- ACTIVITY 2 – House/Tree/Sun/Water/Animal Drawing

(Whitsundays, Australia)

House Tree Sun Water Animal Art Therapy Activitiy

House Tree Sun Water Animal Art Therapy Activitiy

House/tree/sun/water/animal drawing – this exercise is an extension of the house/tree/person drawing and has been used as a projective personality test, predominantly for children and testing brain functioning. Interpretations of the test are subjective in nature but the creative process itself can illuminate some relationships, themes and concepts that can prompt further discussions.

I was interested in this activity because I remember doing a similar one in my teenage years – although I can’t remember the details, I thought it was a very interesting representation of different factors in my life at the time. I enjoyed this activity immensely (even though it was only sketched out in grey lead – next time I will add some vibrant colours but I just used what was at hand!) and had a little giggle at the animal ‘ego’ representation! I couldn’t get the idea of a peacock out of my head, even though I assumed the subjective analysis would be something to do with pride and vanity so I went with my first thought anyway!


ANIMAL: Forefront, darkly shaded, numerous ‘eyes’ on the tail, head facing the front – it is quite a strong image in the picture. Personally I have always loved the peacock symbol – despite its obvious superficial associations with nobility and pride (and bad luck in some western interpretations). I featured peacock feathers throughout my wedding as a sign of beauty, immortality, commitment and loyalty because peacocks mate for life. In Buddhism, peacocks symbolise wisdom and purity and their feathers are used in purification ceremonies. The peacock is also sacred in India and is a symbol of good-luck.

HOUSE: Although the large door is closed the house looks warm and inviting and smoke plumes from the chimney. I also included a large door knocker which invites guests to step inside the warmth. In some interruptions it is suggested that smoke can be a sign of sickness but I feel the smoke adds warmth to my home, cosy fires and family sitting together all warm and toasty! The house has 2 large windows with open curtains and lots of plants and flowers welcoming the visitor around the front door.

WATER: the water is definitely situated in the background of the picture but does incorporate the entire width of the page. There are small rocks, grass and plants growing around the stream/river that winds its way through the painting toward the back of the house. Some interpretations would associate water with the mother and some with friends or even the unconscious. In either the mother or unconscious interpretations I feel the water image is a constant in this picture….It is not in the foreground taking all the limelight but is consistently there, flowing across the picture providing sustenance and support to all other elements (that pretty much optimises my mother!)

TREE: the tree features strongly in the foreground, shading one side of the house and offers lush foliage and a bird singing in a nest in the branches of the tree. There are also lots of plants and flowers in bloom at the base of the tree. The tree appears to play a protective role next to the house and is mirrored on the other side by the Peacock. As a representative of interpersonal or family relationships in my life (some interpretations have associated the tree symbol with the mother figure) this tree seems large and protective but also offers joy and beauty with a plethora of flowers and bird singing in the branches.

SUN: the sun is strong with expansive rays and is situated slightly behind the house. It seems to bathe the entire scene in its warmth and expansiveness. As a symbol of the father figure the sun image seems uncomplicated in this picture – it is undoubtedly strong and all pervasive in its effect and warmth but is also slightly in the background…that would be a pretty reasonable assessment of my relationship with my father.

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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed  mental health professional immediately.

"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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