It is generally assumed by psychologists that childrens
drawings and paintings can be an aid to the study of personality.
I+,Iore recently these are being used as an adjunct to various
therapeutic techniques. But the rationale for their employment
as a diagnostic and therapeutic aid is,at the present
time,largely based on a worker's orientation and inclinations
and,as a part of psychotherapy they often become a tool which
may be manipulated by the therapist to serve interpretations.
In comparison with their large scale application in practice
the number of fundamental and empirical investigations in this
field has been small and no systematic studies about the total
significance of graphic methods in children with emotional
disorders exist. This fact led me to think that an empirical
investigation on experimental lines in conjunction with
therapeutic work could help in providing more than intuitive
clues to the manner in which serial graphic productions
fulfil a function in therapeutic methodology.'The research,
on the lines put forward by me,was approved by the Board of
Electors of Guy's Hospital as being suitable for the work
of the Sir Alfred Fripp Memorial Fellowship in Child Psychology,
which I held from June 1947 until December 1949.
Basic Aspects. The research contained in this thesis is
presented in three sections.These sections represent the actual
stages through which it has evolved during the period of three
1.A study of the foundations upon which further progress
in this field is to be built,and the definitions of aims.
2.The application of serial graphic methods to individual
3.The comparative examination of certain painting trends
in a therapeutic group of children.
Accordingly section I.gives a critical survey of some of the
more important work in the field of development and in those
aspects of personality study which have a direct bearing on
the method developed for this investigation.
Section II.contains a detailed account of the practical
application of this method from the clinical standpoint in
a boy aged 6 who suffered from asthma.Iere the main emphasis
has been placed on trends in form-expression.Spontaneous
verbal associations,given at various intervals in response
to serial productions,formed an integral part in the method
of eliciting the child's attitudes to these expressive trends.
A series of 28 consecutive microfilms in colour is presented
with this case report.
Section III. gives an account of the group as a whole and
postulates criteria for assessment of "primary graphic trends ".
These are concerned with kinesthetic elements in painting and
attitudes to space,colour and form.These criteria were initially
developed from empirical study of a large number of paintings.
Variants to graphic trends were studied by means of an analysis
in each child of 25 consecutive productions painted during
the interval of one year.The products were assessed with the
help of a four point scale.By means of this a much more accurate
impression of the total material as well as of the individual(r
contained therein could be gained than through empirical
examination alone.Finally the relationship between certain
extreme tendencies shown and the type of disturbance from
which the child suffered was examined.The various subsections
contain illustrative case material.
The therapeutic group on which these observations are based
consists of 40 children who suffered from a variety of
emotional disorders and somatic dysfunctions.In some of these
cases treatment and follow -up extended over a period of 4 years.
Selection was determined by age limitation,preference for
painting,a preliminary period of observation,exclusion of
children with defective or "dull "intelligence,and absence of
prolonged spontaneous remissions of somatic symptoms.
Graphic material sent with the "appendix" to this thesis
contains a further selection of colour micro -photographs
from many different children and a variety of original
productions.Table III.on page 154 contains reference numbers
for trait descriptions and illustrations in the appendix.
All this material is the property of the Department of
Psychological Medicine,Guy's Hospital,London S.E.l.
Conclusions. Very generally speaking these may be divided into
1.General conclusions about the clinical validity
of graphic methods in child therapy.
2.Specific findings about the differentiating value of
graphic _fora and spontaneous verbal associations.
1.) Serial methods in child therapy offer distinct possibilities
for diagnosis,treatrnent and prognosis with children who show
a preference for colour- media.(See p.23.)The meaning behind the
surface aspects of childrens' art work is more difficult and
complex than many recent studies lead us to believe.T'his applies
in particular tt interpretive approaches.The evaluation of
childrens' art work requires experience from the therapist or
2.)The question of specificity of formal traits and associated
verbal responses in the non -psychotic child is an interesting
one.Consistent traits are frequently seen in the serial patterning
over periods of time.Their value as indicators would depend on
our ability to isolate three main groups of components from
any individual series,
a.those that are relatively consistent with maturation,
b.those that are based on innate factors of the individual
c.those that are an expression of temporary emotional