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The Right-Brain Beauty of MARI

by Amber Tolbert

Dealing with trauma can often seem like a left-brain dynamic. A person thinks logically about an experience to establish a distance from it and determine a new approach or narrative. Yet we at The Healing Collective know that trauma is stored in the right brain. The more we access the right side of our brain, the more we can become aligned with and heal our inner selves.

My own recovery began with traditional, left-brain therapy back when I started college. As soon as I had the means and access after leaving home, I dove in, expecting that all my questions would soon be answered and that whatever I was feeling that was “off” would somehow disappear. I went through traditional therapy for over a decade, thinking that what I was doing was going to help. At times, though, after leaving a session, I’d wonder why I didn’t “feel better.” I couldn’t understand why therapy wasn’t working. Since then, I’ve realized how important it is to tap into the right brain. I’ve taken a more nontraditional path to healing, one which combines traditional, left-brain modalities with nontraditional, right-brain techniques that allow me to express my emotions even when I don’t have the words to do so.

One nontraditional method that connects the mind-body-spirit approach (and that we now offer at The Healing Collective) is MARI. MARI means “Mandala Assessment Research Instrument.” It is a tool that offers a way to explore your life path and get more awareness of some of the layers of trauma, barriers, and blockages that need some extra attention but that you can’t quite find words for.

MARI is a beautiful, artistic experience that uses a mandala, a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to mean “circle” or “center.” We most commonly think of a mandala as a circle comprised of geometric or repeating patterns; in a broader lens, it is a spiritual tool that reveals what we know on a subconscious level but might not yet know consciously. The MARI tool can reveal your inner truth, and it can be used as a guide for further therapeutic work.

The wonderful thing about MARI is that it has little to do with whether you are artistic and everything to do with the subconscious and being able to bring up deep emotions visually and on paper. If you have an interest in deeper self-exploration, have trouble processing with words, or just feel stuck in a current process, MARI may be just the right thing for you! Our clinicians Jenn Radcliffe and Stacey Surratt offer both in-person and virtual sessions at varying lengths. For more information and to get in touch, follow the link below!

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