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Zentangle at the Autónoma University in Madrid

Zentangle at the Autónoma University in Madrid

In the beginning of the month (May 2021), we shared with you that we would be honoring Mental Health Awareness in our blogs and Project Pack No. 14 videos (beginning May 21st). After we shared Molly’s blog, Vitamin Z, we received an e-mail from our friend and CZT in Spain, Maria Tovar. For a few years now, Maria and her sister, Mercedes, have been teaching Zentangle courses to future nurses in Spain as part of series for non-pharmacological treatments for mental illness.
Maria and Mercedes are happy to share their story with the Zentangle Community.

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Maria Tovar writes…
We have had the luck of teaching a Zentangle class at the Medicine college, Autónoma University in Madrid, for the third year (we started on 2019).
It was part of a Seminar about non-pharmacological treatments for mental illness, and our students were Nursing students attending their last year at University, they will be working in few months.

Our experience was very positive, they absolutely understood the potential inside the Zentangle Method to calm anxiety, to relax patients with stress problems, to stimulate them in case of lack of self-esteem.
In the course,  we worked together with the Chief Nurse of a Psychiatric Hospital in Madrid, Hospital Doctor Lafora. For more than three years we have been teaching Zentangle to nurses working there, in order to use it in their Art therapy classes. Every 3 weeks they practice Zentangle with some of the patients just before going to bed.
They told us that on the “Zentangle day,” patients reduce their medication to sleep, because they don’t need it after tangling in a group. Besides that, session after session, they feel more comfortable with their strokes, accepting their works with less and less self-criticism.
Last two weeks we were asked to teach 3 groups of teenagers with mental illness from diverse origins and we were asked to teach them because the nurses  in charge of this groups were students in our first class at Hospital Dr Lafora and they strongly believe in Zentangle as an art therapy to this kind of patients.
We hope we’ll be able to, “one stroke at a time”, introduce Zentangle to more people related with mental illness, as psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social intermediaries, and people taking care of this kind of patients, who most of the times are in a forgotten area of medical and social questions.
This kind of Seminars, classes and workshops are the most valuable for us. We say, that in these classes,  we learn much more than what we teach.

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We were thrilled the learn about the work that Maria and Mercedez are doing in Spain and are so grateful for the work that they, at CZTs all over the world do each day to share the Zentangle method with their communities.

Julie Willand


  • Thank you so much Zentangle Inc. for sharing our story on your blog.Mercedes and I wish this post will encourage other CZTs in the world to use Zentangle to help to mental illness affected people.

    And THANKS for all your nice comments left here, we are very grateful for your support. This make us go on with a big smile!

    Maria Tovar CZT on

  • So much inspiration is provided by these two delightful CZTs. Having had the pleasure of meeting and attending a class by Maria and Mercedes when visiting Spain, I am certain they are excellent ambassadors of the Zentangle Method as a healing practice. Cheers to Maria and Mercedes for continuing to enlighten the tangling community.

    Chris Titus on

  • You are wonderful, Both of you! Thank you for your work! ! Congratulations!

    Georgeta Caspruf on

  • KUDOS! Maria and Mercedes!
    My late mother suffered from mental illness most of her life. She responded better to art therapy (when it was available) than any other therapies or medications. Unfortunately, modern medicine is too focused on pills and injections, not enough on food for the soul and spirit. Thank you for sharing this with us, but most importantly, with your health care students. Your gift will have a positive impact on the well being of their future patients. Zentangle truly is a “gift that keeps on giving!”

    Jessica Dykes on

  • Maria y Mercedes, su cuento esta tan lindo. Ojala que ustedes continuan su buen trabajo. Your story is so beautiful and inspiring. I hope that you continue your good work. Gracias for telling us about it.

    Leslie Hancock on

  • wow! Thats and amazing effort and idea to introduce the Zentangle Method to the medical world. It gives me immense pleasure to see Zentangle Method spreading happiness and calmness in different parts of the world 👍😍🤗

    Neeti Tibrewala. CZT 36 on

  • Congratulations to María and Mercedes for your fantastic work teaching this wonderful Method to health professionals!! It’s wonderful that the Method is being extended as a therapeutic aid, it really is!

    Soraya Garcia Diaz CZT36 on

  • Maria & Mercedes, your sharing of the Zentangle Method with those who need to know it is absolutely heroic! My guess is you are actually saving lives. I believe the path to suicide could very well be swept clean by your teaching this serenity-boosting activity! Thank you for doing this! And thank you for sharing your story. :)

    Jan Brandt, CZT 12 on

  • These ladies and their work is fantastic.

    Maria Vennekens on

  • Amazing and inspiring!

    Mary Ellen Fulton on

  • I was so pleasantly surprised that you were working with mentally ill. My husband passed in 1998. He suffered from mania and depression. I am so grateful that you are helping them. Please be strengthened in your efforts!

    Goriann Ehrman on

  • Bravo! Much needed. I wish we could get Zentangle on the curriculum for medical professions in Canada…. something to work on. Meantime I am teaching Zentangle to people grieving the loss of their loved ones through Hospice…very rewarding.

    Barb Round on

  • Thank you, Maria and Mercedez! Your work helps me think of creative ways to be of service.

    Molly Siddoway King, CZT36 on

  • When I become certified next year I hope to bring this to my community college district to help with stress and anxiety. I have already shared some of my tiles with my new work group (I use different Project Pack Zendala tiles as my ‘photo’) and they cannot believe I drew them. I tell them they can draw, even if they do not think they can draw at all. We are still working remotely but when the district finally finds us a permanent home, I hope to have Zentangle micro-classes with the team after I am certified. COVID has put my certification on the back-burner since I signed up for a 2020 f2f seminar in 2019. I am now moved to the next f2f in 2022. I want to meet and thank the people who helped change MY life by drastically reducing my pain levels just by tangling.

    bakayaro onna (Debbie Smith) on

  • Great story from our friends in Spain! Maria, whenever I see your name I think of the tangled paper roses your students did. You graciously allowed me to use the idea and my students loved it! It’s wonderful work you two are doing. ❤️❤️❤️

    Sandy Kelley-Jones CZT on

  • It is amazing how we can get to help people in so many different ways. And first things first…One stroke at a time, pretty much appropiate for them.

    Congrats dear Maria and Mercedes. It’s an honor to witness what you are doing with Zentangle.

    Oswaldo Burbano Sandoval on

  • Once while tangling in a local tea shop a man asked me what I was doing (tangling a tile) and then asked why? I paused and reflected for a quick moment and realized that there was currently no drama in my life and with a smile I told him that it keeps the doctor away. It is true.

    Kathy Y. on

  • Brava!! Such a perfect use of this great art form!

    Shawna Oertley on

  • Maria and Mercedez’s post caused tears to flow. I am a retired RN of 40 years, and I see both the need for and the value of Zentangle for both health professionals and staff and patients. What a insightful and creative application for the Zentangle meditative art. I have for some time been extremely concerned about the mental health, long-term, of health professionals who worked with Covid patients and were exposed to very grueling work conditions. I’m not a CZT (yet), but I hope that some CZT’s will think about teaching and working with this population. Who knows? Using Zentangle to calm one and give self-confidence might actually PREVENT mental illness, especially PTSD.

    Paula Schneider on

  • Wow! Congratulations/muchas felicitaciones!

    I love their story, it is very inspiring to know that there are people who care about others. Especially when dealing with mentally ill patients. Not only that, helping their nursing students to keep calm and relaxing. Keep it up!
    This is a good example of community engagement, support, and compassion. Beautiful story!

    Congratulations to Maria and Mercedez! Hello from Newark, New Jersey – USA


  • Inspiring story…thank you for sharing!

    Carol Roenbaugh on

  • Absolutely fantastic work. Well done Maria and Mercedes and the faith that the University are showing in them and in Zentangle. Great insight and understanding from the Chief Nurse. Just brilliant!! Enhorabuena Sisters!!!

    Annie Taylor on

  • Very inspiring ladies. Wonderful work. I particularly related to your last comment as it is an approach that I also find valuable.

    wendy tann on

  • This is so exciting to see! I’m currently working at a psychiatric hospital and I can totally see how this could be beneficial to the staff and the patients. My job isn’t with direct patient care, but I’m hoping this can be introduced at some point in the near future!

    Sharon Laddusaw CZT37 on

  • Inspirational. And such important teaching. Thank you, Maria and Mercedez!

    Peyton on

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