DJA: Don Jones Assessment


One of the student’s finished assessments!

To end our fall semester in Art Therapy, our teacher had the class complete a famous technique used in the field, the Don Jones Assessment. This technique took the class on a guided imagery journey and was followed with a drawing part after hearing what was read. Each student in the class was to picture themselves on a journey with a backpack that held everything they would need on the journey.

Picture 1: you are headed across a field in your journey, you find a path. You start to hear the sound of water and it becomes louder as you walk farther along the path. You come to a river where your path continues on the other side. How do you cross the river to continue your journey?

Picture 2: as you continue, you come to the start of a mountain. As you walk you go higher up the mountain, you face a drop off from the mountain or a cliff that goes higher. But you see something coming toward your way… it is a goat. How do you get around the goat to continue on your journey?

Picture 3: You are back on the path. It appears to becoming later in the day. It starts to rain and you need to seek some shelter. You see a cave in the distance. As you approach the cave, you see monsters sitting outside of it. How do you enter the cave?

Picture 4: You end up in the cave and are safe and comfortable. You start a fire for warmth. All of a sudden a feeling of “I’m not alone” comes over you. What is this feeling look like for you?

The Don Jones Assessment helps to see how the patient deals with an obstacle, their relationships, the monsters within, and where their personal power lies. It was so interesting to see the variety of pictures drawn throughout the class and to learn so many things about yourself. Such a great and fun way to end the semester!

Featured image: Don Jones, [Don Jones multimedia vintage flashcard,]

6 thoughts on “DJA: Don Jones Assessment

    1. Unfortunately, this information is from my professor in class so there is no direct source besides our class handout, but each individual situation that is read to the client/group presents a particular issue to see how the client/group chooses to get over that dilemma. Hope this answer helps!

  1. A fellow art therapist and I are the ones who visited Don Jones at his home Ohio many years ago and asked his permission to call this “making marks” exercise that he did during his time with inpatients, The Don Jones Assessment. We had a specific story we used which was just a few words different from Don’s original which as you reference has being handed down to generations of art therapists. We presented at national conferences, one with Don Jones, and provided possibly interpretations given the conversation one would have with the client. The client/therapist exchange is most important. If you want further details you can contact me.

    1. Wow! That’s an amazing experience and story. If I have any further questions or interests, I will be sure to contact you! Thank you again ☺️

    2. Maria, I would be very interested in your information. I used this process during an internship in an inpatient facility. I lost my copy and have since moved to residential treatment as a counselor and art therapist. I would love to be able to refresh my memory on the possilbe interpretations and conversation to have with clients.

      1. Time does get away from us! Thank you for showing interest in the DJA. Dora, how can we connect? Maria

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