⦁ Nature
The Drawing-and-Story Procedure (D-E) was introduced by Walter Trinca, in 1972, as a clinical personality investigation tool. It is not a Psychology Test, but an adjuvant instrument to broaden the knowledge on psychological dynamics. This technique consists of gathering the motorial-expressive skills (that includes the free drawing) and the non-perceptive-dynamic skills (thematic verbalizations). It also includes direct associations like the “inquiry”. Having merged these elements, an instrument with unique characteristics arises. It is an exploration process that offers a wider extent of qualitative information, differing from the ones called objective tests.

It was thought as a modality of playful communication that relies on the ability of the examined to express oneself in a free association basis and also to reach the scope of the communication, all considering that safe and fostering emotional conditions are given. The examined should be free and spontaneous to determine, on his/her own, what matters to be communicated. This condition is the main guideline of the technique, set up on the least possible amount of interferences.

The application technique is quite simple. It is based on an invite to the examined to go deeper into his/her psychological life, especially through drawings and verbal associations. It is asked a series of five free drawings (chromatic or achromatic), sequentially, each one being a stimulus to a story to be told immediately after each drawing, freely associated with the drawing. After the conclusion of each drawing-story material, there is the “inquiry” step when the examined gives further information on the drawing-story followed by the title’s story. The technique suits any gender, cultural knowledge or social-economic status, only requiring developed verbalization and free drawing skills (see TRINCA, 1995, 2013, 2015 and 2019.)

The gathering of the drawings, associated stories, “inquiry” results and titles – despite the possibility of being considered different elements on their own – constitute a unified structure regarding the communication process. The idea is to come across with messages which are indivisible, creating a sense of wholeness. All the elements are linked, forming a coherent and inseparable unit. The free drawings are used not only as a stimulus to the following associated story, but it also represents parts of a united and solid communication that uses five units of production as a means to its end.

Many advantages have been described regarding the application of the Drawing-and-Story Procedure (D-E): easy to apply, the wide clinical and non-clinical applicability, the adaptability to the unconscious communication, the possibility of finding and assessing relevant psychological content, the concision of focus and emphasis on significant clinical material and the opportunity of the assistance to a less privileged population to whom the traditional methods are unrealistic.

The Drawing-and-Story Procedure must be used by properly qualified professionals. In its traditional way, it concerns the individual psychological diagnosis situation as well as the rapport between the examined and examinee. It must be applied right in the first encounters, as it is a period when the examined feels particularly motivated to communicate problems and to search for help. The technique is very simple, being based on an invitation to the examined to go deeper in his/her psychological life.

⦁ Objective
The Drawing-and-Story Procedure aims for the investigation of the personality dynamics, especially when related to subjective experience contents. The D-E may be preferably used to identify conflicted spots as well as compromised and unbalanced emotional determiners in the psychological systems. It provides ways of expression of the unconscious aspects of the personality, helping the elucidation of conflicts and turbulences.

⦁ Fundamentals
The Drawing-and-Story Procedure is founded on the Psychoanalysis perspective, thematic-graphic techniques and in the clinical interview. Essentially, the fundamentals are sustained by some key statements:

  1. When the person is provided with conditions to freely make associations, these tend to go towards areas where she/he is emotionally more sensitive.
  2. The person can reveal his/her emotional efforts, dispositions and conflicts by completing or structuring an incomplete and non-structured scenario.
  3. Facing incomplete or non-structured stimulus, the examined is bound to organize answers in a personal way, considering that the examined has been given the freedom to create.
  4. The lesser direct and structured is the stimulus, the greater is the probability of significant personal material to arise.
  5. Provided a suitable setting and rapport at the initial contacts, the examined is more likely to communicate the main problems, conflicts and psychological disturbances that made him/her search for help in the first place.
  6. In the session, the drawings and non-perceptive fantasies are children’s and teenagers’ preferable ways of communication, rather than direct verbal communication.
  7. When the examined manufactures a specific sequence, in a repetition basis, personal dynamics are more likely to appear, resulting in deeper and clearer results.

The analysis and interpretation of the D-E can be done by a free exploration of the material following the traditional Psychology referential. Psychoanalytic referential as well as Jung, cognitive-behavioral, phenomenological-existential, among others, have been successfully used. Each examinee should find a way to link his/her own professional experience with the particularities of each application. Hundreds of published works as well as applications of the D-E in Brazil and around the world validate the procedure regardless of being based on either psychoanalysis or on another chosen referential (see References in Portuguese).

Invariable Characteristics
a. Configuration: the basic configuration consists of five units of production atmaximum, composed by drawings, stories, “inquiries” and titles, following the oriented materiality, order, and sequence;

b. Structuring: the drawings and non-perceptive-thematic fantasies are existing structures inside the settings, being manifested as organized totalities;

c. Unitary Function: the graphic-verbal production is formed by a unitary and inseparable communication;

d. Graphic-Verbal dialogue: even though being connected to the examined free association skill, it is set a graphic-verbal dialogue in between the participants;

e. Objective: It regards the psychological knowledge of conscious and unconscious origins, concerning the individuals and groups, aiming to the psycho-diagnosis and psychotherapy matters;

f. Evaluation: the production as a whole is assessed according to the applicable theoretical approaches;



The Drawing-of-Family-and-Story Procedure (DF-E) was introduced by Walter Trinca, in 1978, based on the Drawing-And-Story results and assumptions. The DF-E had its origin in thematic and graphic techniques being applied under specific beliefs concerning family. The drawing, story, “inquiry”, title and other elements that might appear, under each belief, form a production unit in which, in a total of four productions, transmit indivisible messages. As its core, it shows the emotional conflicts and disturbances emphasizing on affectionate aspects of the family relationships. The DF-E aims for perceiving the conscious and unconscious psychological processes and contents related to either internal or external objects related to the family dynamics. Its applicability is recommended when the professionals realize that the emotional difficulties are due to existing internal and/or external family conflicts in the examined internal or external world. It is not a psychological test, but a personality investigation technique. It must be applied by properly qualified professionals.

The examined performs a series of four-family-drawings (chromatic or achromatic). Each of them is a stimulus to freely tell a story that follows each drawing. Having concluded the drawing and related story, the examined will provide clarification (“inquiry” step) on each drawing-story and a story’s title as well. Each family drawing has a clear instruction and order in the application process, strictly set as follows:
1) “Draw a family”
2) “Draw the family you would like to have”
3)” Draw a family where someone is not well”
4) “Draw your family”.

The Drawing-of-Family-and-Story Procedure fundamentals rely on (mutatis mutandis) the same presumptions as the Drawing-and-Story Procedure. It underlies in the unconscious dynamic knowledge, in the fundamental free association rule, in family dynamics and in the main principles of the graphic and thematic techniques.

⦁ Analysis
The Drawing-of-Family-and-Story Procedure constitutes a tool of either direct and indirect communication of angst, unconscious fantasies, feelings, attitudes, desires, etc. key points. The analysis is made based on the knowledge of many sources. Most immediate is the psychoanalysis theory, drawing interpretation techniques, non-perceptive-thematic fantasies and family dynamics’ knowledge. The content meanings are interpreted according to the clinical experience as well as the professional and personal development of the examiner. This task shows itself simple if the examiner is familiar with the psychoanalytical fundamentals combining with his own sensitivity and intuition.



The Thematic-Drawing-and-Story Procedure [D-E (T)] is a resulting tool of the Drawing-and-Story Procedure, requiring the examined to draw and tell stories based on a theme provided by the examiner. The theme chosen is taken into consideration by the examined and/or the examinee needs. After the drawing and storytelling steps, follows the “inquiry” and a story’s title is asked like in the D-E traditional. The Thematic Drawing-and-Story Procedure [D-E (T)] has been preferably used in social representations’ investigation, being a facilitator of the collective imaginary studies. The theme can vary from a crazy person, a physical illness, the school, an ill parental figure, etc. When rooted in the psychoanalytic theory, it is expected the communication of the relative unconscious. It can be adapted to group applications as well. In this case, after being given the slogan, it is expected that everyone finishes the drawing task followed by the storytelling and the story-title, registering them at the back of the drawing. As in the traditional D-E, the D-E (T) can be applied to any age, group and social-economic and cultural levels, the only requirement is the ability to draw and verbalize. Its use is recommended when there is not a setting that naturally promotes the conflicts and disturbances expression. It has been called to attention that the difficulty regarding this form of procedure lies in having the examined directly confront his/her difficulties, which might create resistance and defensive blocks. Despite of that, the procedure has been successfully used, especially when focused on social representations.

Translated by Cecília Maria Aidar

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