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September 1958

The Door of Serenity: A Study in the Therapeutic Use of Symbolic Painting

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(3):400-401. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340090136026

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Dr. Meares is a distinguished Australian psychiatrist who has written a number of books concerned with hypnotic painting and studies of interpersonal reactions. In this volume he reports a study in the therapeutic use of symbolic painting applied to a single seriously ill schizophrenic young woman. It is a beautifully written book, full of the author's sincere empathy for a patient who communicated to him through the medium of her paintings. The first painting represents the patient's chaos. It was bizarre, weird, and horrible, complete with darkness and eyes of people looking at her. It represented her complete disorganization and chaos. The last painting, as the patient became calm, serene, and almost well, is a beautiful picture of a bird free to fly in the air. After this last painting the patient painted no more but continued her therapy in interviews with verbal communications. The story ends with the patient

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