The House-TreePerson Test

Carolyn R. Fallahi, Ph. D.

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Background
‡ HTP: Draw a house, tree, person, & opposite sex person. ‡ Inner view of himself/herself ‡ the environment ‡ the things considered important

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Administration
‡ Pencil & white paper. ‡ Patient asked to draw a good house (as good as possible), take as much time as needed, erase anything you need to. ‡ Then the pencil is taken away & you can use crayons in anyway to shade in or draw.
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‡ Why is the HTP ambiguous? 4 .Projectives ‡ The Theory behind Projective techniques.

What do the drawings tell us? ‡ The inclusion or exclusion of the various details of the HTP s left wholly to the patient. ‡ Hammer (1955) looked at the drawings of normals versus sex offenders. 5 .

What does the drawing of a house tell us? ‡ Associations concerning home-life ‡ Intrafamilial relationships ‡ Attitude toward their home situation (children) ‡ Relationships to parents and siblings ‡ Married adults 6 .

The Tree & the person ‡ Paul Schilder (1935): the tree & the person touch the core of the personality = body image and self-concept. 7 .

8 . ± Bats in the belfry ± Fantasy distorts one¶s mental functioning is spoken of in terms of an impairment in the individual¶s roof.House ‡ Roof: fantasy area of their lives.

House ‡ Overly large roof.d. overhanging & dwarfing the rest of the house ‡ Schizophrenic patients or schizoid p. 9 .

Roof ‡ Patients who do not draw a roof or when there is no height to the roof ‡ Reinforced by heavy line pressure 10 .

‡ Crumbling walls ‡ Reinforced boundary of walls 11 .Walls ‡ The strength and accuracy of the depicted walls of the house are directly related to the degree of ego-strength in the personality.

Walls ‡ The outline of the walls of the house drawn with a faint and inadequate line quality ‡ Inadequate wall periphery ‡ Transparent walls 12 .

Door ‡ The door is the detail of the house that allows direct contact with the environment. ‡ A door that is tiny in relation to the size of the windows and the house ‡ The door placed high above the house¶s baseline and not made more approachable by steps 13 .

‡ The drawing of the door as open ‡ If the house is said to be vacant. the open door connotes ? ‡ Emphasis upon locks and/or hinges 14 .Door ‡ The overly large door.

15 . ‡ Emphasis upon window locks. windows represent a secondary medium of interaction with the environment.Windows ‡ In the drawing of the house.

‡ Shutters. without curtains or shades nor crosshatching. ‡ Windows completely bare. shades.Windows ‡ Shutters or curtains added to the window and presented as closed. 16 . or curtains put on the windows but presented as open or partially open.

‡ Size of the window. 17 . if similar reinforcement does not occur elsewhere in the drawing.Windows ‡ Reinforcement of window outlines.

Bathroom ‡ Undue importance given to the bathroom by making the window in that room the largest of all the windows. 18 .

Windows ‡ Placement of the windows. 19 .

Chimney Smoke ‡ Smoke emphasized. ‡ Smoke veering sharply to one side. as if indicating a strong wind. 20 .

House Perspective ‡ The house drawn as if the viewer is above and looking down upon it (the birds-eye view).in which the house is presented as if the viewer is below and looking up at it. ‡ Worm¶s eye view . 21 .

House Perspective ‡ Absolute profile refers to a house drawn with only the side presented to the viewer. is turned away making it unseen and less accessible. 22 . including the door or other entrance. ‡ The front of the house.

23 . if there is no back door. ‡ The rare rear view depictions.Perspective ‡ The house drawn from the rear. esp.

tree. person to the groundline reflects the patient¶s degree of contact with reality. ‡ Whether the contact with the ground is either firm or tenuous is of major diagnostic interest.Groundline ‡ The relationship of the drawn house. 24 .

Groundline ‡ difficulty presenting the drawing as a whole ‡ For example. choppy or sporadically-uprooted (in the tree) from the ground and toppling. 25 .

Accessories ‡ Some patients directly reveal their feelings of insecurity by having to surround and buttress their house with many bushes. 26 . ‡ A walkway. and other details unrelated to the instruction. easily drawn and well proportioned. trees. leading to the door.

Accessories ‡ A long and winding walkway. but with the width of the walkway narrowing too sharply. ‡ A walkway excessively wide at the end toward the viewer and leading in a direct line to the door. 27 . ‡ Fences placed around the drawn house are a defensiveness maneuver.

Tree ‡ The adult mind is capable of voluntarily assuming different attitudes in its perception and experience of the environment. ‡ The person can be at one moment the detached observer. 28 . the next moment be open receptively to all the impressions from the environment and the feelings and pleasures aroused by them. and in the next project himself or herself in emphatic experience with some object of the environment.

‡ What if the patient neglects the branches? ‡ Sometimes patients will draw a tree that is tossed by the wind and broken by storms.Tree ‡ The tree has been the symbol for life and growth. 29 .

Buck (1948) ‡ The trunk = a patient¶s feeling of basic power and inner strength (ego strength) ‡ The branch = patient¶s feelings of ability to derive satisfaction from the environment (a more unconscious level of the same area tapped by the arms and hands on the person) 30 .

± Holes placed in the trunk and animals shown peeping out of them. ± Faint. sketchy. and not elsewhere in the drawing. 31 .Details of the Tree ‡ Trunk ± Index of the basic strength of the personality ± Reinforced peripheral lines in this area of the tree. or perforated lines employed for the tree trunk.

32 . ‡ Roots drawn as if transparent. and takes hold of. the ground.Roots ‡ overemphasis upon the roots of the tree as it makes contact with. ‡ A talon-like grasps (the roots depicted as if straining to hold onto the ground).

33 .Paper-based tree ‡ Employment of the bottom edge of the paper as the groundline. with the drawn picture resting on that edge.

34 . reflecting the depressive¶s sapping of energy and drive.Paper-based Tree ‡ The use of faint lines. as well as the favorite tree content ± a weeping willow ± may provide clues to aid the differential interpretation.

Branches ‡ Branches represent the patient¶s felt resources for seeking satisfaction from the environment. ‡ Branch structures presented as tall and narrow. 35 . ‡ Overly long arms extending away from the body as if striving manfully. but the tree shows truncated and broken branches. reaching unduly upward and minimally outward to the sides.

36 . ‡ Occasionally a patient will abruptly flatten the top of the foliage area or crown of the tree. ‡ One-dimensional branches. that do not form a system and are inadequately joined to a onedimensional trunk (segmentalization). a subject will emphasize the upward reaching of the branch structure to the point where the top of the tree extends off beyond the page¶s top.Branches ‡ At times.

Branches ‡ Flexibility of the branch structure. or appear to have barb-like thorns along their surface. ‡ Branches that appear club-like or look spear-like with excessively sharpened points at the ends. 37 . with the organization of the branches proceeding form thick to thin in a proximal-distal direction.

‡ Broken branches and cut-off branches. 38 .Branches ‡ Two-dimensional branches drawn and unclosed at the distal end. ‡ Branches that are drawn so that they actually look more phallic-like than branch-like.

39 .Branches ‡ If the tree trunk itself is truncated and tiny branches grow from the stump. ‡ Branches that turn inward toward the tree instead of reaching outward toward the environment. ‡ An overly large branch structure placed on top of a relatively tiny tree trunk.

a tiny branch topping an overly large trunk. 40 . ‡ IF children¶s drawings. particularly branches. e.g. are sometimes drawn reaching appealing to the sun.Branches ‡ If the opposite extreme occurs.

Branches ‡ Occasionally. a child will draw a tree as bending away from a large and lowplaced sun. 41 . ‡ This is rare: secondary branches that are drawn spike-like and imbedded like thorns into the flesh of primary branches.

42 . rather than grow from. These small branches appear to dig into. the larger branches. are at the point of contact with the tree trunk or with the branches from which they grow. rather than being at the outer end.Branches ‡ The points of ordinary branches.

43 .Branches ‡ In a general way. the overall impression conveyed by the branches correlates with the broad personality dimensions of the subject.

Keyhole Tree ‡ The depiction of the trunk and foliage area as if one continuous line without a line separating the crown from the trunk. looks like a keyhole. 44 .

Split Tree ‡ The name for this drawing comes from the fact that the sidelines of the trunk do not have any lines connecting them to each other. each one forming its own independent branch structure. 45 . they extend upward.

Theme ‡ The implication of a sense of doom in the drawing of a tree with a buzzard hovering over it. 46 .

9% at the age of 10. and close to none by 14 years old. shows a propensity for weeping willows. 35% of kindergarten children.Tree ‡ Pregnant women often offer fruit trees and depressed patients. 47 . ‡ Young children will frequently draw apple trees.

Age ascribed to the tree ‡ Draw a tiny sapling rather than a full grown tree. 48 .

³is that tree alive?´. 49 .Tree Depicted as Dead ‡ Ask the patient. If the patient responds that the tree is dead has been associated with significantly maladjusted.

Person ‡ Self-portraits depict what patients feel themselves to be. the patient¶s right side to be portrayed by the drawn person¶s right side).g. ‡ Abstract ability allows the non-mirror image depiction (e. 50 .

the patient projects a picture of the psychological self into the drawing of the person. 51 . For example: ‡ Patients of adequate or superior height may draw a tiny figure with arms dangling rather helplessly away from the sides and a beseeching facial expression.Person ‡ In addition to the physical self.

and wearing a mustache on his lip. devil like person Toppling person losing equilibrium Mannequin-like clothes dummy Adolescent¶s drawn person carrying a baseball bat in one hand.Other examples of person drawings ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Aggressive. 52 . a tennis racket in the other.

‡ Drawing of a clown. 53 .Other examples ‡ A drawn woman who exposes a good deal of her drawn person¶s skirt up.

‡ Drawing of a woman with her hands thrust ecstatically in her hair wile dancing alone to music. ‡ Man with rigidly erect body with the absolute side view presenting.Other Examples ‡ Drawing of a person slumped into an arm chair rather than standing on feet (statistically norm). 54 .

while adolescent girls draw female movie star figures wearing evening gowns ‡ Ego-ideal ‡ Draw ego-ideal « better prognosis. 55 .Other Examples ‡ Adolescent boys frequently draw muscular athletes attired in bathing suits.

Size ‡ Typically the size tells about the patient¶s self-esteem. 56 .

anxiety/conflict. ‡ May also mean manic or expansive tendencies. 57 . ‡ Unusually large drawings indicate aggressive and acting-out tendencies.Size ‡ May also be related to self-confidence. ‡ Unusually small.

Heavy pressure = high energy. Unusually light. 58 . Light pressure = low energy Heavy pressure.Pencil Pressure ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Patient¶s energy level.

Stroke & Line Quality ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Long pencil strokes. Vertical movement emphasis. 59 . Short strokes. Horizontal movement emphasis.

‡ Drawings. where the outline of the figure seems to be so discontinuous that it appears as a series of disconnected dashes. many breaks in the outside boundary of the figures.g. e.Line Quality ‡ Discontinuous line quality. uninterrupted strokes. 60 . ‡ Straight.

61 .Lack of Detail ‡ Indicates withdrawal tendencies with an associated reduction of energy. ‡ Excessive detailing.

Placement ‡ Placement in the middle of the page= typical of most normal patients. 62 . ‡ On the left side of the page. ‡ On the right side of the page.

Placement
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Orientation and concern with the past. High on the page. Low on the page. Upper left-hand corner. Upper right-hand corner.

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Erasure
‡ Excessive erasure.

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Shading
‡ Excessive shading. ‡ Some shading (& erasure) is an adaptive mechanism ± an attempt to give the drawing a sense of 3 ± dimensionality.

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Distortions and Omissions ‡ Gross distortion. ‡ Moderate distortions and omissions. 66 .

except.Transparency ‡ Transparency can indicate poor reality ties. of course in the drawings of young children who are typically normal. 67 .

What if they don¶t? 68 .Sex of First Drawn Figure ‡ Most drawn same sex first (85 ± 95%).

Interpretations concerning body parts ‡ Head: ± Symbol of intellectual & fantasy activity ± Symbol of impulse & emotional control ± Symbol of socialization and communication ± Unusually large? ± Unusually small? 69 .

Hair ‡ Hair ± Overemphasis ± Absent? 70 .

71 . ‡ Unusually small or closed eyes.Facial Features ‡ Omitted? ‡ Over-emphasis of facial features. ‡ Unusually large or strongly reinforced eyes.

Nose ‡ Considered a phallic symbol or a symbol of power motive. ‡ Omitted? 72 . ‡ Large nose.

73 . or truncated. dim.Nose ‡ Nose drawn as a button or a triangle. ‡ Sharply-pointed. ‡ Shaded.

‡ What if the mouth was omitted? 74 . oral emphasis in the personality.Mouth ‡ Regressive defenses.

Teeth (adult)? 75 . Mouth with large grin.Other features of the mouth ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Slash line? Tiny mouth.

Ears ‡ Ears are often omitted by normal subjects. ‡ What if they are drawn in? 76 .

77 .Chin ‡ Over-emphasized chin.

Unusually long neck. Unusually short.Neck ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Link between intellectual life and affect. Neck omitted? 78 . thick neck.

‡ Large or broad shoulders.Shoulders ‡ Well-drawn and neatly rounded shoulders ± typically normal. 79 . ‡ Tiny shoulders. ‡ Broad shoulders. ‡ Absence of shoulders.

80 .Breasts ‡ Unusually large breasts drawn by male. ‡ Unusually large breasts drawn by females.

81 . ‡ Elaborate belt. ‡ Unusually high or low waistline. ‡ Excessively tight waist.Waistline ‡ A heavy line separating the lower body from the rest of the body.

Trunk ‡ Body symbolizes basic drives and therefore. ‡ If body drawn in fragmented fashion? 82 . attitudes related to the development and integration of these drives in the personality indicated by the manner in which the trunk is drawn.

Small trunk.Trunk ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ How do children typically draw the trunk? Large trunk. Trunk omitted by an adult. 83 .

‡ What does it mean if it is drawn? ‡ Normal for art students and persons in psychoanalysis & sex therapy patients. 84 .Genitalia ‡ Genitalia = rarely drawn.

Fingers ‡ Arms = type and quality of the patient¶s contact with environment. 85 . ‡ Arms folded. Hands.Arms. ‡ Arms behind the back. ‡ Arms relaxed & flexible.

Hands
‡ Hands placed behind the back. ‡ Large hands. ‡ Small hands.

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Hands
‡ Hands drawn as mittens suggest repressed or suppressed aggressive tendencies with the aggression expressed indirectly. ‡ Clenched figures = aggression and rebelliousness, or conscious attempts to control anger. ‡ Fingers without hands, or large fingers in adult drawings indicate regression; or infantile aggressive assaultive tendencies.
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Hands
‡ Long figures. ‡ Omission of fingers. ‡ Talon-like fingers or spiked fingers.

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Crossed legs. Short legs.Legs ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Legs or feet. Long legs. 89 .

Feet ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Elongated or large feet Emphasis on feet Omission of feet Small feet 90 .

low SES. or those who are shy and withdrawn. ‡ Also good for patients with limited education. 91 . limited intellectual ability. or who are mute. culturally deprived backgrounds. those who dk speak English.Evaluation of the HTP ‡ Nonverbal technique = greater applicability to children.

‡ Culture-free technique ± do not need elaborate command of language to get information.Other advantages ‡ Requires little time and is simple to administer. 92 .

Disadvantages ‡ Verbal patients are less responsive to graphic techniques than to other projectives. 93 . like the TAT or Rorschach. ‡ Psychomotor difficulties such as physical handicaps or tremulousness (geriatric patients) impede the analysis. Their personality expression is held back by their motoric handicap.

Disadvantages ‡ Patients with a paucity of inner life. provide a barren personality profile. 94 . These patients need something external to stimulate their mental processes. such as the schizoid patient.

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