Draw a tree… but not a pine tree

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Draw a tree… but not a pine tree

By Cedric Lefebvre (Belgium)

“If you please… draw me a sheep!”  This celebrated phrase taken from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book The Little Prince brilliantly illustrates the concepts of depiction, imagination and perpetual differentiation, but we will develop other concepts with the tree test and an examination of its application in coaching.

A brief return to the source

The tree test as conceived by the Swiss psychologist Charles Koch in 1952 is a predictive test that can be applied to both children and adults and consists in observing the personality traits expressed by an individual through their drawings.  Each element of the tree (leaves; trunk; roots), have a meaning and their graphical representation expresses the subject’s experience with the environment, possible traumas and their level of sensitivity. Koch’s initial instruction was simple: “Draw a tree, any tree you like, but not a pine tree.”, the pine tree being excluded due to the points it leads to as well as the particularly stereotyped visual representation of this tree variety in our culture.  Later, the instruction became “Could you draw a fruit tree, to the best of your abilities?”.

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Source: iCN Issue 13 (Wellness & Holistic Coaching); pages 41-42

About Cedric Lefebvre

Business and Career Coach, Cedric Lefebvre has a proven track record delivering a range of complex projects covering business and leadership development.  He approaches coaching with 25 years experience within leading international organisations as an executive, a team leader and also an independent consultant.  Today he supports companies and individuals’ growth and flourishing, aligned with their own values and mission.

Cedric is a registered psychologist, graduated from Université Libre de Bruxelles, specialised in applied psychology. He is also a photographer whose works have been featured, exhibited and published internationally. He is based in Brussels, Belgium and coaches internationally.

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