A projective test is a test in which the subject expresses his personality, feelings and experiences through a spontaneous creation, namely a drawing, or a personal interpretation of given figures.
As already mentioned in the previous article, projective tests are only one tool among all those that can be used to make a diagnosis. In concrete terms, the child psychology often uses family drawing, that Louis Corman was the first to study in 1961.
A simple study of family drawing allows us to see what is its real place in the family environment, the one he feels to occupy, his emotional ties, or the jealousy he may feel towards such or such family member.
When interpreting a test, and in this case a projective test in the case of the family drawing, one must be well aware that the test can only reflect the sensations of the child. child at some point in his life, and from his own point of view.
It would be completely unaware of making a complete diagnosis of the individual problem of the child or his family environment based solely on the family drawing.
Now let's see how to interpret a child's family drawing:
The drawing process
Unlike other types of tests, with regard to the family drawing test, the person who will analyze the drawing must be present throughout the test, of course without intervening.
The instructions given to the child are very simple: "Draw a family". If the child asks if he has to draw his own, invent one, or if he asks for more details, the answer must always be vague: "Draw a family".
From there, and while the child is drawing, several elements must be observed:
– The importance of its blocking: the child takes time to start, or does not start by drawing the characters but a house or another element …
– Which character he draws first, and the order of the following characters.
– If there is a character who takes more time than others and he persists to erase to better redraw.
The finalization of the drawing
Once the drawing is finished, we ask questions to the child :
– Who are these characters? If a family member has not been drawn, ask them why. Often, one of the brothers and sisters is not drawn, which is often due to jealousy.
– What character does the child identify with? Who is he on drawing?
– We ask him a small series of purely emotional questions: Who is happiest and why? Who is the saddest and why? Who is the meanest? Who is the nicest? Why ?
Once all this information is collected, we have a clearer idea of the child's feelings, which completes the interpretation of the drawing itself.
How to interpret the family drawing
As has already been said, when interpreting the children's family drawing, we do not focus on the aesthetic perfection of the drawing.
One of the most important things to look at ispsychomotor evolution of the child. Indeed, sometimes "errors" or "omissions" can be explained more by the immaturity of the route than by problematic situations relating to the family environment.
Two main aspects of the drawing are analyzed:
1. The graphics
The graphic design is observed through the prism of several aspects related to the drawing itself, as well as to its orientation on the plane.
In broad outline, the following conclusions can be drawn:
– The cut drawing: a large drawing often conveys vitality, extroversion and generosity; while a smaller or normal size drawing would evoke a bad self-image and a feeling of inferiority.
– Theorientation drawing: if it is oriented to the left, it may mean that the child is behind the others and is largely dependent on the family. If the drawing is oriented to the right, the child is more sociable, has more confidence in him, and has good relations with others.
– The situation drawing on the page: a drawing at the top of the page evokes joy and spirituality; a drawing at the bottom of the page evokes pessimism but also a tendency to act in a practical way. A drawing located in the middle of the page, informs on the objectivity, the self-control and the good sense of the child.
– The shape of the route If a skilled child makes a drawing in which straight lines predominate, then it is a child for whom reason has priority over feelings and who has trouble communicating affection.A drawing where curves are ubiquitous is made by a very sensitive and affectionate child.
– Theplot intensity : a very fine pressure or almost nonexistent shows that the child attaches great importance to the eyes of others. Strong pressure translates into a well-established self-confidence.
2. The content
We will now analyze the different aspects related to the interaction presented by the different characters of the drawing.
– The developed work : the schematized drawings evoke dynamism, exploitation of the effort and control of affectivity. The very elaborate drawings, they translate a great capacity of concentration. Incomplete drawings indicate a great lack of assurance and a source of problems, some of which are missing.
– Thecharacter action : There are very static drawings, in which the characters are drawn next to each other and do nothing. This denotes emotional problems in the child. There are also dynamic drawings, which tell a lot about the well-being and maturity of the child.
– Thebalanced between the drawings: when the characters have a proportionally correct size, it is because the child feels in harmony with the other members of his family environment. On the other hand, the disproportionate characters are very revealing. For example, it is common for young children to draw their mothers much better than the rest of the characters.
Once all these data have been collected, it is necessary to give them shape by establishing a connection between the actual data available on the family (number of members, more frequent presence of the father or the mother …), what the child has told in his drawing, and the interpretation of the drawing in him -even.