I've been teaching the girls at Juvenile Hall how to tangle. I give them hand-outs for one new tangle each week. There are always new girls and, for them, it's the first tangle ever.
Why offer Zentangle in a therapy group? It's repetitive, for one, and any repetitive pattern drawing is soothing. Usually what I do is begin with whatever postcrossing.com postcards and thank yous have come in during the week - read those aloud and pass them around. They love the notion that someone a zillion miles away was thinking of them.
Then we do serious "work." Yesterday it was about marijuana and the developing brain because a new study was just published. The girls don't know what IQ stands for - a term used in the article we read - so we discussed normal Intelligence Quotient. And, since the average drop is eight points for marijuana users under 18, we talked about what a low average IQ might be - say, 85, how you can get along well in the world - and how an 8-point drop puts you in the mild retardation range. Some of the girls are already concerned about memory loss and related issues. So now they have a choice - to continue using or cut it out at least until they turn 18 and their brains are fully formed.
And then we turned to Zentangle, which they are beginning to appreciate. They can learn a tangle in five minutes and feel good about their new competence. One girl slipped me a letter in which she told me how much she enjoys the group and looks forward to it every week. See, when an old lady comes in and tells the truth - gruff or not - they appreciate it. They know I care deeply about them.