In the next couple of posts, I will be highlighting coloring books that come from the art therapy world. I’ll start off with Rebecca Bloom.
Rebecca is an art therapist who created her first coloring book, Square the Circle, after she’d been exploring practices like yoga and the Chakras with her clients who had experienced trauma. She felt like she needed some kind of a workbook that allowed people to explore those topics through multiple modalities, such as journaling and imagery.
Square the Circle contains chapters on each other the 7 main Chakras, energy centers that run from the base of the spine and move upward to and extend beyond the crown. Part of yoga involves keeping these chakras in balance and harmony through different techniques—yoga poses, breathing, meditation, etc.
Because, as a therapist, Rebecca often works with people who have experienced trauma, the book is also designed to help people connect with their bodies (where trauma is often unconsciously stored) in a way that integrates left brain cognitive learning with right brain activities.
The Heart Chakra with corresponding coloring sheet and journaling exercises:
Rebecca also created another coloring book, “Attunement”, a series of animals that represent different attachment styles. Like her first book, it naturally grew out of her art therapy work. She wanted something that would visually explore the way that we feel about and connect with others. As a twin, I particularly resonate with this picture of otters. On a charming side note, Rebecca told me that the cover was the result of a coloring contest she held. You can see above the one that won.
Looking Rebecca’s designs, you might have caught that, again, Rebecca is using Mandalas. Many people believe that mandalas naturally hold symbolic meanings that correspond to spiritual principles. Rebecca chose each mandala carefully based on those principles.
If you’ve looked through my website and seen the Desert Mandalas Coloring Book, the Painted Panels, and the Magic of Mandalas, you can tell that I also use mandalas a lot. I will also be featuring another art therapist who created coloring books of mandalas, Susanne Fincher, who created not only a wealth of these powerful symbols but who also gives us useful insight into the theory behind them.