Self Depictions

girl drawing

Dear Dr. Bill,

My four-year-old daughter draws pictures of people with no faces or heads.  I am concerned especially when she depicts herself.  What can this mean?  I am a single mom and my daughter has a six and a half year old sister.



Dear Vickie,

I appreciate your concern.  I should tell you that as a psychologist, I would never diagnose a child’s problems simply by looking at their drawings.

I would need to gather more information about your daughter’s behavior, her personality, her background, and your family environment.

It’s also difficult to draw conclusions from the drawings of a child who is only 4 years old.

Some possible explanations for the lack of heads include her immaturity, some kind of perceptual problem, or an emotional or psychological issue.

Theorists in the field of projective drawing believe that omitting a head can mean a person is attempting to eliminate unpleasant thoughts.  Bu t it’s hard to say if that would apply to a four-year old child.

I would suggest you take your daughter to a child psychologist or child psychiatrist for a complete assessment.  As I mentioned to another mom earlier this week, a major children’s hospital, should be able to refer you to a specialist.

Also, my friends at Focus on the Family have a FREE telephone counseling service, staffed by caring Christian therapists.  You can call them weekdays at 1-800-A-FAMILY.

After the initial phone session, the counselor can refer you to a licensed Christian therapist in your area.

By the way, a great resource for all parents, including single moms, is the book Raising Great Kids by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Thanks for writing Vickie.


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