When I tell people that I am studying art therapy they often say things like: “so if I showed you one of my drawings you’d be able to tell me what’s wrong with me?” Um… no. That’s not how it works. Everyone approaches artwork from their own experiences with their own perspectives, and therefore often interpret pieces very differently from one another. Sometimes they aren’t even close to what the artist themselves intended. But whatever comes from the artist through their creative expression is an extension of the self, and can possibly provide some clues, cues, or ideas that may be further explored, but as guided by the client’s needs (and not hasty therapist interpretations which may end up being misleading).
Yet there are some simple drawing tasks that have been developed that can act as basic assessment tests. Presented in this book are the Silver Drawing Test, which assesses cognitive and emotional development, and the Draw a Story assessment, which may be used to predict depression and aggression. These are two widely uses assessment tools, which can be administered by a range of practitioners in the helping professions.
The book itself details the development and application of these tests, and presents research studies, case studies, and specific areas wherein the test has been used. In this way, it can be shown the different ways in which the tests have either been shown to be valid, typical results and differences in different populations, as well as certain areas wherein the test may still require room for development and further research into it’s usage and the administering of it. I am giving the book a strong rating due to the fact that it was very understandable, particularly as compared to a number of the other books I’ve had to read for school lately. There were a lot of numbers presented and some of them went a bit over my head, but overall it wasn’t too tedious to get through as far as textbooks go.
For those who are interested, further explanation on what these two drawing tests involve can be found here (in my somewhat lengthier review).