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Mandalas are a universal symbol of oneness, completion, and wholeness. 

They are also an accessible tool to use in expressive arts therapy. Part of the beauty of mandalas is that they can be adapted in several different ways in order to suit the needs of the therapist and client. 

They are also a good way to put a frame around an issue or idea. The circle acts as a container, holding whatever feels valuable, while also having the space outside of the circle to be a place to offer support, alternatives, etc. 

Variation 1:

Have the client draw a circle on their page.

Create an easy doodle inside the circle-  No need to have a structure or pattern. 

Next, consider what is needed to support, nourish, and care for the client write now

Have the client draw within the shapes in pencil whatever they choose- this can be concrete or ethereal

Choose a color to correspond to each need and fill it in

Variation 2*:

Have the client draw a circle

Have the client fill the circle with what feels most supportive and nourishing using color, symbols and images

Variation 3;

Have the client draw a circle

Optional- doodle

Thinking of an issue or dilemma they are currently facing, have the client draw or write what is within their control on the inside of the circle

Then have the client draw or write what is outside their control on the outside of the circle

Variation 4**: 

Have the client draw a circle

On the inside, using only lines, have them draw their grief

On the outside, have them draw or write what is supporting them in their grief

Like many expressive arts interventions, there are nearly an infinite amount of ways to use the simple building blocks of interventions to create a directive that feels most personal, beneficial, and supportive to the particular person. 

I invite you to try one of the variations listed above & to modify to create your own intervention. 

Have more questions about EXA? You can check out my blog, which talks more about about expressive arts therapy here.  

* thanks to Stephanie for this variation 

** thanks to Amy for this variation 

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