Journaling about what you can control and what you cannot is one of the prompts in my new guided journal The Balanced Mind. And although I did not include a connected art prompt in the journal, the writing prompt lends itself well to creating imagery. I also think the themes of control and acceptance are something that we can all benefit from exploring in this time of chaos and unknowns.
In wonderful coincidence, I had already planned to start my own art piece on this theme during my monthly art therapist consultation group. As we talked on a video call, not yet having shared the art we were working on, my art therapist colleague Ruth Airhart mentioned that she had been using a similar art directive with clients in online telehealth sessions during the past week.
Art Prompt – What is in your circle of control?
Draw or trace a large circle on your page. Take some time to think about or journal about what is in your control and what is not. Fill the inside of the circle with images, symbols, colors, and words to represent the things that are in your control right now. Include things that can help you cope and respond to problems and stressors. Outside of the circle, you can add images or words to represent the things that are outside of your control. Consider adjusting the border of your circle – thickening the line, adding shapes, writing words – to better visualize protecting yourself from the stress of that which is out of your control.
Variations on the prompt – You can also consider including things in your circle that represent what you are grateful for right now or what you want to have in your circle of focus.
My own art piece doesn’t include all the possible elements mentioned above, but the images include what I can control right now, what I am trying to focus on, and some things I have been grateful for.
If you try this prompt for yourself or with clients, I’d love to hear how it goes. Stay safe and be well!
The Balanced Mind, a guided journal of writing and creative prompts to support your mental health, comes out April 21, 2020. Available for pre-order now at https://amzn.to/3cbSBYM or from your local independent bookstore.
Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC is an art therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about telehealth and online therapy, individual therapy, child and teen counseling, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in child and family therapy, art therapy, or play therapy. Art therapy requires a trained art therapist.
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