Wheel of emotions in art therapy

Robert Plutchik (1927 –2006) was a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, professor at the University of South Florida and he was also a psychologist. Robert Plutchik stated that there are eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. He created the wheel of emotions, which illustrates the various relationships among the emotions.

Adapted to an art therapy theme, the wheel is divided into 8 sections; the client thinks about different emotions that came up for them during the day. Additionally the client writes the emotions above each section (on the outside). Clients are then asked to fill in each pie with a corresponding color or picture that matches his/her idea of what the emotion means to him/her. When the clients are finished colouring or painting, they may explain if they feel comfortable enough within the group, what made them choose a particular colour, or explain what the picture means.

This exercise helps the client to explore and release feelings by drawing and writing them out. It helps to gain insight into what is really going on in the current moment. Additionally, it helps to put the present emotions into perspective by seeing it in the context of equal parts of the full circle. In the art therapy group I facilitate, I used this “ice breaker” exercise and found it to be exploratory and participants were able to express more clearly their emotions.

8 Emotions Wheel

http: // www.americanscientist.org/article/01articles/plutchik.html