In Which Order Should Family Drawings Be Made?
A Free Course About Interpretation
Institute of Projective Drawings
One Drawing Is No Drawing
A fundamental principle of interpretation is that ”one drawing is no drawing” (see Sehringer, 1992, p. 58).
It means that more than one drawing or paintings should always be made.
A fundamental principle of art therapy interpretation: "one picture is no picture".
The more pictures by a client the therapist looks at, the more certain and complex an assessment they are able to produce.
The more pictures that are made on different occasions the better the chances are of finding a specific psychodiagnostic meaning.
How To Compare Subsequent Pictures?
As a general rule, the examiner should look for similarities, differences and changes in subsequent pictures. Pictures made one after the other are rarely independent.
In subsequent pictures, look for similarities of form or content, as well as contradictory, changed characteristics.
Always look for the following:
- Similar formal-structural features
- Similar motifs, partial motifs or content
- Contradictory, opposing features
- Signs of continuous transformation
Fortunately, there are several family drawing techniques which you can apply in a sequence.
Sequence Of Family Drawings: Why Does It Matter?
Before going into the analysis, you need to know in which order the subject should draw the family drawings.
The two main rules:
- Start with general methods and progress to more specific tests.
- Questionnaire-type tests should not be performed before the drawing test.
If you mix-up the order of the 8 most important family drawings, they may become uninterpretable.
The Recommended Sequence Of Various Family Drawings
- Traditional Family Drawing
- Enchanted Family Drawing
- Animal Family Drawing
- Projective Mother And Child Drawing
- Kinetic Family Drawing
- Animal Kinetic Family Drawing
- Kinetic School or Kindergarten Drawing
- Bird’s Nest Drawing or Tree Family Technique
For adults, instead of the above, use the Regressed Kinetic Family Drawing – one of the most interesting and revealing technique (coming in the next chapter).
Now It's Your Turn
- Download the instruction sheet below.
- Start collecting different types of family drawings.
- Try them also in colors.
- Which are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!
Sehringer, W. (1992). Principles for the Psychodiagnostic Analysis of Children’s Drawings. In: Jakab, I., Hárdi, I. (Eds.). Psychopathology of Expression and Art Therapy in the World. Budapest: Animula, 46-81.
Vass, Z. (2012). A psychological interpretation of drawings and paintings. The SSCA Method: A Systems Analysis Approach. Budapest: Alexandra.
Next: Instructions and examples for the Regressed Kinetic Family Drawing – An especially revealing technique for adults...