Through the HTP personality test (House-Tree-Person, in English house-tree-person) it is possible to analyze some traits of our personality, which are the areas that generate conflict within us, the feelings we fear and the projection of us ourselves, that is to say what we consider as ours and what instead, in one way or another, we consider external to ourselves.
This is a personality test that may seem like a game for children, but can actually help adults too. It takes place in some specialized centers both in psychologists’ clinics or in psycho-pedagogical laboratories in schools.
What is the HTP personality test?
To carry out this test, participants are required to draw a house, a tree and a person on a white sheet of paper. For this reason, the English abbreviation is HTP: house (house), tree (tree) and person (persona). This test aims to highlight the most common and at the same time most hidden conflicts within us.
Moreover, thanks to the drawings of these simple everyday objects, whoever analyzes the test can deduce some characteristics of the personality of the subject in question. Even if we don’t realize it, when we draw a house, a tree and a person, we bring up some elements that, for various reasons, are hidden in our unconscious.
It is not necessary to be Raphael or Michelangelo to pass the test, the important thing is to find the keys to the reading in the drawing. But what can we communicate through this test? Specifically, it is a method that allows us to express our conception of the self in relation to a familiar environment (such as a house or a tree) and to the people around us.
The two phases of the HTP test
The study, however, goes beyond the simple drawing of a house with a tree and a person next to it. Precisely for this reason, it should not be taken lightly. At first (the “non-verbal” or creative one), the analyzed subject is asked to draw these three elements. It is likely that the expert will propose you to draw in the most natural way possible, forgetting the context in which you find yourself and the fact that your drawing will then be analyzed.
While the person is drawing, the psychologist takes the opportunity to pay attention to his attitude, the words he utters and everything he expresses. They can be signs of frustration, anger, happiness, etc. Once the task is finished, it is time for the second phase, the one in which you will have to tell a story by inserting the three main tenses (past, present and future).
Another option used very often during the HTP test is to have you answer a series of questions that the specialist has already established previously. This is to motivate people who find it harder to express themselves or for children who do not yet have the ability to develop a story or tale.
How, when and where does the HTP test take place?
This test is designed for people from 8 years of age, and there is no maximum age to take it. This means that anyone can decide to have their drawing of a house, a tree and a person analyzed. Perhaps for an adult it may be a bit strange that the psychologist asks him to start drawing, but the results obtained are certainly interesting.
For the test results to be optimal, you need to be in a quiet, distraction-free place where the patient feels comfortable. The psychologist’s office is ideal, because it also guarantees confidentiality and intimacy. In addition, all the necessary materials must be available: sheets, pencils and eraser.
Erasing is allowed, but it is always necessary to carefully analyze the attitude with which this action is carried out: if the patient decides to erase the whole drawing after having finished it, the meaning is different than someone who erases only a stroke because he wants to improve it.
The HTP test generally lasts from half an hour to an hour, depending on how long it takes the patient to draw and tell the story. Obviously it also depends on his predisposition to whether the psychologist decides to ask him questions at the end.
What is the HTP test for?
Its purpose is simple. The test is based on the theory that, thanks to drawings , people express many feelings, past and present, as well as future wishes. Each image has a different meaning: the house projects the family situation of the present, the tree is the deepest or inner conception of ourselves, while the person is a kind of self-portrait or self-image that includes our consciousness and our mechanisms. defense.
The position of each object on the sheet is also taken into account. For example, if you draw near the upper edge, the drawing is related to dreams and imagination, while the lower edge corresponds to the material world. What is placed on the right is linked to the future, in the center to the present, and to the left to the past.
We also analyze the size of each element, the trait (which can indicate safety or weakness) and clarity. It is also very interesting to know that every part of the house, of the tree and of the person has a precise meaning.
We will not tell you what this meaning is, so as not to influence you in case you want to take the test, but to give you an idea of a possible interpretation, the roof of the house is related to the spiritual and intellectual sphere, the trunk of the tree is the support of life, and the person’s hands are tied to the affective plane.
In this test, as in all projective tests, the quality of the information we receive will depend both on the attitude with which we face the task of drawing or telling a story and on the psychologist’s ability to distinguish the relevant elements from those that do not. I’m.