Squaring of the Circle in the Mandala: A Universal Principle from History to Psychotherapy

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Incardona, Lisa
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Therapists from all professions use mandalas commonly as a treatment intervention for a variety of client populations. However, there is a lack of scientifically solid evidence based in empirical research of its success in treatment related to anxiety, concentration, and self-reflection. Carl G. Jung was the first to deem the historical mandala an archetype found throughout many religious traditions with healing potential in its clinical application. In a review of the literature on the historical mandala, this study uncovers a universal principle found in this archetype. This principle, called “squaring of the circle,” has spiritual significance that may be an underlying reason for the mandala’s success as a treatment for reducing anxiety, promoting focus, and enhancing individuation. The relevance of this principle to clinical psychology may inspire more scientifically sound designs of empirical research proving the efficacy of the mandala as a therapeutic intervention.