Test of the Swiss psychologist “Karl Koch tree”

Do you want to learn how to interpret the characteristics of your personality or the personality of other people? Then a test called “Karl Koch tree” may be exactly what you need. This is a fairly well-known and popular psychological test that provides very important information about a person.

test tree
Colady illustration by Lara Lauren

What is this Karl Koch tree test?

The author, Swiss psychologist Karl Koch, developed it in the 1950s, and this test is actively used by psychologists to assess a person’s personality and emotional state. The test is often used for children over 6 years old, but it is also great for adults.

The online publication Exploring Your Mind claims that the main benefit of this test is that it is ideal for different age groups, and its results help psychologists collect important data about how people perceive themselves and their lives.

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How to take the test

This is one of the simplest and easiest tests that can be performed by both specialists and people themselves. All you need to do is draw the tree along with its crown, branches, leaves, trunk and roots. And then you should analyze the drawing according to certain criteria.

“Dr. Koch chose the tree for his diagnostic test because of its symbolism. In many cultures, trees are mythological and symbolic objects, – writes the publication Exploring Your Mind, – When we draw a tree, we also connect to our inner state, which is deeply connected with nature. “

So, any person over 6 years old can take this psychological test. You only need basic skills to depict an object, meaning you don’t have to be an artist or draw well. The test taker is given colored pencils, paper and an eraser, after which he must draw a tree along with branches, trunk and roots. This takes from 10 to 30 minutes. Sometimes the person may also be asked to write a short note about the tree they have drawn. Upon completion, the psychologist analyzes the various details of the drawing.

What can you analyze with this test

An article in Exploring Your Mind explains:

“It requires us to draw a picture, choose colors and create an object on a blank page. This drawing can help us understand our condition, sensitivity, vulnerability, absence or presence of internal conflicts, as well as mental and emotional stability in life. “

According to psychoanalysts (2015 study), the Karl Koch test may even help diagnose cognitive impairment and dementia.

How to decipher the Koch tree test

When analyzing the test, you should carefully consider the following details in the tree image:

1. Roots and earth

test tree 2
Colady illustration by Lara Lauren
  • Deep and long roots mean emotional and mental stability, and shallow roots or lack thereof indicate loneliness and isolation.
  • If the roots are disproportionate, this can mean suppression of emotions, latent anger and lack of attachment to loved ones.
  • If there are no roots or soil in the picture – This is a sign of a lack of mental and emotional stability.

2. Barrel

Colady illustration by Lara Lauren

If a tree has a large trunk, this may mean that you are an active and straightforward person, and a small trunk indicates fatigue and lack of energy.

On the other side, wide barrel indicates that you may be impulsive and have poor emotional control. Slim barrel means that the “artist” is vulnerable and sensitive, anxious and stressed.

Here are some interpretations to look out for:

  • Normal barrel and proportions shows inner balance.
  • A trunk drawn with straight lines, with confident lines, means that a person has common sense and a desire for justice.
  • A trunk drawn with wavy lines, means sociability and love of social events.
  • Barrel with protruding tips, broken off branches, depressions reflect fears, suppressed emotions and trauma.

3. Branches

Colady illustration by Lara Lauren

If the trunk and roots are associated with our emotional inner world, then the branches are associated with our external, physical environment.

By the way, children under the age of 9 usually draw small branches, and this behavior is normal for them. However, if an adult draws small branches, this may indicate that they are immature and unsociable.

  • Large branches – a person is full of enthusiasm, he has a powerful imagination, but he is also arrogant and narcissistic.
  • Lack of branches shows that a person suffers from some kind of cognitive problems, and he has no development.
  • Tree branches in the shape of lightning show that the person is impulsive, rebellious and stubborn, he has problems with anger management.
  • Spiral branches – the person is polite, tactful and has developed communication skills.
  • Branches with leaves – a person is active, energetic, loves life.
  • Branches with fruits – a person has certain goals and objectives that he wants to achieve.

4. Crown and foliage

Crown and foliage
Colady illustration by Lara Lauren

According to the Koch test, this part of the tree exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Crown with traced leaves indicates activity, vitality and energy.
  • Large leaves – the person is friendly and has good social skills.
  • Small leaves – a person is shy and withdrawn.

In addition, most psychologists also take into account additional details when conducting the test, such as the size of the pattern itself, the colors used, the environment, hills, sky, grass, animals, birds and houses around the tree.

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