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Adam Graves, Leslie Jones and Frances Kaplan published a study about a commonly used assessment tool, Draw-a-Person-in-the-Rain, in the fall 2013 issue of Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association.
According to editor Lynn Kapitan, the issue collectively focused on reexamining assumptions about various assessment tools. Kapitan writes:
Art therapists have puzzled for some time over our collection of "maps" known as art-based assessments. Assessment has lost its innocence and, for the most part, no longer declares it can decipher a client's world as it is and not as the assessor sees it to be. In this issue, Donna Betts takes up the role of cartographer by embarking on a project to make art therapy assessments more reliable, fair, and valid for use in territories we know very little about. As if in answer to Betts' concerns, Adam Graves, Leslie Jones, and Frances Kaplan deconstruct the Draw-a-Person-in-the-Rain assessment to suggest that aspects of the terrain may be interacting in unknown ways upon our assumptions. Far from being a universal construct, the presence of rain depicted in the drawings may have more to do with the typical precipitation pattern of a given region than with an assumed or universal symbolic interpretation.
In their pilot study, Graves, Jones and Kaplan looked at the Draw-a-Person-in-the-Rain assessment with elementary school children from three varied regions of the United States. They found a significant difference between the drawings by children in the Great Plains versus those from the Pacific Northwest. The authors concluded these findings suggest "the typical precipitation pattern of a given region may influence how a person responds to the DAPR task."
Adam Graves is an assistant professor in the Department of Art Therapy Counseling. His research interest is in assessment, specifically examining the use of standardized drawings and scoring systems in art-based assessment. He teaches several core courses and coordinates the first year field placements.
Leslie Jones and Frances F. Kaplan have taught at Marylhurst for many years. Jones' particular interests include grief, loss, infertility and life transitions. Kaplan's 2013 book, Art, Science and Art Therapy, was recently translated into Korean.