Thesis Title

The Mandalas in the Artwork of the Mentally Ill

Graduation Date

Spring 1987

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 explores the symbol of the MANDALA in artwork of ten mentally ill patients attending a psychiatric day treatment program. It is the attempt to understand the emotional and spiritual state of consciousness of such patients as it finds expression in the symbol of the MANDALA. The patients’ MANDALA drawings are evaluated on the background of Jung’s (1964, 1972) depth psychology and his findings on MANDALA symbolism as well as Kellogg’s (1978) theories of the MANDALA and color interpretation. The MANDALAS are analyzed under the criteria of choice of color, formal elements, designs and archetypal images presented. The results of the analysis of this study support prior literature and research. (Jung, 1972, Kellogg, 1978, Grof 1986, Shoemaker, 1979)