Development of the Multiple Self-States Drawing Technique
The multiple self-states conceptualization generated an expanded perspective for me as a practicing child and adolescent psychologist and set in motion what I felt was a mandate to consider and embrace this complexity in my evaluation and treatment approach. I felt this held rich potential to promote my young clients’ well-being. My goal henceforth would be to orient children and teens to attend to and elaborate on their multiple, contextually activated, and (to various extents) disconnected or dissociated self-states. This could, hypothetically, promote greater personal awareness, enrich mentalizing capacities, and support the integration or linking of previously unacknowledged self-states. As youngsters gain these potentially beneficial perspectives and “selves-awarenesses,” practitioners could simultaneously attain important clinical information that might contribute to treatment decisions. I sought to facilitate these treatment and assessment aspirations by harnessing the dynamic, illuminating, and healing power of images and art making in a projective figure drawing task. This was not the traditional unitary projective human figure drawing I had relied on for years, however, but a contemporaneous, expanded version of the traditional … a multiple self-states projective drawing activity.