Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil


This thesis examined research that explored the unique characteristics of art made within a circle—a form also known as the mandala. In addition, studies that researched the effects of mandala making on a variety of mental health conditions and as a diagnostic or assessment tool were reviewed. The results of this review suggest that the mandala art form has distinctive qualities, which may be beneficial in a variety of treatment settings. These findings were considered in relation to the practice of response art—art made by the art therapist in response to clinical work. Literature examining the effects of response art in clinical practice and supervision was also reviewed. The intention was to explore whether the mandala as a form of response art might offer specific merits due to its particular properties. Mandalas created during the thesis-writing process supported the premise that the mandala as response art can provide additional insight, reveal unconscious thought processes, contribute to cognitive organization, and increase one’s understanding of important relationships.

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