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Medical student mandala making for holistic well-being
  1. Jordan S Potash1,2,
  2. Julie Yun Chen3,4,
  3. Joyce Pui Yan Tsang3
  1. 1Art Therapy Program, The George Washington University, Washington DC, USA
  2. 2Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  3. 3Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  4. 4Institute of Medical and Health Sciences Education, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julie Yun Chen, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 3/F Ap Lei Chau Clinic, 161 Main Street, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong; juliechen{at}


The objective of this qualitative research study was to discover how creating mandalas (art made in reference to a circle) might provide medical students with an opportunity for reflection on their current psychological state. As part of their year 3 family medicine rotation, medical students participated in an art-making workshop, during which, they created mandalas based on their current emotional state. Afterwards, they engaged in reflective writing and discussion. The responses of 180 students were analysed and coded according to the mandala classification framework ‘Archetypal Stages of The Great Round of Mandala’. The results indicated that students were actively struggling in integrating conflicting perspectives as they were attempting to reconcile their professional identity as doctors. Additional results pertaining to psychosocial characteristics included navigating difficult emotions, requiring nurturance, handling endings, contemplating existential concerns and managing stress. The study has implications for making use of mandala making within a Jungian framework as means for medical students to reflect on their emotional state and achieve psychological balance.

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