The Human Figure Drawing: A Survey of Art Therapists

Graduation Date

Fall 2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Joanna Wallace, MA, MS, LMFT, ATR-BC


The purpose of this research was to gain insight into why the art therapy literature on the Human Figure Drawing (HFD) and Draw-A-Person test (DAP) was disproportionate to the mainstream psychological literature on the HFD and DAP. This research study utilized an internet survey to poll art therapists in the United States. Data was gathered from art therapists in order to assess if and how they use the HFD and DAP in their practice. The survey results established that most participants considered themselves familiar with the HFD and DAP assessments. The results ascertained that only a minority of participants regarded the HFD as a valid and reliable assessment. In contrast, the majority of participants believed the DAP was a valid and reliable assessment. The results of this survey determined that most of the participants do not currently use either the HFD or DAP assessments with clients (55 out of 81 participants).

Only available in print