The approach taught in this book evolved out of work sessions with clients. Early on in her work, Martha noticed that talking with people and providing information was not enough to bring about change in their situation. Her clients felt they needed to own their solution in a more tangible way. Martha responded to this need by developing tools that allowed her clients to participate in the solution design by allowing their subconscious to provide input and feedback throughout the process.
The original concept was that the inner-self was trying to express an emotion or an element of stress. One vehicle for this expression was color. The exercise was to use crayons to color pictures; selecting at random the color to use. The intent was not to have pretty pictures but rather to kick-start the internal dialogue process. During their sessions, Martha and her clients would together decipher what the subconscious was expressing. Once the expression was understood, they would develop action plans. One action being to re-color the same picture with the intent of having it represent the desired state of mind.
At first, clients would feel self-conscious about producing pictures where the color was scribbled across the boundaries of the design. Others produced pictures with purple trees and people with green skin. After a few work sessions, people began to feel a sense of relief and calmness. Some clients made this exercise a part of their morning routine so that they would arrive at work feeling clear-headed and energized. Other clients said they would keep a coloring book and crayons in their desk drawer at work. If they started to feel stressed out they would pull out their coloring book and color for a few minutes. These people found that taking just a couple of minutes to color would clear their heads enough to tackle what was facing them. The most common benefit expressed was that this exercise gave people the ability to diffuse stress and enhance their creative mind.
After many years and hundreds of pictures, some patterns began to emerge. Martha documented these patterns and used them to develop a guide for interpreting the more common applications of color. This allowed her clients to perform their own translations.