Karl Koch’s Tree Test: What A Drawing Can Reveal About Your Emotions

Karl Kochs Tree Test

Do you want to interpret your or someone else’s personality? Then Karl Koch’s Tree Test might be just what you need. It is a popular psychological test that reveals crucial emotional information.

What is Karl Koch’s tree test?

The Tree Test, also known as Baum test and Koch test, is a popular projective test which is globally used by psychologists to evaluate someone’s personality & their underlying emotional state.

This psychological test was originally developed by Swiss psychologist and counselor Dr. Charles (Karl) Koch in the 1950s. The test has been designed in a way that it can be used with anyone and with utmost ease. This is one of the reasons why the Koch test is generally utilized with children. However, adults may also use this test as it is an exciting and helpful self-analysis tool that can help you understand your own personality.

According to Exploring Your Mind, one of the greatest benefits of this test is that the Baum test “can be administered quickly to a wide variety of people. It offers interesting information about emotions that will later be compared with the results of other tests.” Projective tests, like this one, are generally used as effective clinical and psychological tools that help professionals and experts to collect crucial data on how certain patients understand themselves and perceive their life. Similar to the Draw-a-Person test or the Rorschach test, Koch’s tree test is also used as a complementary test.

Read also: This Tree Test Reveals Your Dominant Personality Traits

How to use Koch’s tree test

It is one of the simplest and easiest tests to conduct both by experts and patients. If you want to try the Koch test as a self-evaluation tool, then all you need to do is draw a tree along with its crown, branches, leaves, trunk and roots. Once you are done, you can analyze the drawing based on the criteria provided by the test. “Dr. Koch chose this figure for his diagnostic test because of the symbolism trees have. In all cultures, all countries, trees are a mythological and emblematic figure that are entwined with human beings.” adds Exploring Your Mind. When we draw a tree, we are not only drawing what we have seen, we also tap into our inner core which is deeply connected with nature and the symbolism of trees. 

Koch’s tree test can be used by anyone above the age of 6. All you need are the specific basic motor and cognitive skills required to draw an image. But you don’t need to be an artist or draw well to apply this psychological test. The process starts by offering the person colored pencils, paper & an eraser to draw a tree along with its branches, trunk and roots. However, sometimes, the person may also be asked to illustrate two separate drawings of trees:

  1. The first one they can draw in anyway they like
  2. The second drawing should be different from first tree

Analysing two different drawings of trees made by the same person can allow experts to make a better analysis of their personality and emotions. Depending on the skills and requirement of the person, they can be allotted a time duration from 10 to 30 minutes. Sometimes, the individual might also be asked to write an accompanying short essay regarding the illustrated tree. 

Read also: Tree Energy: How Trees Help Us Heal

Once complete, a psychologist conducting the tree test will analyze different aspects of the illustration along with the person’s attitude, behavior, body language and comments while making the drawing. Then the drawings are graded between “very immature” to “very mature” and the essay is scored either backwards, normal or advanced.

What can you analyze with Koch’s tree test

An article in Exploring Your Mind explains “The Koch Tree Test requires us to make a drawing, to choose colors, to create a figure from nothing by capturing it on a blank page. It offers some clues about our personality style.” However, it can also help us understand their emotional history and state as well. Moreover, the projective test helps in understanding their sensitivity, vulnerability, lack or presence of internal conflicts, and their mental and emotional stability in life.

According to psychoanalysts, the Baum test can also help to understand our unconscious and the core structure of our psyche. According to a 2015 study, the Koch test has proven to successfully diagnose cognitive disabilities and dementia. The study states that “Trees drawn by cognitively impaired patients are different from those drawn by healthy subjects with a progressive differentiation from mild to more relevant degrees of cognitive impairment.

Read also: Heal Yourself With The Chi Energy of Trees According to Taoist Masters

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1 thought on “Karl Koch’s Tree Test: What A Drawing Can Reveal About Your Emotions”

  1. So very true… These symptoms of C-PTSD still describe me to a tee even after much therapy and medication. Unfortunately, the body keeps the score. There’s only so much that the mind can accept, heal, and move on from. But I continue to put one foot in front of the other, because the other option is not rational.

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