.

 

Materials:

 

- A wide soft brush - or three brushes - one for each color

 

- Three different colors of fluid acrylic paint

 

- 20 or more sheets of 8x10 or 11x14 cardstock or heavy paper

 

 

Method:

 

The Way of the Brush

 

Zen painting is a very simple spontaneous painting exercise, yet it takes great unselfconscious concentration to execute. It loosely involves the spiritual practice of painting one, two or three uninhibited brushstrokes - to express a moment when the mind is set free to allow the body create. 

 

In this exercise, I invite you to progressively practice letting go of your normal self-conscious ways of being in the world by engaging in painting 20 or more loose, swift, minimalist paintings in one session. Practice until your mind goes completely still...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 84 - Practicing Forgiveness With Ho’oponopono

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This spiritual forgiveness exercise involves the profound principle of taking 100% responsibility for everything that happens to you. This prompt explains how everything we see helps to clear out hidden emotional pain.

 

Materials

 

- A journal and a pen 

 

- A quiet space to write and reflect

 

Method:

 

This transpersonal forgiveness tool involves using your voice, either silently or out loud, to heal what troubles you about other people - inside of yourself. All that is needed is a quiet place to meditate, and the willingness to love and forgive those who have harmed you.

 

 Ho’oponopono, Forgiveness, and Self-Responsibility

 

Ho'opononono is an especially helpful tool to use when forgiveness and reconciliation with another person seems impossible on an interpersonal level.

 

The Hawaiian healing method of Ho’oponopono is based on the deepest spiritual truth that anything that happens to you, and anything that you perceive, notice, and experience is your own creation. Because it is happening uniquely and only to you, in this particular way, at this point in time, it is entirely your responsibility to heal. A hundred percent, with no exceptions...

 


Journal Therapy Activity # 85 - Learning the Language of Your Unconscious Mind

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This directive offers an  in-depth 11 step daily review journal process to help you cleanse your darker emotions through honest writing.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Unifying Our Rejected Parts of Self

 

"The path to the real self includes learning how to shed our mask, accepting our "lower" imperfect human nature, and embracing our  "higher" spiritual nature." 

 

Susan Thesenga

 

Our unconscious mind hides away everything what we reject about ourselves. When we bring every split-off, lost, and unloved piece of ourselves back into the home of our accepting heart, our strength and vitality returns, and we experience a genuine inner peace that is free of enforced positivity.

 

The Purpose of Unification

 

Our separation away from loving certain parts of ourselves creates the contents of our unconscious mind. When we unify all of the contents of our unconscious mind with our conscious mind, we earn the joy of true inner peace...

 

 


Art JournalTherapy Activity # 86 - Understanding Your Defense Mechanisms

Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This written journal directive will support you to understand your defense mechanisms. This prompt includes a journal method of "interrupting and re-associating" your defenses into feelings of openness.

 

Materials:

 

- A journal and a pen

 

- Collage materials (optional) - old magazines, glue stick and scissors

 

Method:

 

Our defense mechanisms prevent us from progressing in our psychological and emotional healing work.  We all have our own particular architecture of defense that keeps uncomfortable emotions at bay. 

 

Defense mechanisms are learned repetitive behaviors designed to repress the original pain that we do not want to  process from the past. Our defenses are the "glue" that holds our "learned self" from childhood in place. Defense mechanisms store buried hurt that keeps us running in place. Our defense mechanisms keep us mentally unchanging, physically stagnant, and emotionally stifled... 

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 87 - Writing Healing Stories

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This written journal exercise offers an exploration of memory as a way of digesting and integrating the past.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and pen

 

Method:

 

"Stories heal us because we become whole through them. In the process of writing, of discovering our story, we restore those parts of ourselves that have been scattered, hidden, suppressed, denied, distorted, forbidden, and we come to understand that stories heal."

 

- Deena Metzger

 

By "re-membering" our life, we gather together our disjointed, alienated, and separated parts of self, and begin to re-value what has been hidden and disdained...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 88 - Develop Heart Awareness by Writing Your Life Review

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This in-depth journal directive offers profound methods of self-reflection to inspire you to move past your limits to loving others.

 

Materials:

 

~ Journal and pen

 

Method:

 

Keeping an Open Heart

 

We rarely love beyond what we are used to. This habitual withdrawal can be considered our limited emotional set-point, or our family system set-point of loving. We only allow ourselves to give just so much, otherwise we fear we might be taken advantage of.

 

Often, we keep our love perimeter tight and careful, and in this way we can learn nothing new about ourselves. It is from this withdrawn place that we feel lost and often bemoan how we do not understand what our purposes, gifts and talents are...

 

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 89 - Integrating Your Shadow

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This fun journal exercise offers a way to become friendly with your repressed aspects of self and learn more about your emotional needs.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

"The shadow is created because our ego, constantly trying to control our world, sorts out things that do not fit the picture we have constructed for how to survive and be accepted." 

 

Carol Adrienne

 

Your shadow is the storehouse for all of your unrecognized and repressed aspects of self. Psychologist Carl Jung describes the shadow as all the things inside of ourselves that we do not accept, do not like about ourselves, or do not wish to look at. The shadow begins early in childhood when we start to hide away parts of ourselves that do not fit in with our parents or society.

 

As we go through our lives, we continue to hide away more and more parts of ourselves that do not gain approval and love from others. By the time we reach young adulthood we have developed an outer mask that is finely honed, underpinned by self-rejection and shame, and designed to gain acceptance...

 

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 90 - Resolving Childhood Emotional Needs

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal directive will be helpful if you feel angry and frustrated about your outer life circumstances. This journal exercise will support you to discover if your discontent is from unattended emotional needs that originated in the past.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Childhood Emotional Needs

 

Often, without even realizing it, we wish and even demand that other people meet the emotional needs that were not met in our childhood.

 

Anger often hides the truth that we have an emotional need that we want other people to satisfy. Anger may show up as direct attack, passive aggression, withdrawal, complaining or excessive emotional suffering as a way to try and gain control. But as long as we try to change an outside situation to satisfy an inner need, we will remain eternally frustrated... 

 

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 91 - Write Your Own Fairy Tale

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

 

This written journal directive will support you to discover and actualize your authentic self and your life purpose.

 

Materials:

 

-  Journal and a pen

 

-  Collage items to embellish your writings - magazine clippings, opulent papers, foils, leaves - anything that represents your past, present and future selves. 

 

Method:

 

As we are trying to grow beyond our past familial conditioning into our unique vitality, it is helpful to be aware of the mythical path that underpins every human journey to authenticity. To elucidate our true calling and authentic nature we can write our own fairy tale as described by Joseph Campbell's metaphorical hero's journey.

 

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."  ~ Joseph Campbell

 

The path to our authenticity is truly a mythic journey. As we travel along the path of finding and expressing our True Self, we join with Universal forces, and life feels progressively magical - full of signs, symbols and synchronicities that contribute to our emotional healing...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 92 - Journaling to Cultivate Joy

Pastel Drawing by Shelley Klammer
Pastel Drawing by Shelley Klammer

This journaling directive will be helpful if you are struggling with heavy emotions, and you want to interrupt the downward spiral of negativity.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Moving out of Self-Absorption

 

Most of us journal to move through our difficult emotions, but a journal can also be used as way to discover what makes us happy. We can use our journal writing as a means to discover happiness, gratitude and inspiration - even amidst heavy emotional states.

 

Because habitual negative thinking can spiral our emotional state progressively downward, it is helpful to "interrupt" our discomforting states - not as a form of denial - but as a way of cherishing the preciousness of life, even when we feel rough. Cultivating joy strengthens emotional health, and it can be cultivated...

  


Expressive Art Therapy Activity # 93 - Keeping a Daily Aspiration Journal

The creation of higher aspirations on a daily basis is particularly helpful if you are struggling with depression or emotional pain.

 

Materials:

 

 - A small dedicated "Aspiration Journal" and a pen. 

 

Method:

 

Heart Aspirations

 

Keeping a daily "Aspiration Journal" can help you to go beyond your habitual pain patterns, and can support you to lean forward into your heart's desire for growth.

 

It is possible to be present with a troubling emotion, and to endeavor toward opening our hearts - through the "interruption and alternation" of higher aspirations. Because it is so easy to be over-identified with intense emotions, and the language that they "speak," it is helpful to set a loving affirmation to "sit" alongside of your pain...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 94 - Witnessing and Healing Emotional Pain

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal directive will support you to heal your emotional pain at its root through a six step process that will take you from anxiety to effortless presence.

 

Materials:

 

 Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Creating Our Own Pain

 

Daily, we recreate our emotional pain through mostly unconscious micro-choices to contract our mind and body in ways that seem so automatic, we think they are true. Observing ourselves creating our inner states is a key factor in healing emotional pain.

 

Our natural essence state is relaxed, open, unbounded, and unconditionally connected to life. Yet, for most of us, we only experience this state of natural ease and flow when we forget our emotional pain body, such as during a crisis, when immersed in the beauty of nature, when fully absorbed in a creative process, or immersed in any pleasurable activity that requires our fullest concentrated attention...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 95 - Exploring Empowered Anger

This journal exercise will be helpful for you if you have trouble owning that you feel angry, or if you feel inhibited to express anger.

 

This exercise is especially for those of us who repress anger, feel weakened or unable to take powerful action in life.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

  

Method: 

 

" Anger has a will, and it finds a way to make us listen. Anger is meant to be a part of each one of us."

 

-  Deborah Cox

 

Admitting You Feel Anger

 

The emotion of anger is often repressed, diverted and denied its full expression, especially for women. Even if you think that you fully express your anger, you may be surprised at the deep pockets of anger that you have not yet recognized and released.

 

Many women internalize anger by minimizing it or denying it, or by diverting it into tears or depression. Anger can also be externalized through judgment and blame, or through passive aggressive communication... 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 96 - Healing Fixations - Unblocking Stuck Energy

Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer
Mixed Media Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal directive will help you to understand and release varying drives, desires, and fixations on the different levels of your being so that you can flow with reality as it is unfolding, and prepare yourself to hold higher spiritual energies.

 

Materials:

 

- A journal and a pen

 

- Self-reflective time

 

 

Method:

 

Level Confusion

 

Being multidimensional beings, we often confuse one level of healing with another, and this can lead to confusion about what is appropriate for our growth. For example, if we are unconditionally loving all people on a spiritual level but are not in touch with the practical truth of external reality, we could get taken advantage of.

 

When we are fixated in one area of our being, we cannot see the creative possibilities that exist all around us. Loosely defined, a fixation is an area of life that we feel obsessive about or stuck in. For example, we can be overly fixated on finding success, eating particular foods, or on having sex. Any fixation that we are stuck in indicates a target area that we can focus our healing attention. When we free ourselves from fixations, we experience life more creatively...

  


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 97 - Healing Patterns of Emotional Abuse

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This in-depth written journaling directive will be helpful if you are unsure about what emotional abuse is because it feels like your "normal." As you question your "normal" you will be able to discern how you unconsciously emotionally abuse yourself, and why you accept it unquestioningly from other people.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Inner and Outer Emotional Abuse

 

Emotional abuse is defined as any non-physical behaviors or attitudes that are designed to control, intimidate, subjugate, demean, punish or isolate  you. Emotional abuse is like brainwashing that systematically wears away self-confidence, self-worth, trust in your perceptions, and your authentic self-concept.

 

Recognizing how you allow abuse from other people will also help you to see how you continue to "abuse" yourself on an inner level by perpetuating the negative messages that you have heard from others in the past...

 


Expressive Art Therapy Activity # 98 - Resolving Inner Conflict

 

This journal exercise will help you identify the two parts of your mind that are in conflict, understand how each side is trying to protect you or get needs met, and facilitate a dynamic resolution that helps to reduce emotional pain.

 

Materials

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method

 

"For us to experience pain, at least two parts of our mind must be in conflict. It is this conflict that generates not only a fear of moving forward, but also pain in the situation that we are experiencing.

 

Two parts of our mind are in a power struggle, and neither will be satisfied until there is an integration of both parts. Simple acceptance of the pain will not be enough to release us from pain if two of the deeper parts of our mind are still in conflict."  - Chuck Spezzano 

 

Identifying the Inner Conflict Between the Known and Unknown Parts of Your Mind

 

When a known part of our mind - a part that we primarily identify with - is in conflict with another more unknown part of self, emotional pain arises...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 99 - Understanding Your Protector Selves

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

This journal directive will help you to identify the parts of yourself that work hard to protect you from becoming overwhelmed with intense emotions. This journal activity will support you to relax your protector so that your emotional healing can progress.

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

Our entire human psyche is organized around avoiding emotional pain. The protective parts of our mind work very hard to keep emotional pain submerged. Developing a trusting relationship with our protector parts of self is essential so that we can begin the process of unburdening our emotional pain.

 

We cannot access and work with exiled emotional pain until we see the positive aspects of our defense system. We must gain permission from our "pain protectors" to process the pain. After you learn about what a good job your protective parts of self have been trying to do to protect you from pain, your protectors can be transformed, and invited to take on less extreme roles in your psyche...

 


Art Journal Therapy Activity # 100 - Positive Life Creation

Collage by Shelley Klammer
Collage by Shelley Klammer

The following journal directive illustrates how to discover the inner causes of your unhappiness, and will support you to manifest your desires through "The Four Keys to Positive Life Creation."

 

Materials:

 

- Journal and a pen

 

Method:

 

"The moment you can see where your concepts, intentions, and attitudes create your life experiences, you have your key to create a different and more desirable life."  

 

- Eva Pierrakos

 

Principles of Positive Creation

 

Just as we unconsciously create negatively, we can also create our life positively. We each have a birthright to create our own positive, beautiful, abundant lives, and at any point we can turn the tide of negative circumstances in our lives though the following contemplative journal process. 

 

Record the following directives in your journal. Consider and write in detail about your desired positive reality. Refine your positive vision each day. Reflect upon your new positive state when you get up in the morning, and in the evening before you fall asleep...