Diagnostic Drawing Series

Diagnostic Drawing Series (DDS)
Reference: Cohen, B.M., S., & Kijak, A.K. (1994). An introduction to the Diagnostic Drawing Series: A standardized tool for the diagnostic and clinical use. Art therapy, 11(2), 105-110.
Purpose: Standardized. Combines research methodology of social sciences with the attention to materials, task, and process of art therapy. Not predicated on one model of verbal psychotherapy. How to get the most info in one session. Employ materials and techniques compatible to art therapy. Reflect the affective and behavioral changes throughout the session.
Ages: Mostly used with adolescents and adults, although there is an additional DDS that addresses children.
Materials: Flat-sided chalk pastels, 18x24” 70lb white drawing paper. Designed to be worked on a table
1. “Make a picture using these materials.”
2. “Draw a picture of a tree.”
3. “Make a picture of how you are feeling using line, shape, and colors.”
Inquiry: No specific inquiry. The third drawing serves as a wrap-up.
Interpretation: Interpretation is based on color types/usage, blended colors, idiosyncratic use of color, use of line and shape, integration and abstraction, representation of the image itself (content), enclosures, ground lines, the use of people or animals, inanimate objects, line quality, line length, movement, space usage, how the pastel was used, what type of tree is depicted, placement on page, etc. For specific interpretation, extensive training is needed.
Strengths: Of all the art therapy assessments, the DDS is the most research-based assessment, and many drawings from this assessment have been archived. There is even a protocol that controls for effects of medication. The DDS has a standardized rating system and administration.
Limitations: Evaluators must have extensive and costly training to learn how to score assessments.
Reflection: This assessment feels like the exclusive country club of art therapy assessments in that the training is so costly and time consuming. I doubt that I will use this assessment any time soon! I do give the authors credit for finally figuring out a way to quantify art therapy, and I would like to learn more about the methods in case I ever have the opportunity to conduct research.


Monica said...

I am an incoming Art Therapy student for this Fall semester, and found your blog very helpful. I am doing a little research an art therapy assessments for this interview I have tomorrow for an internship, just wanted to say thanks.

Anonymous said...

Is there an allotted time for each drawing? I believe there is but not sure. I'm taking a test prep class for the ATBC examination so this would be helpful info to add to your description.

Thank you for your blog, i'll be referring to it often.

Anonymous said...

there are 15 minutes allotted per drawing.