Serial drawing in girls who display oppositional defiant behavior in the classroom.


This study investigated the correlations between participation in therapy sessions involving non-directive serial drawing and subsequent improvements, or lack thereof, in the oppositional defiant behavior (ODB) of five girls aged eight to ten years in an inner-city school in London, England. Each child individually attended fifteen forty-minute sessions on a weekly basis. Each child was invited to draw anything that she wished and then to tell the story of her drawing to the researcher. The class teachers completed the ODB Questionnaire to determine a baseline measurement of this conduct. Changes in the girls’ emotional and classroom behaviors were identified based on the ODB Weekly Questionnaire completed by their teachers. The teachers also completed a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) before the first therapy session and after the fifteenth. The House-Tree-Person (HTP) method was used on sessions one, eight and fifteen, and the results were assessed by the researcher. At the end of the study, the teachers completed the Drawing Sessions End Form. Four of the five girls showed improvements in their ODB symptoms, and one demonstrated a slight progress. Results suggested that the use of non-directive drawing encourages girls with ODB to express their thoughts and emotions in a symbolic way within a safe environment, which reduces the frequency and intensity of their emotional and behavioral outbursts in the classroom.