Preliminary Drawings Art All Levels
Resource: Using Drawings in Assessment and Therapy Gerald D. Oster and Patricia Gould

Note: The following series of drawings can be used for gathering information about student¶s maturity levels, art skills, and to assess what competencies have been achieved. As a clinical tool they have been helpful in spotting problems before they occur, but I would suggest that you receive much more research and experience before taking much value in the analysis of these drawings. Remember the guide below is for professionals and is used with additional information, including the artist¶s own interpretation of their results. Through the years students drawings that seemed particularly disturbing have been referred to counselors and mental health professionals for further evaluation and many students in at-risk situations have been helped. House-Tree-Person Test The House-Tree-Person [HTP] was developed as an ancillary to intelligence test that was being constructed. The HTP was originally and is still used as a technique to aid the clinician in gathering data regarding an individual¶s degree of personality integration, maturity, and efficiency. The discovery that free drawings of these three stimuli provided emotionally constricted persons an avenue for greater freedom of expression also proved to be clinically advantageous. These three objects were chosen due to their familiarity to very young children, their acceptance by persons of all ages, gender, culture and their ability to stimulate a greater fund of associations in comparison to other objects. Besides their use in assessment, drawings of these objects have also been found to be useful as screening devices in group testing for detecting maladjustment, as a evaluative aid for children entering school, as an appraisal devices in screening applicants for employment, and as a research instrument to locate common factors in an identified sample. Instructions simply specify that the examinee is request to draw a house, a tree and then a person, without any additional comments as to type, sized, condition and so on. The examinee must draw these three objects in any fashion from among their numerous personal experiences he or she has had. The ordering of the HTP always remains the same because this sequence is viewed as gradually more psychologically difficult, with the tree and human figure appearing the most likely to produce personal responses. The following indicators that might appear in the drawings are just a small sample of possible interpretations and initial guide for exploring emotional hypotheses related to the examinee. Any specific interpretations should only be made in the context of all factors of the combined HTP, along with confirmation from the clinical history, presenting problems, and other assessment data.

THE HOUSE The drawing of the house tends to elicit connections regarding the examinees home and the interpersonal dynamics being experienced within the family setting. The house, it has been theorized, represents the place wherein affection and security are sought.

which is sometimes associated with feeling of insecurity or needing to exercise control in contact 2] Chimney Symbol of warmth. a roof. flowers. intimate relations and sometimes associated with phallic symbol a] Absence of chimney Lacking psychological warmth or conflicts with significant male figures b] Overly large overemphasis on sexual concerns and / or possible exhibitionistic tendencies. walkway] Needing to structure environment more completely. one window.g. c] Smoke in much profusion Inner tension 3] Door a] Above baseline. broad at the end Superficially friendly 12] Wall [adequacy of] Directly associated to degree of ego strength 13] Window [s] interpersonal of significance. a chimney b] Irrelevant [e. without steps Interpersonal inaccessibility b] Absence of door Extreme difficulty in allowing accessibility to others c] Open Strong need to receive warmth from external world d] Very large Overly dependent on others e] With lock or hinges Defensiveness 4] Fence around house Need for emotional protection 5] Gutters Suspiciousness 6] Drawn on base of paper Basic home or intimate insecurities 7] Perspective. from below Either rejection of home or feelings of an unattainable desirable home situation 8] Perspective. from above Rejection of home situation 9] Roof a] Unidimensional [single line connecting two walls] Unimaginative or emotionally constricted b] Overly large Seeks satisfaction in fantasy 10 Shutters a] Closed Extremely defensiveness and withdrawal b] Open Ability to make sensitive interpersonal adjustments 11 Walkway a] Very long Lessened accessibility b] Narrow at house.SKPW3063 MENTAL HEALTH 1] Details a] Essentials [normal drawing] At least one door. one wall. .. shrubs.

broken lines Overt anxiety 13] Knotholes Sexual symbolism a] Small or diamond-shaped b] Small and simple Sexual assault or initial sexual experience .SKPW3063 MENTAL HEALTH a] Absence of window [s] Hostile or withdrawing b] Present on ground. no roots Repressed emotions 11] Shading.. Broken Branch Associated with trauma.g. reasoning limited 8] Scar. Knothole. analytical 7] Exaggerated emphasis on roots Emotional responses shallow. excessively dark or reinforced Hostile defenses or aggressive behaviors 12] Fine. rape [time determination in relation to length of tree] 9] No ground line present. Accident. feelings of insignificance 3] Faint lines Feelings of inadequacy. variable 5] Exaggerated emphasis on trunk Emotional immaturity 6] Exaggerated emphasis on crown Inhibited emotionally. infectiveness 4] Tree composed of just two lines for trunk and looped crown Impulsive. illness. absent from upper story Gap between reality and fantasy c] With curtains Reserved and controlled d] Bare Behavior is mostly blunt and direct THE TREE 1] Extremely large tree Aggressive tendencies 2] Tiny Tree Inferior. e.

helplessness 2] Feet Degree of interpersonal mobility a] Long Striving for security or virility b] Tiny Dependency. blunted feelings c] Omitted Lack of independence 3] Fingers a] Long and spike like Aggressive. focus on mental life b] Small .SKPW3063 MENTAL HEALTH c] Outline reinforced Shock impact greater d] Circles inside Experience in the past and ³healing´ e] Blackened Shame associated with experience f] Large Preoccupation with procreation g] Small animal inside Ambivalence surrounding childbearing The Person 1] Arms Used to change or control surrounding environment a] Fold over chest Hostile or suspicious b] Held behind back Wanting to control anger. hostile b] Enclosed by loop or single dimension Wish to suppress aggressive impulse 4] Head a] Large Preoccupation with fantasy life. interpersonal reluctance c] Omitted Inadequacy.

SKPW3063 MENTAL HEALTH Obsessive-compulsive. hostile towards others . intellectual inadequacy c] Back to viewer Paranoid or schizoid tendencies 5] Legs a] Absent Constricted. oral-aggressive b] Very large Orally erotic 7] Shoulders a] Unequal Emotionally unstable b] Large Preoccupied with the perceived need for strength c] Squared Overly defended. possible castration anxiety b] Size difference Mixed feelings regarding independence c] Long Striving for autonomy d] Short Emotional immobility 6] Mouth a] Overly emphasized Immaturity.

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