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The family drawing test is one of the best known childhood affection tests. It evaluates the way in which the child or adolescent perceives the relationships of the environment closest to him. It is an easy way to detect the quality of bonds, communication and the way children construct their reality starting from their family relationships.
This assessment test is already over six decades old. Created by the psychiatrist Maurice Porot in 1951, it is one of the most popular tools for assessing the personality of children aged 5 to 16. Although some professionals continue to be wary of the reliability of projective techniques, such as the tree test or the family drawing test, it must be said that their validity is widely demonstrated.
This test is combined with other more conventional resources, tests and interviews that together can offer us enough information to obtain a more accurate diagnosis. It is certainly a very interesting clinical proposal. A resource that has improved year after year and that presents us with a simple and quick mechanism to better understand the feelings, family relationships and the level of affective maturity of children.
What is the goal of the family drawing test?
As we can guess, the drawing is and will continue to be the symbolic scenario in which the child reflects a good amount of information. Drawings and play are two ideal resources for a child psycho-diagnostic evaluation. For this reason, the family drawing test becomes an ideal resource for any child psychologist or therapist. With this tool you will be able to:
- Know the difficulties of adapting the child or adolescent to the family context.
- Strengthen the quality of emotional bonds.
- Learn how the child perceives and feels family relationships.
- Identify possible conflicts with some family members.
- Assess the emotional and psychological maturity of the child or adolescent.
- Consider family communication style.
- Find out what worries him in his home environment.
On the other hand, it should be remembered that the emotional aspect is the most important element of the test. You don’t just want to get a drawing, the professional will also have to foster a serene and fluid dialogue with the child as he draws.
Stroke by stroke, line by line, the little one reveals his feelings, emotions and concerns, while immersing himself in his drawing.
How is the family drawing test carried out?
The family drawing test applies as follows:
- The child is provided with a sheet of paper and colored pencils.
- The environment must be comfortable and adequate to transmit appropriate closeness and trust to the child.
- Next, the child or adolescent is asked to draw his family.
- We will notify the child that we will not rate the drawing. The idea is that he is relaxed and has fun.
- As the child shapes the characters, the practitioner can start asking questions.
- To get more information from the test, you can ask the child the following questions: Who is this? What does he do? Do you feel comfortable with him / her? Who is happier? Who is less happy?
On the other hand, it is important for the psychologist to note the order in which the child creates the different elements of the drawing. It will also indicate the presence of scribbles, erasures, doubts in drawing, second thoughts, etc.
How is the proof evaluated?
The family design test was created with a psychoanalytic approach. For this reason, at the beginning the analysis of the same took place through an oedipal dynamic or the phases of psychosexual development established by Freud. Well, nowadays the interpretation is more standardized. Statistical methods are used, but the personal situation of each child or adolescent is also evaluated.
Let’s see below some elements of evaluation of the family design test.
- Size and place. Large designs denote confidence. On the contrary, the small and molded figures in one corner of the sheet demonstrate fears and insecurities.
- Curves and straight lines. The designs with angles and curves demonstrate dynamism and maturity. Conversely, those in which only straight lines, scant shapes and / or very stereotyped and poor figures appear often show immaturity or inhibition.
- Order and distance. One aspect that we must evaluate is the order in which each figure was drawn. It is more common, for example, that you start by drawing the mother or, depending on the case, the person with whom you have a closer emotional union. Another detail to evaluate is the distance that the child establishes between some characters and others.
- Omission of certain figures. A common fact is that some children omit themselves from the household picture. This is a fact to be evaluated and taken into consideration. Similarly, the omission of one of the parents or of a brother or sister can be the reflection of a refusal towards them.
To conclude, remember that the family drawing test is not used as the only resource to offer a diagnosis. Together with interviews and other standardized tests, it will offer us enough information to be more accurate and concrete in the assessment.
This tool, like any other projective test, constitutes a direct access door to the emotional world in which drawing always remains the best communication channel. A scenario in which we feel free to reflect fears, worries or problems.