Thesis Title

The Use of House-Tree-Person Test in Diagnosing Mental Illness

Graduation Date

Fall 1997

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


This study investigated the validity and reliability of the House-Tree-Person projective drawing test in diagnosing Schizophrenia (psychoses). Major Depression, and Bipolar Disorder (most recent episode manic). In all, 25 subjects were administered the HTP drawing assessment, 9 subjects diagnosed with psychosis, 11 subjects diagnosed with major depression and 5 subjects diagnosed with bipolar disorder (mania). Scoring sheets of a check list of indicators of pathology for each diagnosis were developed from previous research identifying indicators and characteristics found in the drawings of each diagnosis. Two raters, trained in art therapy, used these scoring sheets to blindly rate the 75 drawings. The results show a high rate of psychotic indicators among all subjects, but highest among the psychotic subjects. Indicators of depression were highest among depressed subjects, and manic indicators were highest among the subjects diagnosed with bipolar (mania). Results demonstrate a positive correlation between HTP diagnosis and clinical diagnosis of subjects. The research identified 8 indicators with a high rate of occurrence among all subjects, and also identified which indicators were found most and least among each diagnosis. This study contributes to the research on the HTP Test, and suggests that as an adjunct to other assessments in the clinical setting, the HTP is a valid and reliable diagnostic instrument.