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Psychology Essays - Children Neurological Test

Children Neurological Test

House-Tree-Person Test

Anguish engulfs life in many forms - lurking behind key sentiment. Bitter pain grips hearts, strangling breath; vague cries gnaw darkness. Every year countless amounts of children are in physical form or psychologically abused or neglected. Regrettably, the number of battered children who remain buried among shadow remains growing as liberation fails.

These children, as well as many others concealing different underlying feelings, fall through obscurity undetected, awaiting rescue - continuously holding trust. Therefore, through modern times, a new make an effort at personality interpretation and child abuse identification has been developed -the House-Tree-Person test. Can today ensure tomorrow?

What is it?

This specific projective personality test was developed by John N. Buck, in 1948 and modified in 1969. The test was released by European Psychological Services found in Los Angeles, California. The House-Tree-Person test (HTP) is a projective personality test in which the participant simply responds to or presents ambiguous, abstract, or unstructured stimuli -typically by means of pictures or drawings (Fahmy, 2007, p. 1). Usually, it is administered to anyone older than three.

Yet, because the HTP requires its individuals to pull, it is generally dispensed to children or children, which could be considered a significant element in why it is utilized in aiding child maltreatment detection. Corresponding to Buck (1977), "The House-Tree-Person is a method designed to help the clinician in obtaining information regarding a person's sensitivity, maturity, versatility, efficiency, amount of personality integration, and connections with the environment, specifically and generally" (p. 1). The HTP is very useful due to its simplicity, which facilitates in delving among individual's personalities, so that it is a very popular technique used today, especially among children.

The basic goal of the HTP is to "measure areas of someone's personality through interpretation of drawings and replies to questions" (Fahmy, 2007, p. 1). Yet, the test has also been reported to acquire helped assess brain damage or standard neurological performance. Essentially, through necessitating the drawings of properties, trees, and people, Buck believed these could provide relevant information about the functioning of any test taker's personality through a feeling of familiarity (Faymy, 2007, p. 1). Therefore, the HTP is a trusted tool in association with determining child abuse as well as through its encouragement of invisible self-perceptions and consciousness.

Interpreting Images

On average, the HTP takes about 150 minutes to finish, which merely adds to the test's level of popularity. However, this can change corresponding to whether the individual's particular personality performs on the list of "normal" scale range, which would take less time to administer, or if the test taker is neurologically harmed, that could take much more a chance to complete. The test has two basic phases: attracting and questions/interpretation.

Essentially, the first part of the test is to get a house, a tree, and a person, each on a separate piece of paper with only the label of the pulling at the top of each page, by using a pencil. The test taker gets the possibility to be as creative as they see fit throughout this completely non-verbal step. However, the examinee is allowed to only represent the particular picture with that they are asked to sketch and also to only use the drawing utensil which is given.

From this point, the examinee is allowed the possibility to describe, in a sense, exactly what they may have drawn - determining their artwork in association with themselves. Obviously, this is the phase through the test where in fact the examiner can commence to evaluate participant's personality aspects through their reactions toward each sketching. During the second phase, basically the same step taken in phase one occurs. The test taker is again asked to depict a house, a tree, and a person, but this time using crayons.

Then, the average person is again asked to make clear what they have drawn as well as how it concerns them in particular. During both of the individual's explanations, the administrator is given the chance to ask the test taker questions in relation to their drawings. Sample test questions range from, "Is it a happy house?", "What is the house made of?", "Is the tree alive?" or "How does that person feel?" depending on which particular drawing the questions are directed towards (Faymy, 2007, p. 2).

Depending on their answers to these questions and how they associate them with their pictures will surely bring out different personality interpretations for the administrator. Obviously, there will vary variations to the test consisting of pretty much phases, which include different writing utensils. However, this is the most basic and preferred form of the HTP implemented.

According to Buck (1977), "The items of House, Tree, and Person were chosen because they (1) were familiar items or ideas even to babies and toddlers; (2) were more willingly accepted for pulling by Ss of all age range and types than were other recommended items; and (3) seemed to promote more frank and free verbalization than does other items" (p. 1). Therefore, it is through these drawings that the psychologist can further evaluate a person's private perceptions and personal outlooks among their lives.

Due to the amount of overall flexibility provided through the HTP test, a number of valuable concerns and only this particular examination have been noticed. Regarding to Blain, Bergner, Lewis and Goldstein (1981), the test can be an important apparatus because it is disguised and unobtrusive, there are nominal intellectual needs, and it does not rely on mindful report (p. 668). Hence, individual's who are normally withdrawn, unrefined, or who typically unconsciously encumber repressed thoughts, such as young children in particular, will be likely to become a lot more adept at "coming out of their shell" in this particular testing situation due to the extremely non intimidating environment presented.

The HTP could be regarded as a nice ice-breaker, in a way, for clinician and participant to access know the other person and invite a far more relaxing atmosphere. Drawing allows the liberty of open expression, which does not intimidate, especially children. However, difficulty can often approach during the questioning part of the phases, which could develop participant's stress and anxiety and withdrawal.


In credit scoring the HTP, projective characteristics are blatantly surfaced. In essence, the HTP is assessed using a target quantitative manner and a subjective qualitative manner. Quantitative items are judged on a specific scale, gives a numbered report, and qualitative items are designated projectively if they could not be evaluated using the quantitative tabulation scales. However, different details provided within the test takers drawings exhibit very dissimilar standpoints.

Diverse details can apply differential value from the perspective of the intellectual degree of function only when they appear in the drawings as well as when they aren't present; likewise, some details provide no significant quantitative importance as far as the intellectual degree of function is concerned, plus some details have differential value only once considered with regards to other details (Buck, 1977, p. 35).

Some types of these characteristics could include lacking windows, smoke cigarettes issuing from the chimney, and only drawing one hearing of a person - each of these examples may represent very important regressed thoughts, that your psychologist attempts interpreting.

However, quantitative items are judged also matching to a "good" and "flaw" rating system. "Flaw" items were essentially those details which came out in about 50 or even more of the drawings of these which display lower intellect, and "good" items were those which emerged in at least 50% of the drawings of those of borderline intellect or higher (Buck, 1964, p. 20).

All in every, depending on what and what sort of test taker attracts could provide extremely significant cues into their subconscious perceptions, as well as their answers to the questions provided. For instance, Buck explains an examiner who is insecure may very well be found attracting symmetrical things such as two home windows or two chimneys, and maladjusted individuals sometimes attract sequentially such as using extreme details without little awareness for the partnership of the fine items together or as a whole (Buck, 1977, p. 84).

The fact that certain characteristic capabilities of drawings can be associated with guaranteed personality traits, can perhaps provide safe assumption that the HTP may bring out certain unconsciously concealed thoughts, which wouldn't normally otherwise surface, especially among children. Therefore, ideas related to disregard, abuse, anger, hurt, sadness and many other emotions could rise and give face to numerous functions which children employ, like battles or major depression, yet don't realize as to why they have got acted in this particular way due to their inability to understand this very idea. Hence, the HTP provides method of possibly allowing children as well as adults to "escape" turmoil's of their own brains and bring light to regressed thoughts through drawing simple pictures and interpretation.

Also, administrators of the HTP must be very well educated in the credit scoring of this particular projective test. Actually, the test publishers have provided an extremely detailed 350-web page administration and rating manual, which requires proper training to oversee. Basically, you can simply look at the picture and determine whether this person has a "normal" track record or not, intensive training must take place beforehand. Therefore, scoring of the HTP can be quite difficult indeed due to the amount of planning and knowledge which the test examiner must undertake and attain.


This test grants or loans many means of interpreting an individual's inner thoughts and thoughts as well as aiding in strengthening the partnership between counselor and children or individuals. However, the research greatly lacks validity and dependability proof, which includes made the HTP subject to significant criticism due to its shortness of stability.

However, the Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Man test has reportedly been a good projective personality test to administer in terms of psychometric properties, which when located with the HTP could assist in providing a much better range of trustworthiness and validity for the House-Tree-Person.

One of the reason why for the tests lack of validity and trustworthiness can be seen through its subjectivity. This bias may take place simply because the examiner just sees what is drawn on a bit of paper and hears what the child or adult says them about the particular drawing, alternatively than understanding the entirety of the individual's background and circumstances. Groth-Marnat (1990) relates, "It's been recommended that interpreters often use their intuitive judgments when interpreting the drawings of children somewhat than using proven credit scoring methods, even though they are available such as the D-A-P scoring solution to determine cognitive development" (as cited in Deffenbaugh, 2003, p. 8).

Therefore, critics can claim that HTP test administrators are not fully able to manage this particular test and may well not ever before acquire this opportunity. However, due to the nonexistence of stability and validity provided by this test, undeniable substantiation cannot be proposed by examiner's, which has been known to cause slight controversy in the direction of actually taking the HTP seriously. Groth-Marnat (1990) expands through stating, "This, relative pulling skill and potential, testing situation, intelligence, and the child's experience with previous projective drawing checks must all be studied under consideration and standardized to begin to make reliable conclusions" (as cited in Deffenbaugh, 2003, p. 9).

Essentially, the examiner cannot underestimate the test taker's previous experience or life situation; they need to consider these characteristics in advance and recognize that just because something is aloof in a drawing, this may well not necessarily cue trouble spots.

Target Areas

However, on the different be aware, the HTP has attempted to prove itself to experience a substantial role in suggesting child abuse diagnosis, which is a very important factor among today's modern culture for most different reasons from the increasing child's blatant denials to parents' excuses. For example, Von Hutton (1994) produced a credit scoring system for the HTP, pertaining to aim for children with personality and psychological characteristics, which may be present among those who are battered.

The system was composed of four scoring scales, which were preoccupation with sexually relevant principles (SRC), hostility and hostility (AH), drawback and guarded accessibility (WGA), and alertness for danger, suspiciousness, and lack of trust (ADST) (as cited in Deffenbaugh, 2003, p. 10). Essentially, the basic focus of the research was to find means of determining children who hold maltreatment characteristics and understand how to tell apart them from other kids.

The study contains 145 children, both male and female, who had been chosen from rural areas. The HTP was presented with to each one of the children, quite similar way as typical House-Tree-Person administration. The supervisors required several notes as the kids made their drawings. Yet, the only real difference of this presentation of the HTP was when the administrators have scored the children's drawings, requesting them questions which pertained to Hutton's recently developed size.

According to Hutton (1994), "Children with results in the 84-94%ile were judged borderline with possible misuse and the ones in the 95-98%ile were motivated significant scores and considered in the possible selection of being sexually abused" (as cited in Deffenbaugh, 2003, p. 10). Therefore, from Hutton's standpoint, this novel range provided the means possible to accurately determine child maltreatment.

After Hutton's review was completed, a spark of interest of HTP in determining child overlook overwhelmed many psychologists. Other studies were made, presenting known children of child abuse, to test the consistency of Hutton's scale. Sadly, although Hutton's rating system was found as successful in the tiny analysis it pertained to, they have yet to be efficiently duplicated, which means that it hasn't yet been judged as valid or reliable (Deffenbaugh, 2003, p. 12).

Therefore, the HTP could provide organized leads towards speculation of mistreatment towards children; alas, psychologists still cannot solidify this research because of the checks subjectivity. Yet, away from absolute proof, the HTP provides many well-equipped means of offering relaxing avenues of associating clinician and participant and can assist many psychologists among several personality alternatives correlated with individuals.

Tangled Perceptions - Presumed or Dismissed?

My view of the House-Tree-Person test is that, although it can't be taken completely very seriously, because of the face that no evidence of stability or validity stands, it continues to be a good test to administer for young children. I feel that it is an exceptional method for counselor and patient to essentially, become familiar with each other and find out they are in a tranquil and wide open atmosphere, which could essentially open doorways of chance for perceiving characteristics further along counseling sessions.

As considerably as interpreting drawings with regards to personality traits, I think speculation is all that is possible. I have performed at a daycare center for two years -kids love pulling, especially scribbling exotic exaggerations. Therefore, I find it hard to believe anything other than a child's creativeness, not home life, may be found among the list of colorful depths of 8X11 piece of paper.

However, I really do believe that you'll be able to use the drawings as a starting technique to allow children the flexibility needed to relinquish dread and begin discussing themselves as well as psychological events. Regrettably, I feel that to be able to provide a clear interpretation of the drawings in association with personality attributes, more knowledge is necessary about the patient on the whole before a solid conclusion can create.

On the other palm, I feel that using the HTP as a way of determining child abuse is a great strategy used because, though it does not completely confirm maltreatment, it does help to arouse suspicion as well as give the child the opportunity to come forth, which is a rare event in other situations. The HTP forces consciousness and allows pain relief. Redemption.

My mom is a foster mother or father since I used to be a freshman in senior high school. Many memory of children are living among silent edges of my home, each providing their own unique whispers. I have seen first side the difficulties children face every day amid hurt's flaming fringes. I believe any step towards improving this damage is a stride among guaranteeing tomorrow. Therefore, I think the HTP is, although unpredictable, a wonderful addition to our world of psychology.

Works Cited

Bergner, R. M. , Blain, G. H. , Goldstein, M. A. , Lewis, M. L. (1981). The Use of

Objectively Scorable House-Tree-Person Indicators to Establish Child Mistreatment.

Journal of Clinical Mindset, 37(3), 668.

Buck, J. N. (1964). The House-Tree-Person (H-T-P) Manual Supplement: Administration

and Interpretation of the H-T-P Test. LA: American Psychological


Buck, J. N. (1977). The House-Tree-Person Technique: Revised Manual. LA:

Western Psychological Services.

Fahmy, A. (2007). House-Tree-Person Test. Retrieved November 10, 2007, from

http://www. minddisorders. com/Flu-Inv/House-tree-person-test. html

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