Interpret Drawings For Play Therapy & Art Counseling

Use the below art therapy interpretation drawings information as a quick reference guide to your art therapy practice.

play therapy

Quick Reference: Learn To Interpret At- Risk Clients Through Play Therapy & Art Counseling Drawings.

Placement of a Play Therapy Drawing:

Top of page: Lives in a fantasy world, withdrawn, avoids others

Bottom of page: Insecure, dependent, needy

Middle of page: Range of normalcy

Heavy pressure on drawing of lines: Trauma or Aggression

Light pressure: Fear

Shading: Anxiety, if on genitals then possible sexual abuse or sexual identity conflict

Lots of details in the drawing: Possible sexual abuse or need to control

Constant Erasures in drawing: Anxiety and Stress

Small Figures or Drawings: Insecurity, possible depression, low self-esteem, withdrawal

Large Figures or Drawings: Poor Locus of Control

Slanted Figures: Unstable, insecure, possible mental imbalance

A-Sexual Gender: Possible Sexual Trauma

Drawing in Profile: Withdrawn

Stick Figure: Insecure or depressed

Ears: Paranoia / Suspicious

Eyes:

Eyes/ Large: Suspicious

Eyes / Small: Guilty or withdrawn

Closed Eye: Withdrawn

Feet:

Long: Possible Sexual Relevance

Tiny: Dependency and withdrawn

Hands:

Absence of Hands: Possible sexual abuse or sense of “helplessness.”

Large Hands: Aggressive or hostile

Small Hands: Insecure

Hidden Hands: Guilt

Mitten Hands: Repression of aggressive feelings but showing compliance outwardly.

Fingers:

Long : Aggressive

No Hands: Aggressive

It is very rare for a child to draw genitals or breasts. Any drawings of genitals (or possibly breasts) is usually an indicator of possible sexual abuse.

Look carefully at all parts of the drawing and do further assessments on the play therapy client.

Hair: Messy: Confused Shaded: Anxiety

Head (Ego) Large: Fantasy Thinking Small: Possible O.C.D.,

Lips: Open Mouth: Possible Sexual Relevance or neediness

Long Neck: Emotional Numbness Thick Short Neck: Aggressive

Weak Neck: Fragile

Large Nostrils: Aggression

Lopsided Shoulders: Unstable

Teeth Exposed or Jagged: Aggression or Anger

Sexual Characteristics of Drawings to be aware of:

Vampire Teeth or Monster Teeth

Deformed Image

Body without lower parts

Stick Figures

Missing Hands

Overemphasis of the mouth

Eyes hidden by dark glasses

Genitals

Monster fingers

Big hands

Cross eyed

Showing Teeth

Legs very close together

Clouds, snow, tumultuous waters , or rain

References: Lynne Cantlay, “Detecting Child Abuse”


Interpret Drawings to Art Counseling

Interpret Drawings to Creative Counseling 101 Home

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