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How to Interpret the House-Tree-Person Test

By Jaime Coyne, eHow Contributor The house-tree-person test can be an effective way to evaluate children, people with brain damage and people with a limited ability to communicate for personality disorders. A projective personality test, the house-tree-person test requires the test taker to draw a house, a tree and a person. The test is then used as a measure of self-perception, outlook and sometimes brain damage. Interpretations of the test are subjective, and based loosely on a set of basic principles. Have a question? Get an answer from a Medical Professional now!

Instructions
1. House Interpretations
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1 Notice the size of the house: a small house represents renunciation of family life, while a large house means the person is overwhelmed by his family. 2 Observe the walls of the house: weak lines represent fragility in the ego, while strong lines mean the need to fortify boundaries. 3 Determine the amount of detail put into the roof: the more detail, the more the person concentrates on fantasies, while an incomplete roof means evading formidable ideas. 4 Note the inclusion of windows, doors and sidewalks, which indicate openness to interacting with other people. 5 Discern the inclusion of bushes, shades, shutters, bars and curtains, which indicate a person's hesitation to open himself to others.

2. Tree Interpretations
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6 Notice the size of the trunk: a small trunk represents a weak ego, while a large trunk means a larger ego. 7 Observe whether the trunk is split in half, which indicates a split personality. 8 Determine what kind of limbs were drawn: detached or small branches represent a difficulty communicating with others, big branches mean connecting with others too much, pointy branches indicate hostility and dead branches represent desolation.

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9 Note whether leaves are included: drawing leaves represents successfully connecting with others, while no leaves means emptiness and detached leaves indicates a lack of nurturance. 10 Discern the details of the roots of the tree: while normal roots represent a grounded person, a lack of roots means instability, exaggerated roots indicate an obsession with examining reality and dead roots represent feeling completely removed from reality.

3. Person Interpretations
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11 Notice the position of the arms: open arms represent an inclination to connect with others, closed arms mean hostility and disconnected arms indicate defenselessness. 12 Observe the position of the hands: pointed fingers and balled fists represent hostility, while hidden or gloved hands mean antisocial tendencies. 13 Note the details of the legs and feet: figures cut off at the bottom of the paper represent powerlessness, while both large and small feet mean the need for greater stability. 14 Determine the details of the mouth: an open or large mouth represents dependence, a closed mouth means rejection of needs and a slash mouth or teeth indicate verbal hostility. 15 Discern how detailed the face is: the use of more facial details indicates a person's need to portray himself in an acceptable way.