A Cautionary Study: Unwarranted Interpretations of the Draw-A-Person Test

David Smith, Frank Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Therapists have numerous psychodiagnostic instruments at their disposal for use in assessing patients, although no one can achieve competency in more than a small minority of them. The issues addressed here bear on the penchant of some otherwise competent professional psychologists to use such specialized instruments (a) for which they have not received adequate formal training, (b) without compliance with canons of sound interpretation presented in the research literature as well as the relevant manual, and (c) for which sufficient evidence of validity is lacking. In this descriptive study, use of the Draw-A-Person Test (K. Machover, 1949) by a sample (N = 36) of clinicians provides grounds for these concerns. Some reasons that might dispose psychologists to such practice are proffered, and some implications for clinical praxis as well as for training programs are examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


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