House-Tree-Person Projective Drawing Technique z Author: John N Buck z Developed in 1947 with revisions in 1948, 1949

, and (Buck and Warren) 1992

z z z z z z



Originally developed as an outgrowth of the Goodenough Scale* utilized to access intellectual functioning Publisher: z Western Psychological Services z 12031 Wilshire Blvd z Los Angeles, CA 90025 z 1-800-648-8857

Perspective Detailing Nonessential Details Irrelevant Details Line Quality Use of Color

provide a detailed 350-page administration and scoring manual. Description The HTP can be given to anyone over the age of three. Because it requires test takers to draw pictures, it is often used with children and adolescents. It is also often used with individuals suspected of having brain damage or other neurological impairment. The test takes an average of 150 minutes to complete; it may take less time with normally functioning adults and much more time with neurologically impaired individuals. During the first phase of the test, test takers are asked to use a crayon to draw pictures, respectively, of a house, a tree, and a person. Each drawing is done on a separate piece of paper and the test taker is asked to draw as accurately as possible. Upon completion of the drawings, test takers are asked questions about the drawings. There are a total of 60 questions that examiners can ask. Examiners can also create their own questions or ask unscripted follow-up questions. For example, with reference to the house, the test creator wrote questions such as, "Is it a happy house?" and "What is the house made of?" Regarding the tree, questions include, "About how old is that tree?" and "Is the tree alive?" Concerning the person, questions include, "Is that person happy?" and "How does that person feel?" During the second phase of the test, test takers are asked to draw the same pictures with a pencil. The questions that follow this phase are similar to the ones in the first phase. Some examiners give only one of the two phases, choosing either a crayon, a pencil, or some other writing instrument. One variation of test administration involves asking the individual to draw two separate persons, one of each sex. Another variation is to have test takers put all the drawings on one page. Scoring: The Post-Drawing Interrogation form consists of 60 questions varying from direct and concrete to indirect and abstract. Once the Post-Drawing Interrogation form has been administered and the interview has been completed, the examiner records items of detail, proportion, and perspective in the Scoring Folder. After completing the scoring tables, the examiner derives an IQ figure for the percentage of raw G, a net weighted score, a weighted "good" score, and a weighted "flaw" sore,

Purpose z

*Designed to aid clinician in obtaining information concerning an individual’s sensitivity, maturity, flexibility, efficiency, degree of personality integration, and interaction with the environment. z *Provides a structured context for the projection of unconscious material. z *Buck felt that artistic creativity represents a stream of flow onto graphic art. He believed that through drawings, subjects objectified unconscious differences by sketching the inner image of the primary process. Recommended Use z Use in combination with other projective measurement instruments, usually given first as an “icebreaker” z Anyone over 3 years of age z Especially appropriate for individuals who are nonEnglish-speaking, culturally different, educationally deprived, or developmentally disabled. Administration z Client draws three objects: a house, a tree, a person on plain paper z Administrator then uses a Post-Drawing Inquiry checklist (specific questions) to enable client to describe, define, and interpret his/her drawings z Client responses are organized under 8 categories z 8 categories for client responses: z General Observations z Proportion

Drawing Analysis z Drawings are interpreted using two “paths”; intrasubjective and intersubjective y First path, intrasubjective, considers the content and quality of the three drawings; also explores the depth of material behind the drawings y Second path, intersubjective, considers features indicative of a certain emotional tendency Time Factors and Considerations z No time limit (is based on average time) z Paper given to client to draw on should be blank z This is a projective, not a diagnostic, test z Not “standardized” z Can purchase a supplemental interrogation form which derives an IQ score z *Reliability and validity studies have been most supportive of the cognitive uses of the test in 3 to 10 year old children. z Not used/appropriate for this type of test as every drawing is different for every person (individualized) z No norms/no standardization data available z Some aspects of drawings may be indicative of psychological trends Personal Evaluation z Limitations: y original test written in 1970’s; Family/cultural values, trends, ideas have changed y Interpretation may be influenced by clinician bias/prejudice Precautions Because it is mostly subjective, scoring and interpreting the HTP is difficult. Anyone administering the HTP must be properly trained. The test publishers

which then comprise the items for the profile configuration. Reliability and Validity: The manual for the HTPT contains no information on validity and reliability. Norms: The standardization sample included 140 adults. No attempt was made to randomly select a stratified sample of subjects from the general population. Twenty adults were selected for each of seven intellectual levels: House Tree Person Drawings The House-Tree-Person (H-T-P) projective technique developed by John Buck was originally an outgrowth of the Goodenough scale utilized to assess intellectual functioning. Buck felt artistic creativity represented a stream of personality characteristics that flowed onto graphic art. He believed that through drawings, subjects objectified unconscious difficulties by sketching the inner image of primary process. Since it was assumed that the content and quality of the H-T-P was not attributable to the stimulus itself, he believed it had to be rooted in the individual’s basic personality. Since the H-T-P was an outcropping of an intelligence test, Buck developed a quantitative scoring system to appraise gross classification levels of intelligence along with at qualitative interpretive analysis to appraise global personality characteristics. Ask questions after each picture is drawn: Person Who is this person, how old are they, what's their favorite thing to do, what's something they do not like, has anyone tried to hurt them, who looks out for them? House Who lives here, are they happy, what goes on inside, what's it like at night, do people visit here, what else do the people in the house want to add to the drawing? Tree What kind of tree is this, how old is it, what season is it, has anyone tried to cut it down, what else grows nearby, who waters the tree, trees need sunshine to live so does it get enough sunshine? For instance, the branches of the Tree overextended upward or outward frequently mirror the subject's overstriving for achievement. Plancing of the windows against the wall of the House so that the side of the House serves also as one side of the windows implies feelings of insecurity. If only a part of the Person is drawn in a profile

view (for example, head in profile, body in front view), it appears to reflect an evasive attitude in social relations. Lack of many details, incomplete wholes, and use of very faint lines are a combination found in subjects who are deeply depressed. A ground line sloping downward and away from the drawn whole on either side may reflect a feeling of isolation, exposure, and helplessness in the face of environmental pressures. House interpretations are loosely based on research and on the symbolic meaning of the aspects of the house. They should hopefully be nurturing places with normal levels of detail and normal size. Too little and the client may reject family life; too big and they may be overwhelmed by it. Lines and walls represent boundaries and strengths of the ego, thus weak lines in the structure of the house are weaknesses in the ego, while strong lines are problems with anxiety and a need to reinforce boundaries. The roof symbolizes the fantasy life, and extra attention to it can indicate extra attention to fantasy and ideation, while incomplete, tiny, or burning roofs can indicate avoidance of overpowering and frightening fantasies (think about fears of ghosts in the attic - these are based on the association for us). Windows, doors, and sidewalks are all ways that others enter or see into the house, so they relate to openness, willingness to interact with others, and ideas about the environment. Thus, shades, shutters, bars, curtains, and long and winding sidewalks indicate some unwillingness to reveal much about yourself (think about expression like windows to the soul or the door to the mind). Cars could be signs of visitors coming or people in the home leaving. Lights could be signs to welcome visitors or reveal prowlers. Open doors or many windows could mean strong needs to engage others. Big windows, especially in the bathroom, could be exhibitionistic desires. Psychotics tends to show groundlines (their need for grounding), clear visions of the insides of the house (they believe their thoughts and mind are open to view by others), strange angles (like their strange thought processes), or a house on the verge of a collapse (like their ego). Tree interpretations: The trunk is seen to represent the ego. sense of self, and the intactness of the personality. Thus heavy lines or shadings to represent bark indicate anxiety about one's self, small trunks are limited ego strength, large trunks are more strength... (think about the saying that a tree that bends lasts through the wind, but one that doesn't

snaps, like the ego that is flexible and healthy lasts through the world, but the inflexible and neurotic ego ends up broken). A tree split down the middle, as if hit by lightening, can indicate a fragmented personality and serious mental illness, or a sign of organicity. Limbs are the efforts our ego makes to "reach out" to the world and support "things that feed us" what we need. Thus, limbs detached are difficulties reaching out, or efforts to reach out that we can't control. Small branches are limited skills to reach out, while big branches may be too much reaching out to meet needs. Club shaped branches or very pointy ones represent aggressiveness. Gnarled branches are "twisted" and represent being "twisted" in some efforts to reach out. Dead branches mean emptiness and hopelessness. Leaves are signs that efforts to reach out are successful, since leaves growing mean the tree is reaching out to the sun and getting food and water. Thus, no leaves could mean feeling barren, while leaves detached from the branches mean the nurturing we get is not very predictable. Pointy leaves could be aggression, obsessive attention to detail on the leaves could be Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. Roots are what "ground" the tree and people, and typically relate to reality testing and orientation. No roots can mean insecurity and no feeling of being grounded, overemphasized roots can be excessive concern with reality testing, while dead roots can mean feelings of disconnection from reality, emptiness, and despair. Other details: Christmas trees after the season is over can mean regressive fantasies (thinking about holidays and family and good times to make yourself feel better). Knots or twists in the wood, like gnarled limbs, indicate some part of the ego is twisted around some issue. Knotholes are an absence of trunk, and thus an absence of ego control. Sometimes they are seen as indicating a trauma, and the height up the tree represents the age of the trauma (so, halfway up for a 10 year old is at age 5). Squirrels and small animals are an Id intrusion into an area free from ego control. Research does show that weeping willow trees are more common in depressed people. People with high needs for nurturance draw apples. Person intrepretations: Here, the idea is that the person of the same sex is like you, and the person of the opposite sex is what you may not admit is like you. Very Jungian when you think of it, in that the opposite sex is the anima or animus. Typically, the person is centered or just below vertical center on the page, is

symmetrical, pleasing to look at, and sufficiently detailed. They tend to be clothed, although pregnant women or women who have recently given birth may draw naked women, and women having recently seen the gynecologist may draw naked women. Erasures led to improvements, and the person seems contented with the drawing, perhaps laughing at it a bit. Usually the same-sex person is drawn first, and the opposite-sexed person second. Some interpret drawing the opposite-sex first as a sign of gender confusion, which has not been well-supported. Arms are the way we reach out to the environment, and hands the way we effect it. Open arms indicate willingness to engage, closed arms are defensiveness, disconnected arms are powerlessness... pointed fingers or balled fists can be aggression, hidden or gloved hands can be anxiety or antisocial tendencies... It could also be difficulty drawing good hands. Legs and feet are also like the roots of trees, and represent grounding and power too. If cut off at the bottom of the paper (think of cutting someone off at the knees) it can mean loss of autonomy, small feet (inadequate base) can indicate a need for security, while big feet can indicate the same. The neck separates the head (cognition) from the body (drives and needs), so no neck is no separation, long neck is desire for more separation of the two, etc... Mouth is how we get needs met (think Freud and oral stuff), so big or open mouth is neediness, cupid bow or luscious lips is sexualized needs, closed tight mouth is denial of needs or some passive-aggression, and frowns, sneers, and smiles mean with they do in real life. There is limited support for oraldependency themes, and more for slash mouths and teeth to be consistent with verbal aggression. Genitalia, breasts, etc... are seldom drawn, and indicate sexual concerns and discomfort. Emphasis on breasts though are not uncommon in prepubescent girls, and both disturbed and non-disturbed boys emphasize pectorals. Drawing clowns (hiding face and person), robots (loss of emotions in a psychotic way), cowboys (masculinized needs), snowmen (rounded bodies, regressive themes), stick man (childish or regressive themes) etc... can mean what is noted in parenthesis above. Excessive details are consistent with some obsessiveness when dealing with anxiety, while marked lack of detail can indicate withdrawal, low energy, or boredom. Biography

Karen Horney was born September 16, 1885, to Clotilde and Berndt Wackels Danielson. Her father was a ship's captain, a religious man, and an authoritarian. His children called him "the Bible thrower," because, according to Horney, he did! Her mother, who was known as Sonni, was a very different person -- Berndt's second wife, 19 years his junior, and considerably more urbane. Karen also had an older brother, also named Berndt, for whom she cared deeply, as well as four older siblings from her father's previous marriage. Karen Horney's childhood seems to have been one of misperceptions: For example, while she paints a picture of her father as a harsh disciplinarian who preferred her brother Berndt over her, he apparently brought her gifts from all over the world and even took her on three long sea voyages with him -- a very unusual thing for sea captains to do in those days! Nevertheless, she felt deprived of her father's affections, and so became especially attached to her mother, becoming, as she put it, "her little lamb." At the age of nine, she changed her approach to life, and became ambitious and even rebellious. She said "If I couldn't be pretty, I decided I would be smart," which is only unusual in that she actually was pretty! Also during this time, she developed something of a crush on her own brother. Embarrassed by her attentions, as you might expect of a young teenage boy, he pushed her away. This led to her first bout with depression -- a problem that would plague her the rest of her life. In early adulthood came several years of stress. In 1904, her mother divorced her father and left him with Karen and young Berndt. In 1906, she entered medical school, against her parents' wishes and, in fact, against the opinions of polite society of the time. While there, she met a law student named Oscar Horney, whom she married in 1909. In 1910, Karen gave birth to Brigitte, the first of her three daughters. In 1911, her mother Sonni died. The strain of these events were hard on Karen, and she entered psychoanalysis. As Freud might have predicted, she had married a man not unlike her father: Oscar was an authoritarian as harsh with his children as the captain had been with his. Horney notes that she did not intervene, but rather considered the atmosphere good for her children and encouraging their independence. Only many years later did hindsight change her perspective on childrearing. In 1923, Oskar's business collapsed and he developed meningitis. He became a broken man, morose and

argumentative. Also in 1923, Karen's brother died at the age of 40 of a pulmonary infection. Karen became very depressed, to the point of swimming out to a sea piling during a vacation with thoughts of committing suicide. Karen and her daughters moved out of Oskar's house in 1926 and, four years later, moved to the U.S., eventually settling in Brooklyn. In the 1930's, Brooklyn was the intellectual capital of the world, due in part to the influx of Jewish refugees from Germany. it was here that she became friends with such intellectuals as Erich Fromm and Harry Stack Sullivan, even pausing to have an affair with the former. And it was here that she developed her theories on neurosis, based on her experiences as a psychotherapist. She practiced, taught, and wrote until her death in 1952. Theory Horney's theory is perhaps the best theory of neurosis we have. First, she offered a different way of viewing neurosis. She saw it as much more continuous with normal life than previous theorists. Specifically, she saw neurosis as an attempt to make life bearable, as a way of "interpersonal control and coping." This is, of course, what we all strive to do on a day-to-day basis, only most of us seem to be doing alright, while the neurotic seems to be sinking fast. In her clinical experience, she discerned ten particular patterns of neurotic needs. They are based on things that we all need, but they have become distorted in several ways by the difficulties of some people's lives: Let's take the first need, for affection and approval, as an example. We all need affection, so what makes such a need neurotic? First, the need is unrealistic, unreasonable, indiscriminate. For example, we all need affection, but we don't expect it from everyone we meet. We don't expect great outpourings of affection from even our close friends and relations. We don't expect our loved ones to show affection at all times, in all circumstances. We don't expect great shows of love while our partners are filing out tax forms, for example. And, we realize that there may be times in our lives where we have to be self-sufficient. Second, the neurotic's need is much more intense, and he or she will experience great anxiety if the need is not met, or if it even appears that it may not be met in the future. It is this, of course, that leads to the unrealistic nature of the need. Affection, to continue the example, has to be shown clearly at all times, in all circumstances, by all people, or the panic sets in. The

neurotic has made the need too central to their existence. The neurotic needs are as follows: 1. The neurotic need for affection and approval, the indiscriminate need to please others and be liked by them. 2. The neurotic need for a partner, for someone who will take over one's life. This includes the idea that love will solve all of one's problems. Again, we all would like a partner to share life with, but the neurotic goes a step or two too far. 3. The neurotic need to restrict one's life to narrow borders, to be undemanding, satisfied with little, to be inconspicuous. Even this has its normal counterpart. Who hasn't felt the need to simplify life when it gets too stressful, to join a monastic order, disappear into routine, or to return to the womb? 4. The neurotic need for power, for control over others, for a facade of omnipotence. We all seek strength, but the neurotic may be desperate for it. This is dominance for its own sake, often accompanied by a contempt for the weak and a strong belief in one's own rational powers. 5. The neurotic need to exploit others and get the better of them. In the ordinary person, this might be the need to have an effect, to have impact, to be heard. In the neurotic, it can become manipulation and the belief that people are there to be used. It may also involve a fear of being used, of looking stupid. You may have noticed that the people who love practical jokes more often than not cannot take being the butt of such a joke themselves! 6. The neurotic need for social recognition or prestige. We are social creatures, and sexual ones, and like to be appreciated. But these people are overwhelmingly concerned with appearances and popularity. They fear being ignored, be thought plain, "uncool," or "out of it." 7. The neurotic need for personal admiration. We need to be admired for inner qualities as well as outer ones. We need to feel important and valued. But some people are more desperate, and need to remind everyone of their importance -- "Nobody recognizes genius," "I'm the real power behind the scenes, you know," and so on. Their fear is of being thought nobodies, unimportant and meaningless. 8. The neurotic need for personal achievement. Again, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with achievement -far from it! But some people are obsessed with it. They have to be number one at everything they do. Since this is, of course, quite a difficult task, you will find these people devaluing anything they cannot be number one in! If they are good

runners, then the discus and the hammer are "side shows." If academic abilities are their strength, physical abilities are of no importance, and so on. 9. The neurotic need for self-sufficiency and independence. We should all cultivate some autonomy, but some people feel that they shouldn't ever need anybody. They tend to refuse help and are often reluctant to commit to a relationship. 10. The neurotic need for perfection and unassailability. To become better and better at life and our special interests is hardly neurotic, but some people are driven to be perfect and scared of being flawed. They can't be caught making a mistake and need to be in control at all times. As Horney investigated these neurotic needs, she began to recognize that they can be clustered into three broad coping strategies: I. Compliance, which includes needs one, two, and three. II. Aggression, including needs four through eight. III. Withdrawal, including needs nine, ten, and three. She added three here because it is crucial to the illusion of total independence and perfection that you limit the breadth of your life! In her writings, she used a number of other phrases to refer to these three strategies. Besides compliance, she referred to the first as the movingtoward strategy and the selfeffacing solution. One should also note that it is the same as Adler's getting or leaning approach, or the phlegmatic personality. Besides aggression, the second was referred to as moving-against and the expansive solution. It is the same as Alder's ruling or dominant type, or the choleric personality. And, besides withdrawal, she called the third moving-away-from and the resigning solution. It is somewhat like Adler's avoiding type, the melancholy personality. Development It is true that some people who are abused or neglected as children suffer from neuroses as adults. What we often forget is that most do not. If you have a violent father, or a schizophrenic mother, or are sexually molested by a strange uncle, you may nevertheless have other family members that love you, take care of you, and work to protect you from further injury, and you will grow up to be a healthy, happy adult. It is even more true that the great majority of adult neurotics did not in fact suffer from childhood neglect or abuse! So the question becomes, if it is not neglect or abuse that causes neurosis, what does?

Horney's answer, which she called the "basic evil," is parental indifference, a lack of warmth and affection in childhood. Even occasional beatings or an early sexual experience can be overcome, if the child feels wanted and loved. The key to understanding parental indifference is that it is a matter of the child's perception, and not the parents' intentions. "The road to hell," it might pay to remember, "is paved with good intentions." A well-intentioned parent may easily communicate indifference to children with such things as showing a preference for one child over another, blaming a child for what they may not have done, overindulging one moment and rejecting another, neglecting to fulfill promises, disturbing a child's friendships, making fun of a child's thinking, and so on. Please notice that many parents -- even good ones -- find themselves doing these things because of the many pressures they may be under. Other parents do these things because they themselves are neurotic, and place their own needs ahead of their children's Horney noticed that, in contrast to our stereotypes of children as weak and passive, their first reaction to parental indifference is anger, a response she calls basic hostility. To be frustrated first leads to an effort at protesting the injustice! Some children find this hostility effective, and over time it becomes a habitual response to life's difficulties. In other words, they develop an aggressive coping strategy. They say to themselves, "If I have power, no one can hurt me." Most children, however, find themselves overwhelmed by basic anxiety, which in children is mostly a matter of fear of helplessness and abandonment. For survival's sake, basic hostility must be suppressed and the parents won over. If this seems to work better for the child, it may become the preferred coping strategy -compliance. They say to themselves, "If I can make you love me, you will not hurt me." Some children find that neither aggression nor compliance eliminate the perceived parental indifference. They "solve" the problem by withdrawing from family involvement into themselves, eventually becoming sufficient unto themselves -- the third coping strategy. They say, "If I withdraw, nothing can hurt me." Self theory Horney had one more way of looking at neurosis -- in terms of self images. For Horney, the self is the core of your being, your potential. If you were healthy, you would have an accurate conception of who you are, and you

would then be free to realize that potential (self-realization). The neurotic has a different view of things. The neurotics self is "split" into a despised self and an ideal self. Other theorists postulate a "lookingglass" self, the you you think others see. If you look around and see (accurately or not) others despising you, then you take that inside you as what you assume is the real you. On the other hand, if you are lacking in some way, that implies there are certain ideals you should be living up to. You create an ideal self out of these "shoulds." Understand that the ideal self is not a positive goal; it is unrealistic and ultimately impossible. So the neurotic swings back and forth between hating themselves and pretending to be perfect.

Horney described this stretching between the despised and ideal selves as "the tyranny of the shoulds" and neurotic "striving for glory:" The compliant person believes "I should be sweet, self-sacrificing, saintly." The aggressive person says "I should be powerful, recognized, a winner." The withdrawing person believes "I should be independent, aloof, perfect." And while vacillating between these two impossible selves, the neurotic is alienated from their true core and prevented from actualizing their potentials. Discussion At first glance, it may appear that Horney stole some of Adler's best ideas. It is clear, for example, that her three coping strategies are very close to Adler's three types. It is, of course, quite conceivable that she was influenced by Adler. But if you look at how she derived her three strategies -by collapsing groups of neurotic needs -- you see that she simply came to the same conclusions from a different approach. There is no question, of course, that Adler and Horney (and Fromm and Sullivan) form an unofficial school of psychiatry. They are often called neo-Freudians, although that is rather inaccurate. Unfortunately, the other common term is the Social Psychologists which, while accurate, is a term already used for an area of study. Please notice how Horney's self theory fleshes out Adler's theory about the

differences between healthy and neurotic striving for perfection, and (to get ahead of ourselves a bit) how similar this conception is to Carl Rogers'. I usually feel that, when different people come up with similar ideas relatively independently, this is a good sign we're getting at something valuable! Karen Horney had a couple more interesting ideas that should be mentioned. First, she criticized Freud's idea of penis envy. Although she conceded that it did occasionally occur in neurotic women, she felt strongly that it was not anywhere near to a universal. She suggested that what may appear to be signs of penis envy is really justified envy of men's power in this world. In fact, she suggested, there may also be a male counterpart to penis envy -- womb envy -- in some men who feel envious of a woman's ability to bear children. Perhaps the degree to which many men are driven to succeed, and to have their names live on after them, is in compensation for their inability to more directly extend themselves into the future by means of carrying, bearing, and nurturing their children! A second idea, one that still gets little respect in the psychological community, is self-analysis. Horney wrote one of the earliest "self-help" books, and suggested that, with relatively minor neurotic problems, we could be our own psychiatrists. You can see how this might threaten a few of the delicate egos who make their livings as therapists! I am always surprised at the negative reaction some of my colleagues have to people like Joyce Brothers, the famous psychologist-columnist. Apparently, if you aren't working within the official guidelines, your work is dismissed as "pop psych." The major negative comment I might make about Horney is that her theory is limited to the neurotic. Besides leaving out psychotics and other problems, she leaves out the truly healthy person. Nevertheless, since she does put neurosis and health on a single continuum, she does speak to the neurotic in all of us.