Using drawings in assessment and therapy can be controversial. The validity of using drawings to assess and diagnose clients has been widely debated in the past and present. However, drawings may help clinicians obtain and generate useful information to design appropriate treatment plans for addressing children’s concerns when they are utilized ethically within a battery of several assessments. Although the leading professional mental health associations do not specifically address the use of drawings in assessment, practice, or supervision, each of them describes how practitioners must remain within the boundaries of their competence when using and reporting the results of assessments and techniques. Understanding the strengths and limitations of using drawings can help play therapists make informed decisions regarding how to employ these techniques ethically to protect the public and to reduce legal liability, as the Association for Play Therapy (Association for Play Therapy, 2018a, 2018b) dictates. Individual play therapists typically subscribe to one mental health discipline (e.g., counseling, psychology, or social work), and each of these professions define their scopes of practice. However, taking guidance from the ethical codes of all of the major mental health associations together will better inform all play therapists of where the ethical boundaries of practice lie. Herein the author explores ethical considerations for play therapists’ use of drawings for assessment, practice, and supervision.
Employ drawings for assessment, practice, and supervision in play therapy.
Observe the child’s process and considering his or her own verbalizations about his or her drawing in assessment and play therapy.
Demonstrate how therapists’ resonances may be drawn to process a supervision question through a personal example.