In an effort to practice what I preach...
I often tell clients that sometimes their pain lives in a place without words. Which seems only poetic, but it's actually true. Trauma experiences are stored in the opposite hemisphere than language. So asking someone to process with words could be asking someone with a broken leg to walk to a hospital to set their leg.
I use Mandalas with clients in lieu of journaling occasionally because it provides a container (the circle) for their feelings, and a boundary. Also because if a client is not highly literate (or young) words can be intimidating and feeling like they are set up for failure before the activity even begins.
So here are two of mine. I prefer oil pastels because I love to smudge and get my fingers messy and I title mine, a lot of times with song lyrics like the one below is a lyric from Possibility Days by the Counting Crows or with thoughts that I think they capture, like the top photo. I always date them. Titling and dating is not necessary. It's just something I do to make it like a visual diary. And yes, the top photo is inside my car. I had the supplies in my work bag and I just had to "get it out."
Here's to the next step, which I am not happy about taking but not all of our steps make us feel thus.
Title from You're No Train (from Songs for a Hurricane) by Kris Delmhorst