The Visual Journaler and Coaching
The Visual Journalertm is a synthesis of coaching psychology, mindfulness, and visual expression.
We are creatures of images. The body-mind speaks in color, metaphor, shapes, and imagery. And art is the expression of that language.
So, in talking about The Visual Journaler, we are talking about a process that use visual inspiration that may come from card decks, photographs, or magazines and combining these with art supplies to create your own visual explorations and transformations.
Sound complicated? It’s easier than you might expect.
My Path to Visual Journaling
While I have never considered myself to be an artistic person, I have often thought of myself as creative.
A career in learning and leadership program design and delivering, finding fun ways to engage learners, and bringing the learning full circle to change has been a personal passion, and my life-long profession. I loved using color and imagery to create engaging slide presentations and carried a range of color markers to my workshops (personally vowing not to use black), knowing that this stimulated imagination and engagement.
After transitioning from corporate life to entrepreneurship, I began looking for a different approach to business planning for my company. The traditional spreadsheet approach had never worked for me as a jumping off point and it wasn’t working still.
Frustrated, I began googling business planning tools and found two books which turned my business planning approach around: The Right-Brain Business Plan and The Creative Entrepreneur. These visual approaches not only helped me spark, and then focus, my planning process, but it helped me realized how much the visual process helped me unearth information that was outside of my awareness.
I then began to consider the applications of visual expression and coaching. The coaching conversation is reliant on questions to engage clients. Yet the left brain’s filtering mechanism often takes clients to information they already know about themselves and blocks things they don’t want to see.
I was curious to see if visual expression could by-pass the filtering left brain. The short answer is: IT DID!
The Visual Journalertm Process
Our images not only tell us what we’re feeling, but they tell us what to do about what we’re feeling.
Imagery expressed through art, helps guide us in making life choices and decisions that can be so confusing when our thoughts and feelings are in opposition.
Visual expression allows us to see a graphic representation of what our emotions feel like inside our body. Once you see what those emotions are, it’s easy to compare them to what your feelings have been telling you.
The combination of coaching conversations and visual expression helps us make the connection between our thoughts and feelings which are so often in conflict.
Through this process, we can explore our attitudes and beliefs, release stressful emotions, build new habits, resolve inner conflicts between our thoughts and feelings, and at the identify level, build a bridge from who we are today, to who we want to be.
The 5-Step Process
Materials and Mediums
The book is your special container. We can work with a variety of books though I recommend a Mixed Media Journal. These can be any size you like and come spiral or hard bound. The pages will stand up for a lot of materials, water, paint, and layering.
Color is an important part of The Visual Journalertm process. Start with what you have around the house like crayons, paint, pastels, markers, and colored pencils. There are lots of options that you can find in the craft section of stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
Creating an image stash can be a great mindfulness calming practice. Keep it simple by creating two piles for your stash. (1) Images, words, and phrases that might be good for backgrounds and accents. And (2) images that will serve as focal points. You can see my use of both here.
Journaling is integrated into the 5-Step process. We engage the thinking brain and the body-mind, brining this aspect into our visual expression.
Organized by Journeys
The Visual Journalertm programs are organized as journeys. Each journey walks you through the 5-Step Process and has its own supply list for that project, and step-by-steps directions as I walk you into the process.