Background: A comprehensive assessment includes an evaluation of a person’s capacity to identify and regulate emotions. Affect, or emotional and behavioral regulation requires the capacity to identify internal experiences of emotions. The Heart Drawing was developed as a non-threatening method for assessing a child’s capacity to identify emotions. Most children enjoy drawing and the Heart drawing is usually experienced by the child as non-threatening and enjoyable. The Heart Drawing is a new, easy to use, and efficient tool that allows the clinician to assess a child’s affect regulation functioning, affective range and experience in a non-threatening manner. It can also be used to assess a child’s insightfulness and capacity to identify internal affective experiences. Method: The child is asked to select colors for the feelings mad, sad, glad, and scared from a group of eight primary colors. These simple feelings represent the bulk of a child’s emotional experience. The child is then asked to draw a heart and to fill in the heart with the amount of each feeling that the child usually feels. Results: Administration and discussion usually takes ten to fifteen minutes. Conclusion: The article presents examples of drawing by children with various diagnoses and conditions along with a normative drawing for comparison. The methodology has been found to be very helpful in assessing a child’s emotional status and capacity to regulate emotions.
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Center for Family Development, 5820 Main Street, Suite 406 Williamsville, NY 14221, New York, USA.
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