An interesting Projection technique, the proof of family design

The test of the design of the family is one of the most well-known tests of infant affectivity. He evaluates the way in which the child or adolescent perceives the relationships of their immediate surroundings. It is a simple way to assess the quality of links, communication and the way children build their reality from their family relationships.


This evaluation test has more than six decades. Created by the psychiatrist Miles Porot in 1951, it is one of the most common instruments for assessing personality in children aged 5 to 16 years. Therefore, although there are currently some professionals who still distrust the reliability of projection techniques, such as the tree test or the family drawing test, it can be said that its validity is widely proven.

"One of the best things that can happen in your life is having a happy childhood." -Agata Christie-

This test is used in combination with other more standard features, tests and interviews that together can offer us enough information to provide more accurate diagnoses. We are without doubt before a very interesting clinical proposal. A feature that has been improving year after year and that presents a mechanism as simple as fast to better understand feelings, family relationships and the level of emotional maturity of children.

What is the purpose of the family design test?

As we can already guess, the design is and will continue to be that symbolic scenario in which the child reflects a good amount of information. Drawings and games are two ideal resources for child psychodiagnosis. Therefore, the family design test is established as an ideal resource for all child psychologist or a therapist. The objectives that you will achieve with this instrument are the following:

  • Know the difficulties of adaptation of the child or adolescent in their family environment.
  • Strengthen the quality of the union.
  • Know how they see and how they feel family relationships.
  • Identify possible conflicts with some family members.
  • Evaluate the emotional and psychological maturity of the child or adolescent.
  • Evaluate the family communication style.
  • Discover what worries you in your family environment.

On the other hand, you should remember that the most important aspect of this test is the emotional aspect. With that, we're not just looking for a design. The professional should promote a comfortable and fluid dialogue with the child while he is drawing. Tracking to track, line by line, the child should be opening their feelings, emotions and concerns when diving in their own design.


How is the family design test administered?

The family design test is applied as follows:

  • The child is offered a sheet and a colored pencil.
  • The environment should be comfortable and provide the child with adequate proximity and confidence.
  • Then the child or adolescent is instructed to take out his family.
  • The child will be warned that we will not assign a note. The idea is to draw relaxed, and even take advantage of the moment.
  • Later, as the child shapes the characters, the professional can start asking questions.
  • Therefore, one way to get more information about the test is to introduce the following questions: Who is this? What does? Do you get along with him / her? Who is happier? Who is less happy?

On the other hand, it is important that the psychologist takes into account the order in which the child creates the different design elements. It will also indicate the presence of spots, scrapes, doubts when drawing, setbacks.

How is the test evaluated?

The test of the design of the family was created in its beginnings under a psychoanalytic approach. For that reason, for some years the analysis was carried out through an oedipal dynamic or from the stages of psychosocial development established by Freud. Currently the interpretation is more standardized. The set of statistics is used, but the personal situation of each child or adolescent is also evaluated.

Here are some guidelines for the evaluation of the family design test.

  • The size and place. Large designs denote security. On the other hand, the small figures represented in a corner of the sheet show fears and insecurities.

  • Curves and straight lines. The drawings with angles and curves show dynamism and maturity. On the contrary, those in which only lines appear, some forms and / or very poor and stereotyped figures often show immaturity or inhibition.

  • Order and distance. One aspect that must be evaluated is the order in which each of the figures was drawn. Then, it is usually more common for example to start with the drawing of the mother, or in your case, with that person with greater affective union. On the other hand, another detail to be evaluated is the distance that the child establishes between some characters and others.

  • Omission of certain figures. A common fact is that there are children who do not draw in that family nucleus. It is a fact to be evaluated and taken into account. In the same way, the omission of one of the parents or siblings may be the reflection of their rejection.


To conclude remember that the family drawing test is not used as the only resource to provide a diagnosis. Added to interviews and other standardized tests, it will offer us enough information to be more precise and concrete in the evaluation.

This instrument, like any projection test, is a direct access door to the emotional world, where design is always our best channel. It is a scenario in which we feel free to reflect fears, concerns or underlying problems.


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Very good post thanks for sharing this friend information