The George Washington University Graduate Art Therapy Program 

The IATRD is in its preliminary phase of development.  Later this year, qualified individuals will be able to request a user name for access to the database collections. 

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Standardized Techniques

Non-Standardized Artwork

An Important Message about the Use of Assessment Data

In the field of psychology, drawing-based personality instruments such as the House-Tree-Person test (HTP) (Buck, 1947) and the Goodenough-Harris Draw-A-Person test (DAP) (Harris, 1963) are known to have poor validity and reliability. Specifically, it is understood that the interpretation of single elements in a drawing is not psychometrically accurate – i.e., generalizations about a client’s potential psychopathology cannot be made based solely on what he or she has drawn in a picture. The IATRD attempts to overcome problems of reliability and validity associated with traditional “projective” test data.

For one, data derived from assessments used by art therapists are approached differently than data derived from psychological projective tests. For instance, in art therapy, drawings are approached as reflecting changes in a person’s psychological state, whereas in psychology, drawings are examined as reflecting enduring character traits (please click here for a detailed comparison). Because most aspects of the art therapy approach differ from the psychological projective approach, the art therapy approach is a promising and novel one.

Quantitative data derived from the rating of formal elements in the IATRD will be “strengthened” and validated by triangulation, i.e., the inclusion of qualitative data in the database. Qualitative data is comprised of the participant’s associations to their artwork, which has been systematically gathered and undergone content analysis. Gary Groth-Marnat, an authority on psychological assessment asserts that when the artist/client is asked to elaborate on the meaning that their drawing has for her/him, then this interactive process creates meaning that is likely to be personally and therapeutically important...and it thus becomes both ipsatively valid as well as has potential therapeutic utility.