Another projective personality assessment method is the House-Tree-Person (HTP) Test. It uses freehand drawings of house, tree, and person, quite similar to Draw-A-Person (DAP) Test. Though it was originally devised as a method for measuring intelligence, it is now widely used to measure personality.
The examiner will be requested to draw sketches of a house, tree and person in separate pencil and crayon drawings. Psychologists have produced a form with four pages, including an information portion at the first page. A separate form is also set aside for a post-drawing interrogation.
The post-drawing interrogation is composed of 60 questions aimed at gathering the examinee’s feelings about the figures he or she has drawn. Three assumptions are also considered as the basic interpreting guidelines for HTP. The house figure reflects the test-taker’s home life and relationships with the family. The tree figure reveals the experiences of the test-taker. The person figure describes the test-taker’s relationships with other people, aside from his or her family. In general, the test reveals areas of conflict or concerns that need immediate concerns. A child who draws himself looking out from his or her house signifies feelings of being trapped, abused or imprisoned.
Despite its high interest appeal, the HTP test has received criticisms and questions. One of the strongest disadvantages thrown against it is its poorly established reliability and validity. Even Buck, who devised the test, admitted himself that the interpretation remains ambiguous since no HTP sign or mark corresponds to a single meaning. Marks or signs in HTP have multiple meanings and may be interpreted in multiple ways. Therefore, interpretation is still highly subjective and may end up being inappropriate. It uses colour drawings but has failed to establish absolute meanings for the colours. Together with other projective techniques, this assessment is guilty for the possibility of overinterpreting. Therefore, in using this test, the examiner should be extremely cautious, so as not to derive wrong assumptions or interpretations.