The MARI; Mandala Assessment Research Instrument

By: emotionalarcheology

Apr 06 2016

Category: Art Therapy

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The World

I am giving a workshop on the MARI assessment in a few weeks. The MARI is an amazing and mysterious assessment that maps the present state of the Psyche and is very useful for clinicians and their clients. It was developed as an assessment tool by Joan Kellogg over time as she recognized patterns in the work of the multitudes of clients she worked with as an art therapist.

Freud’s perspective on dream analysis is retrospective while Jung’s view is prospective, that is, leading to an evolution of the psyche, the goal being a more balanced relationship between the Ego and the Self.
This assessment has the same Jungian perspective and goal: To use the information gathered to map the present state of the psyche and give the subject a direction that will lead to movement, evolution, integration, illumination, and Transformation; A true alchemy of the Soul/Self.

This assessment does not describe a static state like intelligence or traditional neuropsyche testing. It can measure progress or regression, remission or relapse in the consciousness of the subject.

This is an esoteric assessment to be sure, giving much weight to elements that cannot be measured. Each of the 13 stages has spiritual, mythological, transpersonal, and archetypal characteristics that abide alongside practical characteristics. Physical conditions and challenges to be aware of, as well as advice on tasks to undertake are also part of the analysis.

All of this remarkable information is revealed through a Mandala drawing, a specific selection of archetypal symbols that are then combined with colors, the formation of a Guidance question, and the answers to stage specific questions.
Administration of the assessment takes approximately one hour; the interpretation of the data takes somewhat longer.

Each symbol relates to a particular place in the developmental nature of the 13 stages. Each Stage prepares us for and anticipates the next stage. The urge for wholeness impels us to move towards the next stage, because the healthy psyche prefers movement. Each color and is variation, when paired with a specific symbol, will indicate the intensity of energy invested in the creative, emotional, cerebral, survivalist, or spiritual dimension of the subject. There are 39 symbol cards and 45 color cards.

In my experience, the information gathered is remarkably accurate and in most cases, uncanny. It has been researched, refined, and evolved over 30 years, beginning with Joan Kellogg, the artist and therapist who developed this tool.

I find the MARI to be an excellent therapeutic tool, but its application goes beyond therapy. The synthesis of the data collected is used to give feedback to the subject in the hopes it will help clarify and enhance his or her life.

Einstein once said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.” It is hard to quantify the intuitive elements of the MARI, but it is easy to see the accuracy of what emerges and its value to the subject.