Posted by Mercedes Arteaga on March 14, 2011
The first ever “art workshop with a twist” was held on February 26th at ALMA (Asociación de Leucemia Mieloide Argentina) in Argentina. The three hour workshop was divided into two parts: first, a relaxation exercise which was based on the theory of Neuro-Linguistic Programming; and second, the actual art workshop, consisting of mandala painting. What does all this mean? Read on for a complete explanation and become inspired to have the same kind of creative workshop in your local group!
What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)?
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is an approach to psychotherapy that describes the ways in which the human brain works. As such, through it we can learn how to communicate more directly with others, as well as have a better grasp on our own neurology. A relaxation exercise can help patients (or anyone) take their minds off their daily lives, forget about troubles and focus on something different, such as the painting exercise that followed in this workshop. When you combine art with NLP, you get a fun exercise where the person who leads the relaxation can teach patients useful tips about how to make the best of life and this leads to the release of endorphins, a hormone that can make us feel happier, and that also helps strengthen the immune system. A great example is how the act of smiling authentically incites others to smile, as well.
What is mandala?
Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “magic circle”, “protector”, “sacred”. It is an antique symbol that consists of different figures included inside a circle along with other basic shapes, such as triangles, squares, etc. Mandalas are said to represent a person’s Self, their personality, their state of mind – and painting them, whether with pencils, crayons, oil paint or whatever is at hand, can be therapeutic in the sense that it can help patients, and non-patients too, get in full contact with their Self.
At ALMA, we are always looking forward to the next art workshop and whatever surprises it will bring! Whether we repeat the same activities or come up with something new, it is sure to be an enjoyable time for everyone who decides to participate. If you are feeling inspired by learning about Neuro-Linguistic Programming and mandalas, maybe you can suggest the same kind of activity in your own patient group meeting!