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HOUSE-TREE-PERSON

BY

JACK M. FREEDMAN
**TRAINING IN ART THERAPY 2** NCAT 3101A** PROF. CHRISTINE ALESSANDRO**

GO PLACIDLY AMID THE NOISE AND HASTE,


AND REMEMBER WHAT PEACE THERE MAY BE IN SILENCE.

- Desiderata Ma E!r"a##

The House-Tree-Person Assessment (HTP) is used for the diagnosis of mental functioning and personality issues. Although art therapists generally do not administer this test, it is incorporated into psychological examinations. Employers often use the HTP to examine the psyche of potential employees. As an experiential, I too this test and !ill examine my process of ho! the images came into fruition. I !as assigned to dra! a house, a tree, and a person on separate sheets of paper in pencil. The next step !as to dra! a house, a tree, and a person on separate sheets of paper in crayon. The images did not need to "e the same. After!ards, I !as directed to !rite some notes after I finished. #$erall, I did see patterns in my dra!ings. The follo!ing paper !ill demonstrate these patterns, as !ell as the mood shift that transpired as I !as dra!ing.

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Hou ! "#!$%&'(

The first house that came to mind !as a four family "ric house on &anor 'oad in (taten Island, )*. I li$ed there from +,-. to +,,/. &ost of my youth, from age t!o to age fifteen, !as spent !ith my mother and father, as !ell as three other families. I remem"er the names of the ids li e it !as

yesterday. Their names !ere )adine, &itchell, &ilena, 0esse, Alex, and 1aura. #ur families !ere $ery close nit. &any summers !ould "e spent sitting on our porch, lighting firecrac ers on 0uly 2th, and catching fireflies. 3efore a ne! landlord controlled the "uilding, there !as a chain-lin ed gate and rose"ushes that ensured our pri$acy from the rest of the neigh"orhood. After!ards, the "ushes !ere chopped do!n and the "ric s !ere co$ered in concrete. Throughout my youth, it !as as if !e li$ed in a castle. These !ere carefree times. I immediately ne! this !ould "e my first image, as it "rought me the most 4oy !hile !axing nostalgic.

T)!! "#!$%&'(

The first tree I en$isioned !as my 5hanu ah "ush. 6hile many of my 5hristian neigh"ors !ere trimming their 5hristmas trees, !e trimmed a 5hanu ah "ush. Although the origin of the tree escapes my memory, it !as an integral part of my youth during the !inter season. The tree !as adorned !ith an eclectic array of ornaments and "lin ing lights. I used $ery little effort in depicting this tree, as my exact recollection of it is uncertain. &y parents and I attempted to recreate the 5hanu ah tradition in our current residence. The feeling !as far from the same. The "ush !as as much a part of my neigh"or7s tradition as it !as mine.

P!) o$ "#!$%&'(

I instincti$ely ne! the first person I !ould dra! !as my father. He passed a!ay on 0une ++th, 89+.. This !as six days "efore my "irthday and a !ee after I "egan my certificate program at The )e! (chool. E$ery"ody !ho ne! my father !ere immediately dra!n to him. They especially fell in lo$e !ith his accent, as he !as "orn in 0ohannes"urg, (outh Africa. He had a stro e at the age of t!enty, lea$ing the right side of his "ody paraly:ed. Although the stro e !as a challenge, he

perse$ered through it "y cogniti$ely retraining himself to spea , !al , and !rite. He met my mother in Israel. They got married t!o years after meeting and remained together for o$er forty years. He especially "eat the odds "y finding a 4o" as a research chemist at Hoffmann-1a 'oche. His cause of death !as another stro e, !hich affected the left side of his "ody. I !itnessed it occur, not no!ing that this !ould "e the last day my dad !ould spend in his home. As I type this, I am still $ery much in mourning. It still seems too soon.

Hou ! "%)*+o$(

The second house is a styli:ed $ersion of my current residence on Par $ie! 1oop in (taten Island, )*. 6hile my condo is actually !hite and "ro!n, the colors I used !ere "lac and gray, as I find li$ing there to "e dismal. I do not ha$e the same happiness here that I did in my pre$ious residence. In fact, I find that I ha$e more "ad memories than good in this house and consider the neigh"orhood to "e a mecca of conformity. &ental health issues arose during my adolescence. Episodes occurred !ithin a span of the first se$en years of li$ing here. (ince the houses are attached, I can often hear my neigh"ors screaming and !itness them gossiping a"out other people in the de$elopment. I usually try to fly under the radar. I made the s y different shades of "lue, as the s y is al!ays "luer outside of the de$elopment. I often see refuge in places that are natural, such as 6illo!"roo Par . This segues into my next image.

T)!! "%)*+o$(

This tree represents my desperate need for sanctuary. I al!ays $isit one particular tree in 6illo!"roo Par , located across the street from the de$elopment. I ha$e ta en numerous pictures of it through the years. E$ery season is represented in my collection of digital photos. The photos do

more 4ustice to the tree than the picture I dre! from memory. #ftentimes, I ha$e used this tree for shade and !rite poetry underneath the "ranches. The par itself "rings me delight, especially the !ide $ariety of !aterfo!l. I ha$e seen duc s, geese, s!ans, and cranes s!im through 6illo!"roo Pond. I often !al ed around that pond for exercise. I often listened to my iPod and play Pin ;loyd7s The Dark Side of the Moon as I !as !al ing. The music and nature al!ays made for a good !al through the par .

P!) o$ "%)*+o$(

The stic figure !ith the "urning head and <uestion mar s is me. 3y the time I got to this dra!ing, I had "ecome exhausted. Ho!e$er, I thin this dra!ing !as the most conceptual out of the six. )aturally, it represents confusion and frustration. I specifically pic ed the colors of the <uestion mar s to represent halftone printing colors (cyan, magenta, yello!, and "lac .) I studied graphic design in college and e$entually I !as o$er!helmed "y the field and !as unsure !hether I !anted to pursue it as a career. I set my head on fire "ecause of the constant flotsam and 4etsam of my thoughts and the hyperacti$e energy that currently exists in my mind. =i$en that green is my fa$orite color, I made the stic figure green. #ftentimes, I am still confused and need to gi$e myself some direction in life. It "ecomes "urdensome to organi:e my thoughts, especially !hen it feels li e they are racing li e cars in the Indianapolis >99.

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Throughout this process, I noticed a trend. 6ith the pencil dra!ings, I !as a"le to reflect on pleasant memories? !ith the crayon dra!ings, I started to sin deep into depression. Perhaps the reason "ehind this lies in the supplies. #ftentimes, the pencil represents more control and the crayon

represents less control. The pencil images !ere more relaxed, as the pencil point !as more relaxed !hen I dre! In fact, it glided in my hand. The crayons !ere more "urdensome, as I !as pressing hard on the paper and felt a sense of anxiety and e$en rage as I !as dra!ing !ith them. Another thing !orth mentioning is the regression I felt as I !as dra!ing. #ne regression too place !ith the pencil dra!ings. These !ere the good times in my past that !ere represented. I !as much happier in the past. The crayon dra!ings represented a regression to ad$erse feelings rising to the surface. It represented the sadness in my life and the aftermath of ho! I felt after my father passed a!ay. #$erall, these dra!ings are a tell-tale sign that I need a certain le$el of peace that I used to feel !hen I !as much younger. I !ent into this assignment thin ing that the color !ould "e more of a li"erating aspect to these dra!ings. In reality, the opposite occurred. I regressed to places I least expected to go. 3efore this assessment !as administered, I had an idea as to !hat I !ould dra!. Ho!e$er, the feelings that !ould "e e$o ed !ere a mystery. In conclusion, this !as an interesting assignment. 5ertain feelings I ha$e repressed o$er the years came to the surface as I !as dra!ing. E$ery time I do an experiential in this class, I disco$er a part of myself that I ne$er ne! existed. This is the reason I !ould li e to incorporate art therapy into a pri$ate practice. (ometimes, the art is the only sal$ation for one !ho suffers and is a form of expression more effecti$e than spo en !ords. The images I dre! represented more of my true emotions. At the $ery moment that this test !as administered, !ords !ould ha$e "een inade<uate to purge my inner demons.