Rawley Silver, Ed.D., ATR-BC, HLM

Art as Language, Access to Thoughts and Feelings through Stimulus Drawings

“Silver has designed a non-threatening mode of assessment that transcends that transcends the use of verbal language as the use of verbal language as the ultimate tool in evaluating the intelligence and potential learning of both children and adults. The text relates the numerous research studies that were conducted by both Silver and colleagues nationwide. These studies, geared toward discovering whether the Silver Drawing Test of Cognition and Emotion (SDT) and the Draw A Story (DAS) were valid and reliable, involved a variety of populations and utilized control groups or previously validated tests as a comparison. Silver’s findings bring a ray of hope to art therapists who find it a challenge to present their client evaluations to other mental health and/​or academic communities.

Art as Language documents Silver’s journey in discovering how art is used as a form of communication and how stimulus drawings in particular can provide vital information and create a connection between the artist and the recipient of the artwork… The three basic subtests that comprise Silver’s SDT are 1) the Predictive Drawing which assesses concepts of horizontality, verticality, and sequential order; 2) Drawing from Observation which, which assess concepts of space; and 3) the Drawing from Imagination, encompassing an emotional projection scale, which assesses attitudes toward self and others. The Drawing from Imagination also looks a elements of creativity and evaluates an individual’s ability to select, combine, and represent. In each of these subtests, individuals are supplied with stimulus drawings. They are either in the form of a pre-drawn image to which an individual adds lines and shapes, as in the Predictive Drawing, or numerous shapes to copy, as in the Drawing from observation, or a series of drawing prompts from which to develop, as in the Drawing from Imagination. Through the implementation of the SDT and the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, Silver discovered that the intelligence of deaf students was greatly underestimated….The “Draw a Story” (DAS) another assessment tool developed by Silver, was found to be a valid screening tool for depression. In addition, there was a significant correlation between the SDT and the DAS. Research studies involving the DAS concluded that there was a link between strongly negative responses to the stimulus drawings and mental depression. Although positive responses do not exclude depression, negative fantasies can identify children or adolescents at risk (Silver, 2001).

Citing several case studies and providing examples of SDT pre- and post results, Silver continued her investigative studies using the art-based assessment (SDT) with school-aged children and adolescents challenged by learning disabilities, hearing impairments, reading difficulties, depressive illnesses, and other emotionally handicapping conditions. The illustrations and and figures used throughout the text provide solid examples of the development changes that occurred as students progressed through an art-based curriculum. Other research indicated that stimulus drawings appeared to help adults and adolescents with brain injuries organize their thoughts and ideas ina more cohesive manner…

Art making is central to Silver’s approach to fostering emotional and cognitive growth. In the practice of art therapy, Silver (2001) uses stimulus drawings with four basic objectives to facilitate cognitive and emotional development. They are, “to expand the range of communication, to invite exploratory learning, to present tasks that are self-rewarding, and to build self-esteem.”…

The quantitative studies of the SDT and DAS were impressive, especially in a field that traditionally has eschewed testing and research. Not only has Silver presented a tool for assessment backed by solid research, but also a strong rationale for the need for continued art experiences throughout an individual’s life span.”

--The Arts in Psychotherapy,
Vol 29, No 1. pp 56-60

"Dr. Rawley Silver's latest book,  Identifying Risks for Aggression and Depression Through Metaphors: The Mouse, The Bride, and the Use of Humor is a visually and metaphorically fascinating guide to the Draw A Story Assessment (DAS).  It serves as a concise refresher for seasoned professionals, without the psychometric graphs or charts included in her previous publications. The presentation of this book also provides a gentle introduction for other clinicians, educators, students, and art therapists who are new to the field. Dr. Silver's presentation of the material is eloquent and interesting to read." -Cheryle Earwood in the November issue of the journal, The Arts in Psychotherapy (Volume 37, issue 5)
"Dr. Silver's contributions to the fields of education,art therapy,and counseling cannot be measured. Her work consistently integrates creative methods with extensive research. The assessment tools she has developed are used internationally. This, her latest publication,is a most welcome addition to the literature and is sure to be appreciated by mental health professionals,as well as students and faculty within a wide range of human services." - Christine Turner LPC NCC ATR-BC, Chairperson, Department of Graduate Studies, Art Therapy, Marylhurst University "For decades,the groundbreaking Silver Drawing Test and Draw a Story by Dr.Rawley Silver has been an essential and reliable assessment tool used for diagnosing thousands of students by the clinical art therapists in Miami Dade County Public Schools. In this book, Dr. Silver analyzes the themes and implications behind her most commonly used stimulus drawings worldwide. As with Carl Jung's archetypes, the drawings and stories in this book have universal meanings." -Melinda Fedorko, ATR-BC, LMFT, NBCT, Board Certified Art Therapist and National Board Certified Teacher, Miami Dade County Public Schools "Written by one of our forerunners in the field of art therapy, Rawley Silver continues to provide evidence-based research to the art therapy profession. Using her own developed stimulus drawings and their metaphorical associations, she draws upon neuroscience and empathy to assess human behavior. Her findings lay a brilliant platform on which the mercurial aspect of clinical diagnosis can be more readily accessible." -Poppy Scheibel, M.S., ATR, CPC, Florida Art Therapy Association President Elect -
To order, contact
Purple French Press
(315) 445-8087

“Silver’s new book is an indispensable resource for all art therapists, as well anyone who works with at-risk youth. This is an exceptional reworking of her earlier work and includes new research, a wealth of applications in a range of settings, and a dynamic synthesis of Silver’s lifework.” - Donna Kaiser, Ph.D., ATR-BC, LPC, LMFT, Director of the Graduate Art Therapy Program at Albertus Magnus College  “This new book, which constitutes a compilation of major work by this brilliant author, is stunning in its scope. These assessment methods and research studies offer a unique and balanced blend of art and science that affords an understanding of both individual and universal elements of human emotion and cognition.” - Annette Shore, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, Marylhurst University, Graduate Program in Art Therapy Counseling  “This book is an extraordinary accomplishment! Rawley Silver’s tools for identifying, assessing, and supporting children and adolescents at risk for violent behavior are a model for combining quantitative findings with qualitative analysis. I highly recommend this volume.” - Amy Ione, Director of the Diatrope Institute  “This is an exceptionally rich and useful book that is on the cutting edge of art therapy quantitative and qualitative research. In this complete and comprehensive book, Silver shares the best of her work thus far. I strongly recommend it be added to every professional library.” - Patricia St. John, EdD, ATR-BC, LCAT, immediate past-chair of the AATA Research Committee and Program Coordinator for the graduate art therapy programs at the College of New Rochelle
To order, contact:
Routledge, NYC
(800) 634-7064 International (859) 528-2230

Another major contribution to the art therapy and counseling literature by one of the most highly esteemed writers and researchers in the field." Christine Turner, LPC, NCC, ATR-BC, ACS, Chairperson, Department of Art Therapy, Marylhurst University.

“Today, as a decade ago, Silver’s book represents a landmark in the development of art therapy”
--ARTherapy, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association.

“studies based on the ‘premise that art can be a language parallel to the written word’”
-NAEA News, A Publication of the National Art Education Association.