Thesis Title

Journeys of Resilience: Awareness of Self-Strength and Coping in the Young Adult Alopecia Areata Population Through Madala Art Therapy

Graduation Date

Fall 2013

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, DAAETS, ATR-BC


This mixed method study hypothesized that people diagnosed with Alopecia Areata who attended the 2012 National Alopecia Areata Conference in Washington D.C. would experience an increase in awareness of one’s resilient core through a Mandala Art Therapy study rooted in Solution Focused Therapy and psycho-education of Resiliency. The participants would also be measured for factors of Alexithymia and determine factors around Mood. The study was a quasi-experimental, pre-test/post-test research design in which the data was collected from a non-random experimental group and pre-test and post-test was used to measure the participants’ moods prior to and after participation in the Mandala Art Therapy study. The Art-based component used an art therapy directive, “Draw What Your Definition of Resiliency Looks Like”. The quantitative results of this study indicated that there was a statistically significant change in mood. Also, the participants indicated similar or slightly elevated Resilience Scale scores when compared to the national average. In fact, besides for some outliers, Alexithymia was not an issue within this sample of the Alopecia Areata population. The qualitative findings backed these results by ensuring construct validity of the Resilience Scale within the participant’s written definitions and artwork. The majority of the participants indicated that creating a mandala was insightful into their definition of resiliency. They found the mandala directive as reflective of their experience with Alopecia Areata, and that they would like to make another mandala in the future.