Thesis Title

Isolation in Women in Ministry Using Jungian Archetypes and Modified Kinetic Family Drawings

Graduation Date

Spring 1997

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


The purpose of this study is to examine the role of isolation in the life and work of religious women professionals. The study focuses on 34 Lutheran deaconesses and their feelings of isolation within their churches or worshipping communities. It is hypothesized that they are aware of feelings of isolation as self-reported in a questionnaire. An adaptation of the Kinetic-Family-Drawing and the Kinetic-Business-Drawing, a Kinetic- Worshipping-Community-Drawing, is used to determine if they have unconscious feelings of isolation within their worshipping communities. Mental health concerns of the deaconesses are hypothesized to increase as feelings of isolation increase. In particular, six mental health issues where isolation is a symptom or an indicator are examined. These are depression, suicidality, substance abuse, spousal abuse, chronic physical illness, and eating disorders. Personality preference for isolation is also expected. The Arrington Visual Preference Test (AVPT), a Jungian-based test using archetypal constructs is used to determine the deaconesses’ preference for isolation.

Due to a lack of research on deaconesses, the literature reviewed is on isolation as experienced by clergy, priests, and religious professionals, as well as clergy and mental health issues. Isolation in society, and the role of isolation in mental health is also reviewed.

The findings show that deaconesses feel isolation in their worshipping communities at both a conscious and unconscious level. There is no relationship shown between the deaconesses feelings of isolation and their self-reported mental health concerns. The deaconesses express minimal preference of isolative Jungian visual constructs. Suggestions for further research are offered.