Using Drawings in Clinical Practice : Enhancing Intake Interviews and Psychological Testing book cover
1st Edition

Using Drawings in Clinical Practice
Enhancing Intake Interviews and Psychological Testing

ISBN 9781138024069
Published February 17, 2016 by Routledge
202 Pages

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Book Description

Clinicians are always in need of enticing techniques to engage clients on a daily basis, especially those who are nonverbal or initially opposed to feedback. Using Drawings in Clinical Practice provides a rich variety of drawing directives to enhance the diagnostic process. In this highly illustrated text, clinicians will discover the tools they need to interact effectively with their clients. The book places special emphasis on intake interviewing and psychological testing, where the potential for uncovering hidden conflicts and therapeutic direction is especially poignant. Case studies provide a comprehensive overview of how to introduce simple drawings and gain remarkable insights. Using Drawings in Clinical Practice is a crucial guidebook for professionals who seek new ways to facilitate meaningful communication and interactions in their practice settings.

Table of Contents


Case study – Sarah E.

Using drawings in clinical settings

Why use drawings?

Case study – Cheyenne R.

Drawings can be reassuring

Case study – Paul K.

Case study – Alice W.

Strengthening insight and problem solving

Disclosing temperament

Case study – Sam K.

Identifying goals and motivation

Talking through images

Vital points

Expansion of interpersonal engagement

Stimulating inspiration

Case study – Marcia T.

Concluding remarks


Chapter 2: FOUNDATIONS OF CLINICAL DRAWINGSHistorical aspects of clinical drawings

Images of psychological maturation

Developmental sequences

Cognitive maturation

Case study – Paul B.

Emotional indicators

Case study – James D.

Symbols of mental illness

Freud and Jung

Creative pursuits in psychotherapy

Case study – Elizabeth G.

Art therapy as a discipline

Interactions of art therapy and psychology

Case study – Lakandra F.

Case study – Charlotte P.

Controversies in drawing interpretation

From psychology to art therapy assessments

Silver drawing tests

Diagnostic drawing series

The person picking an apple from a tree

Enhancement to assessment

Cautionary tales

Concluding comments


Chapter 3: HOUSE-TREE-PERSON AND VARIATIONSHuman figures and everyday objects


House drawings

Case study – Keli R.

Case study – Karl C.

The tree

Case study – Sakura R.

Case study – Sierra A.

Human figures

Case study – Joseph S.

Case study – Melissa B.

Case study – Monique W.

Kinetic house-tree-person

Case study – Mandy S.


Case study – Toni N.

Family drawing procedures


Case study – Marla B.


Case study – Arlene G.


Case study – Eddie C.


Case study – Alice W.


Chapter 4: ALTERNATIVE DRAWING DIRECTIVESBroadening the interpersonal encounter


Case study – Lauren F.


Case study – Nosian H.

Family shield

Case study – Albert J.

Draw your world

Case study – Amku L.

Draw yourself with friends

Kinetic school drawings

Case study – Kesandra B.

Draw your "ideal" self

Case study – Carla S.

Draw your (current) mood

Case study – Consuela L.

Defining and resolving problems

Case study – Alysha G.

Before, during, and after crises

Case study – Loren Y.

Ending remarks



Case study – Jacob D.

Conducting an initial interview

Case study – Lori S.

Behavioral observations

Case study – Eduardo L.

Case study - Randall M.

The crux of the interview

Types of clinical interviews

Intake interviews

Case study – Marilyn C.

Mental status exam

Case study – Breanna P.

Trauma interviews


Case study – Kienna T.

Trauma symptom inventory

Case study – Nina F.

Trauma symptom checklist for children

Case study – Leyanna G.

Sexual abuse indicators in drawings

Case study – Louis T.

Benefits and limitations

Case study – Cheryl N.

Family evaluations

Sharing of conflicts

Case study – Jason A.

An enhancement to practitioners



Case study – Max T.

Case study – Janette B.

Psychological testing within the assessment process

Requests from treating professionals

Case study – Carlos B.

Responding to referral questions

Case study – Malcolm S.

Identifying presenting problems

The role of psychologists

Case study – Deborah M.

Case study - Charles L.

Puzzles that need solutions

Principles of psychological testing

Components of psychological evaluations

Selecting a test battery

Intellectual assessment

Academic achievement

Neuropsychological testing

Personality measures

Behavior rating scales

Projective techniques

Drawings in the test battery

Case study – Janice L.

Case study – John R.

The psychological report

Summaries of psychological evaluations

Marvin S.

Allison T.

Closing words


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Gerald D. Oster, PhD, has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings for more than 35 years. He is currently providing therapy and assessment services in private practice; he also supervises graduate students in psychological testing. In the past, he held the titles of clinical associate professor of psychiatry and psychology internship director. He has co-authored numerous books and professional publications, including Using Drawings in Assessment and Therapy: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals.


"Using Drawings in Clinical Practice is a gift to the field. Through a comprehensive approach describing the use of drawings as aids in the cognitive and emotional understanding of clients in mental health practice, Oster provides a valuable counterpoint to highly structured diagnostic and treatment systems that often are unable to provide an in depth understanding of clients' inner lives. This important book should be of value to a diverse group of mental health practitioners."

—Stewart Gabel, MD, former chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Children's Hospital Colorado

"Gerald Oster has written a comprehensive and expansive book that can be used as a teaching tool for mental health professionals and students. The case studies are personalized, pertinent, and thought provoking. The drawings tangibly display worries and concerns so they can be evaluated for the benefit of healthy therapeutic interventions. Throughout the book, Dr. Oster describes methods all mental health professionals can utilize in their everyday practice. From introduction to evaluation to closing, this book gives in-depth insight."

—Marcie Brooks, MA, LPCC, therapist in private practice and adjunct faculty at Southwestern College

"As a psychologist using drawings mainly with my PTSD/DID clients, I appreciate this book’s coverage of reasons to use art forms, case vignettes, historic background, and resources. Therapists of all experience levels will find Using Drawings in Clinical Practice useful; it has encouraged me to offer drawing to my adult clientele. Thank you, Dr. Oster!"

—Joan M. Offerle, PhD, Austin, Texas

"Gerald Oster has written a richly detailed and highly accessible guide to generating and making strategic use of images in assessment and therapy, regardless of one's theoretical orientation. This thoughtfully constructed text empowers clinicians to compassionately elicit drawings and verbal metaphors to support efficient rapport building, emotional expression, and perspective taking. Clients of all ages and diagnostic histories can benefit from these simple, brief approaches and the conversations that ensue. Plentiful case illustrations aid the reader's learning."

—Joshua Semiatin, PhD, clinical psychologist, Baltimore, Maryland

"Gerald Oster's Using Drawinsg in Clinical Practice... provides strong support for the use of these drawings when working with challenging clients, and he argues that projective drawings help in developing more accurate treatment recommendations for the client... Oster includes rich case examples and sample drawings to enhance his discussion of these tools... Oster provides numerous drawing tasts taht will be useful to clinicians looking to connect with clients and aid in gathering data to inform treatment."

--Meera Rastogi, University of Cincinnati, PsycCritiques