On How to Conduct the Test.
By Dr K.Loganathan
Introduction The word Baum means in German a tree and Baum Test was developed in Germany under the influence of the Analytical Psychology of C.G. Jung who broke away from being a faithful follower of Freud. Jung tended to emphasize the importance of archetypes and hence the notion of Collective Unconscious that goes deeper than the (personal) Unconscious of Freud. For this reason the study of mythical (and metaphorical ) thinking assumed a special importance in Jungian psychology which is thriving till to-day as an active field of research. Some German psychologists, under the influence of Jung, developed the Baum Test in the early thirties, as a species of aptitude test choosing the TREE as the object to be drawn mainly because it occurs as an important element in the mythologies all over the
world and appears to be somewhat related to structure of the psyche or unconscious itself. Later, in Japan, it was used to investigate the IMAGE forming cognitive processes of children under the able leadership of Prof. Kimio Yoshikawa of Teikoku Women's University in Osaka. I had the good fortune to work with him in the early eighties when he ventured to study the Malaysian Children. Later in 1987, I modified the test to include the drawing of FOUR different Baums to elucidate the different layers of the unconscious. The successes I had in reaching the deeper layers convinced me
of the enormous utility of this test. Much more exciting was that with this modification I could reach the HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING of each individual and the authentic thinking that frequently gets distorted by the ego of the
individual. The historical understanding that is the most intimate form of thinking of an individual turned out to be essentially METAPHORICAL and hence this whole science a species of Hermeneutic Semiotics. In the course
of developing this science so that the interpretations are unfailingly or at least highly accurate, I noticed that this science was similar to what Thirumular calls AKATHTHIYAM in his celebrated Thrimanthiram, a classic in
Siddha literature. Further studies indicated not only similarities with the Psychology of later Siddhas in the Tamil country but also with Taoism of China , the Sufism of Muslim scholars in the Middle East and the Alchemy of
Medieval Europe. Pleased with such universally available similarities I pursued the task of developing this science despite many obstacles on the way. Now confident that sufficient maturity has been attained I venture to
write about it and run workshops for interested individuals and offer counseling services for a small fee. The insights I gained through the application of this test also furnished me with philosophical/metaphysical understanding of enormous value that form the substance of the Metaphysical Poetry that I now write in Tamil. Later I hope to publish the various
thoughts I jotted down in the course of such studies in my notebook.
On How to Conduct the New Baum Test(NBT)
a.Take an A4 sized white and clean paper and
draw lines in the center both vertically and horizontally so that
there FOUR identical quadrants now . Name the top left as A , the
right B, bottom left as C and right as D. This
order is enormously important and must be followed without fail in the giving the instructions which are as follows.
A: Draw a tree bearing fruits as it comes to your mind
B: Draw a tree bearing fruits as REALISTIC as you can.
C. Draw a tree bearing fruits which is YOUR OWN CREATION
Draw a tree bearing fruits of a kind that does not exist in the world,
Notes: i] Advise the person NOT TO LOOK at any natural tree around during the drawing sessions. All drawings must come from the mind.
ii] About 10 minutes for each drawing is sufficient. Some individuals can be irritatingly slow. While you can urge them a bit be patient for otherwise the AUTHENTIC contents of the Unconscious may not be available.
iii] The language of instruction has
been found to be am important variable and my advise is that use the language
the subject is most familiar with and which, in some cases may the mother
tongue. What is important is that the subject UNDERSTANDS accurately what
is demanded of him/her. Where there problems in making the understand the
problems you can provide illustrations examples and so forth. But DON'T
TELL what tree to draw and how to draw. If
you do this, the test will be INVALID.
iv) Access Testing is a rigorous field
of Hermeneutic Science and it will be useful to read the several articles
on this notion which are available inDravidian Philosophy Campus (http://members.tripod.com/loga/tindex.htm)
which will soon be available in Agamic Psychology Campus as well
b] The tree drawings
or Baums technically speaking, that you have in front of you are
NOT simply drawings, meaningless scribbles drawn by the person but
rather image-like TEXTS he has written about HIMSELF/ HERSELF.
Being non-verbal they have to interpreted to UNDERSTAND what is thus communicated and here is the challenge of the whole science. Being essentially symbolic, the science of interpretation becomes a filed of SEMIOTICS but because concerned with the messages communicated by TEXTS, the science becomes Hermeneutic Semiotics. Plese note the following things about the Baums before we proceed further:
i) Structurally speaking each Baum is
a Gestalt and where only incomplete drawings only are available from an
individual, the person concerned is mentally retarded or at least incapable
of normal functioning. The Gestaltic
structure is a minimum condition for further interpretations.
ii) Some individuals who are illiterate may not be able to draw at all. In such cases the tester can draw for the subject with continuous guidance from the person. Of course here we are compromising with the reliability of the Test. But anyway something is better than nothing. The same technique can be used with the handicapped individuals who may not be in a position to draw either temporarily or permanently.
iii) The Baums are pictorial METAPHORS when looked at from the communication point of view. The person discloses through the drawings the METAPHORS that condition his existence . The underlying metaphorical thinking is simultaneously the existential or historical understanding that fabricates his personality as such. Some of these may be archetypes that Jung notes as emerging from the Collective Unconscious and shapes the personality as if the axial forces that forms crystal structures.
iv) Normally the archetypal structures are met with only in C and D. The instructions pertaining to these have the ability to tap the subterranean and subconscious forces that may not be in the foreground of consciousness of the individual. It has also been noted that, the images met with here are similar to Dream Images or at least the kinds of mental structures the fashion the dream experiences of a person. In this Hermeneutic Semiotics is involved unavoidably in Dream Analysis as well. To be successful as anAccess Tester, one has to be also a good dream analyzer