A Standardized Three-picture Art Interview
Assessment of Adults Through Art

30 Years of Research.  Proven Validity and Reliability.




Barry M. Cohen, ATR-BC    •     Anne Mills, ATR-BC, LPC
Kathryn Johnson, PhD, ATR

12 CEs Available for a Weekend Training


For art therapists and other interested mental health professionals who wish to incorporate drawings into their assessment options, familiarity with the Diagnostic Drawing Series (DDS), a standardized art interview of tested reliability and validity, is essential.  The three-drawing DDS, originally designed for use by clinicians in adult psychiatric settings, has been studied continuously in an international collaborative research project for the past thirty years.  

This intensive weekend workshop will teach participants how to administer and rate a DDS, and features a survey of research findings with an emphasis on their usefulness to the practicing clinician. The faculty will introduce a structure-based, trilevel approach to the image that enables participants to integrate research data with other information about the client’s pictures and art making process. A method of DDS report-writing for clinical settings will also be taught. 

Graphic profiles typically seen in DDSs from different psychiatric groups will be emphasized in order to facilitate differential diagnosis between those with schizophrenia, major depression, borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, bipolar disorder, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. DDSs from cross-cultural groups will also be described.  


This workshop is appropriate for clinicians and graduate level students with little or no previous knowledge of this tool, as well as those who use the DDS in their daily work. Participants will have opportunities for skill building and to consolidate what they have learned in the didactic sessions through group rating experientials focusing on their client DDSs in terms of structural and other criteria. Familiarity with the DSM is essential.

Participants' learning experience will be greatly enhanced by bringing three or more correctly collected DDS from a client (age 13 and older; not a friend or relative) to be worked with by the group throughout the weekend. Pre-registrants will be e-mailed advance instructions on how to collect DDSs for this purpose. 

Participants will learn to

  • Define the central concepts of the DDS method, such as isomorphism, structure, and multileveledness 
  • Administer a DDS properly and rate it with confidence 
  • Describe multiple benefits of using this valid and reliable art interview, and identify opportunities for using it in clinical practice
  • Draw upon more than 20 years of normative DDS studies to use in client assessment
  • Write up DDS evaluations of adult clients using a method of reporting that addresses research-based differential diagnosis 

Participants will need these materials to administer DDSs

  • 1 box of Alphacolor pastels (12 set, square, basic colors) 
  • 18 x 24" white drawing paper, 60-70 lbs, with slight tooth, no texture (3 sheets per DDS)
Participants will need to bring to the weekend training
  • Several sets of properly collected DDSs (directions for collecting DDSs will be sent in advance to those who register)
  • Knowledge of DSM-based diagnosis

Only DDSs collected using the standard protocol and materials

 from subjects ages 13 and up will be worked with at this training. Sorry, no exceptions. 

Here's what attendees had to say about recent DDS trainings . . .

"[This training] would be helpful for anyone who does diagnosis and treatment, especially for those who have a limited number of sessions they can work with a client.  The wide range of information collected is definitely of clinical importance."   Art therapist, working on board certification

Q: Would you recommend this training to your colleagues?
A:  "Yes.  Because medical professionals (I work with) who are research-oriented would appreciate and relate to validity and reliability of the DDS."

"Yes!!! You had me at 'legal precedent'!  But also, I like the combination of 'operational' and intuitive".  
—  Art therapist/private practice/MFT

 "I have gone over years of past DDSs, and am thrilled at the extra info I have gleaned from the workshop. Invaluable."   
— Art therapist/private practice, 8 weeks after the training

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