Art Journaling as a Reflective Practice
I have been a journaler for many years and encourage my coaching clients to keep a journal when we’re working together.
Typically, my journaling practice would be more of an accounting of my days’ activities, chronicling the high points, venting about frustrations, or gushing into my journal about a wonderful moment.
There are many benefits to writing in a journal from tracking a topic, to mining insight, to self-care. (See the Video: Why Journal?) It was a satisfying practice, though one where I would often sit and stare at the page wondering what to write.
More often, I was scribbling in my journal around the words I was writing. I would write something like “I feel like I’m going in circles” and before I knew it, I’d have a page full of doodled circles.
This scribbling showed up everywhere, not just in my reflective journal. My work notebook would have all kinds of doodling down the left margins – something I would do while thinking or processing. I could look back at my notes, and when noticing my mark making, remember the emotions I was experiencing in that moment. My grocery lists had marks and shapes on the margins as I would reflect on what needed to be added to the list. Somehow mark making seemed to help my thinking process, or so it seemed.
I never thought of myself as someone who could be artistic. Other than using colored markers at work when writing on flip charts, I hadn’t touched art supplies since kindergarten until 2015 when I began studying art journaling.
My pages changed from a chronicle of the day’s events in the external world towards my inner world of imagination and what was just below the surface of awareness and to deepen meaning and understanding. It became a meditative practice, something where I could sink into timelessness and experience flow states. And, it is often healing and wholing.
The practice of art journaling is not new; it has been around in many forms and has been used in art therapy for decades. There are wonderful books, videos, and classes where you can learn techniques that support the deepening of meaning and understanding.
But what about the world of coaching? How might art journaling and other forms of creative expression support, enhance, and deepen the coaching conversation?
Clients can experience more mindfulness and calming states. Art journaling and creative expression supports self-regulation and stress reduction. Coaching clients can learn more about their patterns and connect with their underlying emotions which are often difficult to articulate. It is a powerful way to promote a sense of health and well-being.
Art journaling creates new awareness which frequently results in releasing trapped energy. Releasing the burden of this trapped energy often results in new releasing gifts and talents.
One of the most powerful results I have experienced and witnessed with the use of art journaling is self-expression.
The practice of art journaling, with and without the use of verbal narratives, can be a powerful container for life’s more challenging moments and transitions.
Sensitive and skillful coaches who can facilitate the process of understanding and guiding the creative expression journey, bear witness to these visual voices and honor the wisdom they contain.
In 2016, I began a personal exploration that I called my feminine shadow journal. I began an art journal that deeply explored my own shadow parts. This journey became healing, wholing, spiritual, and mystical. While writing is still a part of this process, it often comes at the end of the work as a way of integrating insights and meaning.
Source: from Terri’s ever evolving Feminine Shadow art journal
In August, we launched our first art journaling retreat called “The Feminine Shadow”. What a wonderful time!
Are you interested in learning more about art journaling as personal practice or a practice with your coaching clients? In September, we’re offering a new 12-week online course “The Inner Journey of Art Journaling”.
I hope you’ll stay tuned as the journey continues and join our mailing list receive some goodies including a 10% discount in the Women Connected e-shop.