The HOUSE-TREE-PERSON or HTP by John N. Buck is primarily a kind of projective personality test that is originally designed to assess intellectual functioning of children from 3-10 years of age. It is widely known because this test can also be effectively used not only to children but also to people that is beyond the age of 3. The test is non-standardized and it requires no specific materials in administering such test which could help a therapist save time due to its simplicity and flexibility.

This is a valid and reliable test that can be utilized in assessing a person’s personality because clients who take this test are responding to unstructured stimuli in the form of their drawings. The Western Psychological Services 1948 commented that “H-T-P is often administered as the first in a battery of psycho diagnostic tests” due to the fact that it reduces anxiety or tension of the test taker and it contributes well in assessing a person’s underlying thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

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It is added that the primary purpose of the HTP is to be able to understand personality in terms of difference in culture, disadvantage in education, physiological, psychological or neurological disability or even to people who are from different cultures. Clinicians who used such kind of test can also obtain information such as maturity, flexibility, efficiency, personality, and adaptability. Administration The test-taker will be asked to draw a picture of a house, a tree, and a person which may take him an average of 2. 5 hours to complete depending on the type of test taker.

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Usually, a person with normal functioning takes less time in completing the test as compared to people with mental abnormality. Details on what to draw should not be told nor suggested to avoid unnecessary variables that would contribute to the invalidity of the taken exam. Variations may arise in this type of test. One website describes that HTP are sometimes drawn by phase – phase 1 with the use of a crayon and phase 2 which is drawing the same pictures with the use of a pencil. Some test administrators only choose either of the two or with the use of other writing materials.

Others choose to separate the drawings in separate drawing papers while others put all drawings in one. Another may even ask the client to draw separate persons of different sex. The main objective here is to make the client draw as good and as accurate as possible regardless of his skill in drawing. Upon completion of the drawing, the examiner will be asked questions about the drawing wherein the person has to relay his own description, definition, and interpretation. It was cited that there may be a total of 60 questions that a test administrator can ask about the pictures such as “Who is that person?

What is the person doing? ” or the client may be asked to tell a story that can be related to the picture. Development Many variations of the manuals used for interpreting the HTP are already out in the market. More and more interpretations are being developed to be published and these are used to ensure that the accuracy of test interpretations. Some of the samples of the works of therapists are The Manual and Interpretative Guide of the House-Tree-Person Projective Drawing Techniques by John N. Buck and revised by W. L. Warren, Ph. D.

where accepted interpretative concepts are supplied and the children and adults’ drawings are differentiated; A Catalog for the Qualitative Interpretation of the HRTP by Isaac Jolles wherein interpretations are simplified; The House-Tree-Person Drawings: An Illustrated Diagnostic Handbook by L, Stanley Wenck, Ed. D. provides a most complete interpretations of uncommon drawings and of specific characteristics that can be drawn out from the H-T-P drawings that are arranged alphabetically; and HTP, HTP Person drawing/ interpretations, booklets and forms are also produced that would help clinicians evaluate efficiently the client/s’ drawing.

Overview of Interpretations A person’s cognitive development may be measured from details that should be made evident, balanced size and perspective, and the organization and the quality of the complete wholes drawn and the person’s comments that may be spontaneously given or persuaded to give comment on. A person’s IQ level can then be determined from the completeness of the drawings that are expected to be present and the proper placement and sizes that should correlate with each one.

Drawings may also help us have an overview of a person’s personality or even his attitude based on his exhibited emotions while drawing because each drawing can arouse his conscious or unconscious associations. House is associated with the person’s home and those who are living with him; the tree is the person’s life role and his ability to derive satisfaction from his environment which reflects his feeling of basic power and the person’s flexibility in an organization; and the person wherein the involvement of past, present and the future interpersonal relationships are can be drawn out.

Essential details should be noted to be present on the drawings of the person. Any irrelevant details that are seen will immediately produce a different interpretation of the personality of a person. The absence of even a single detail that is essential, like the absence of the eyes of the person, is to be regarded as serious and the implications for the presence of pathology are greater. Non-essential details such as window curtains, fruits, flowers, jewels, neck, and so on have a limit of use or with a proper balance.

Excessive use of such detailing also suggests pathoformic over concern with environment in general or with the area symbolized or represented by the details used with which they are associated. Sample studies Two situations are studied to see how the state of a person can be reflected on a person’s drawings. The first is Navil, not his real name, a twenty-three (23) year old guy who is now a Nursing graduate and who used to work for a part time job on night shift after his duty in the Hospital. Due to his hectic schedule, Navil is found to be anxious from everything and he always aims to finish his tasks earlier before the deadline.

Because of this, he now become to have undivided attention when attending to things, which is why, it is suggested for him to take a psychological exam. Navil’s drawings are found to have heavy pressures in his lines and shading, thus, this can be a result of anxiety produced by his lifestyle. He also has excessive irrelevant detailing of the tree, where trunk and branches are exactly drawn. The drawing of his tree also validates the shading wherein the leaves are drawn and were given attention mostly by piece. This possibly suggests the obsessive compulsiveness of the person in terms of details.

We can understand from here why Navil is able to do his tasks on time though he has divided attention. A negative effect is still part of the drawing, or the anxiety part. Meeting the deadline might have pointed out the schedule set by Navil to himself, but it was found out from his drawings that he is indeed on meeting a coordinated deadline. After his graduation last semester, Navil was asked again to take the H-T-P. The transition is evident on his drawings, where heavy lines are changed with a healthier picture. The drawing of his tree is alive and healthy.

His drawing became not just the H-T-P but some details were also included. It also took him time to finish his drawing which is an indication of Navil’s freedom from previous responsibilities. We can draw from here that H-T-P given to a person do vary, that is why interpretations of the test should be given an accurate report by looking into the transitions made in the client/s’ lifestyles through their experiences. A well defined background check will be helpful that is basically gathered through an interview. The second one is Roxan, not her real name, a twenty-five year old woman who used to suffer from breast cancer.

Her treatment also included a psychological treatment due to her feelings of inadequacy and abnormality. The H-T-P is suggested for her to take by Ms. Fariddah Cristi, a Psychometrician, who is well-versed in administering and interpreting the test in their locality. It was evident on her drawings before her treatment her need for support which may come from her immediate family. It could be that her situation triggered for her to draw houses although the Roxan has stated from her previous interview that they were living within a large compound.

Her doors are so large that points that she is welcome for visitation, Other variables from the background of her drawing however indicate that Roxan experience fear and anxiety but she also feels environmental constriction. The face of the Person was to have complete features. This shows effort on Roxan’s part to be socially accepted whatever the outcome of the treatment may be. Roxan survived the treatment and after 3 days, the Psychometrician again asked Roxan to do the same test. It can be seen that Roxan has adjusted well after the surgery. She was able to produce a picture of a home that is rightly designed for the company.

It was also observed that Roxan was able to discuss more stories while drawing and she always like to give a theme for the said project. Commonly Drawn Themes House Drawing of the house should be considered as self portraits; but sometimes may represent a Subject’s home, a home out of his past, a home to which he aspires, or a combination of these. The overall clinical impressions of the house primarily should reflect a Subject’s self perception. In particular, these drawings may reflect one’s perception of one’s self in the home situation. Drawing of house by normal people may be expected to contain the essential details.

Absence of these details by persons over six years of age and of normal intelligence frequently indicated obvious intellectual deterioration or a severe emotional disturbance. Mostly all types of house drawn have large roof compared to the body of the house. A person in this situation is so much involve in their world of fantasy. TREES People tend to draw trees toward which they feel “the most emphatic identification” (Hammer, 1938). Tree drawing should be given a thorough evaluation. Clinical overall impression may be drawn from the trees due to its underlying importance as compared to the drawing of houses or people.

Some of the most penetrating analyses of interpersonal and environmental adjusting may be made from drawn trees. Drawn trees appear to reflect a self projection from deep, unconscious levels of personality. If the drawn trees appear healthier than the drawn person, it can be said that the result of interpretation may be relatively favorable, but if the drawn tree shows a less healthy impression than the drawn person, the prognosis may be negative. Drawing of trees by normal people may be expected to have the essential details such as a trunk and at least one branch.

The absence of these details in drawings by person’s average intelligence frequently indicates beginning of intellectual weakening. Trees casting shadows suggest conscious anxiety regarding past interpersonal relations while dead trees are usually drawn by individuals who are very disturbed psychologically that are associated with depressive and guilt feelings with possible suicidal tendency, severe inadequacy and inferiority feelings, neuroticism, withdrawal and schizophrenic conditions. Palm trees or coconut trees however are those who prides himself of his sexual power or strength.

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House-Tree-Person. (2017, Apr 14). Retrieved from


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