Thesis Title

Transition to Manhood Thwarted: Struggles Portrayed Through Images

Graduation Date

Spring 1984

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 correspondence of the marked similar­ity in the imagery expressed in art and behavior patterns of paranoid schizophrenic men attending a psychiatric day treat­ment program. Ranging in age from 21 to 43 years, these men produced art works in art therapy groups and individual ses­sions during two semester periods of internship. Themes and recurring images when interpreted symbolically express a spiritual quest linked with a sexual identification conflict. Symbolic images produced in the art point to the emergence of an archetypal pattern of initiation marking the transition into manhood. When a man remains in adolescent psychology too long and identifies with the archetype of eternal youth, his developing ego is arrested. Discussion of aspects of the puer aeternus personality illustrated by examples of art works and life situations centers on Jung's theory that symbols emerge into consciousness from the collective unconscious, a universal heritage of archetypes, which expresses meaning in art, myths, and rituals.