Thesis Title

Symbols of Self: Use of the Arrington Visual Preference Test With Severely Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents

Graduation Date

Spring 1998

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


This study explored the symbol choices of two test groups of severely emotionally disturbed adolescents. The Arrington Visual Preference Test (AVPT), a pre-existing test developed to identify recurring choice of symbols in different populations, was used with both groups in the same manner. Thirty-one severely emotionally disturbed adolescents were studied. The research showed that the symbol choices of the SED adolescent among the most-preferred constructs were least likely to fall into the category of Self and, those symbols in the least-preferred category were more often in the Transformation category. A complete discussion of the themes of the symbols chosen in relation to the diagnosis and backgrounds of the subjects is presented with examples. Examples of applications of the test are also discussed, and directions for further investigations are indicated.