when psychologists develop and improve comprehensive testing online
with a computerized and personalized interpretation, the cost should
be less than $100, maybe less than $50. That does not exist now.
Hopefully, when such a system is available, everyone will have an
annual psychological check up for better mental/emotional health,
just like they have their annual physical. Makes sense to me.
Next, we will discuss tests of a special kind which focus on our
We all see different things in the same picture because we have
different past experiences, needs, feelings, attitudes, and hopes for
the future. Our own unique emotional reactions influence how we see
things; thus, projective tests give us a chance to discover our
projected, often unconscious, needs and feelings. For example,
suppose almost all of the stories you made up to a series of pictures
involved trying to achieve high goals or receiving awards. Surely such
stories suggest a strong drive to excel. Suppose all the older women
shown in a series of pictures were seen by you (and not others) as
being cold, demanding, angry, and belittling. Surely one would wonder
about your relationship with your mother.
The "draw-a-person" has been used by clinicians for decades as a
projective test. Try it. Get a large sheet of unlined paper and two or
three colors you like and two or three you dislike. Draw yourself or
your family. Do not use the colors because they are appropriate, like
black for shoes, but use colors according to how much you like or
dislike a particular part of your body or according to how much you
like or dislike someone in the family. An alternative is to make an
abstract drawing of yourself or your family.
There are several ways to interpret such drawings. First of all,
artistic skill doesn't count but general demeanor and facial expression,
such as strong or weak and happy or sad, are important. Also, the
overall size of the self-drawing may reflect positive or negative feeling
(little means insignificant). There are several books written about the
interpretation of drawings (Keys, 1974; Machover, 1974), but I'll leave
you on your own. One of the best methods is to share your drawings
with a friend or a group. It is a good way to self-disclose and to get
other peoples' reactions to your drawings as well as to your
interpretations of your own self-portrait.
Of course, art is used as a therapy, as well as a way to understand
the person (Furth, 1988).
Instead of drawing your own picture, another projective procedure
is to make up a story to almost any picture with people in it. Clinicians
use a series of standard pictures called the Thematic Apperception
Test. Any picture will do. Select several pictures, then make up a
complete story about each one, i.e. describe what the people are doing