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Art Therapy

Let’s review the Art Therapy Assessment.

1) It is a projective assessment, which means there is no universal scoring and no universal interpretation. So there aren’t any answer booklets or scoring keys.

2) The instructions are varied. Some are, “Draw a House.” Some are, “Draw a Person.” For this we are going to open it up even wider and say, “Draw What Comes to Mind.”

3) Make the assumption that what the subject draws is a ‘snapshot’ of what is going on inside their mind at that moment. AND, a snapshot of this moment is reflective of all moments.

4) Taking #3 to be correct, look over the picture the subject drew and ask yourself, “What does it tell me about this person?”

5) There is NO RIGHT WAY to interpret it. But that’s not to say some ways aren’t better than others. Certainly a doctor’s interpretation weighs more than a fifth grader’s interpretation. Certainly a Master’s Level student in Counseling’s interpretation weighs more than … you get the picture.

For some of you, this is freeing. You might be thinking to yourself, “Yes! Finally. Dispense with the books and now I can look from the heart and clearly see the mind of my subject in the art.” Or some of you might be saying to yourself, “Does that ring a bell or what?!! I can hear my colleagues wail with jealousy that I got to conduct an Art Therapy interpretation without someone telling me what it all means.” There is bound to be someone who feels like this is a breath of fresh air. A piece of cake!

Whichever it is, go have fun. But there may be one or two that may be overwhelmed and could use some guidance, at least on how to begin. I would have to defer to go back to the audio lecture of last Thursday and review the portion where I go over one possible method of interpretation. To quickly summarize, interpret the quality of the mind that drew the picture, not just the meaning of the content of the picture. In my opinion, it is more valuable to know what type of mind created the picture, rather than “It means they like butterflies”. When I say ‘quality of mind’, I refer to, “Is the mind that drew the picture one that leans towards extroversion or introversion? Is the mind that drew the picture one that leans towards emotional thinking or rational thinking?”

6) The organization of the final paper will be identical to the previous write ups.

Identifying Information

Observations: (Refer to page 345-346 Mental Status Exam in your text. Most information can be obtained purely from your observing the subject as they arrive for the session, during the test taking and the moments after the test taking. But there are one or two that you will have to deliberately ask. This can be done at the end of the session after you have conducted the Art Therapy Assessment, so your questions do not influence the subject’s responses to the Art Assessment.)

Results: A narrative description of the picture will take the place of scores. An attached jpeg or gif of the picture will take the place of a visual graph of the results.

Interpretation: Use your intuition and knowledge to craft a professional interpretation of the subject’s art.

Recommendations: Behavioral




For fun, add Spiritual

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