There is an important factor in art therapy and that is noticing the elements used within a patient’s work. Linda Gantt invented the FEATS Scale, Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale, to rate the presented image based on the elements used. When using this scale, you should approach the artwork as if you did not know what the image is supposed to be. The scale ranges from numbers to 0 to 5 in different common elements in created artwork. An example of the rating is presented below!
Some of the elements listed in the FEATS Scale are:
- Prominence of Color – how the art is applied and used in the image, is a wide variety of color used? – 0, color used for outlining only to 5, color used to fill as much space as possible
- Implied Energy – how much energy would it take for the therapist to recreate the drawing done, this element is different from how much time it seems it took the patient – 0, not much energy if any at all to 5, excessive energy
- Space – how much space of the material given is actually used and worked with, not much areas of the paper vs whole page is covered – 0, less than 25% os space used to 5, 100% of space used
- Realism – how the objects and images depicted in the artwork realistically represent the object – 0, not realistic, cannot really tell what is depicted in the work to 5, decently realistic
- Details of Objects and Environment – representation of closer detail in the image, what additions they place within their artistic image – 0, no details depicted in the objects/environment in the image to 5, full, boutiful detail
- Line Quality – the use of lines in the overall image, rigid, sharp lines vs fluid, organic lines – 0, broken, damaged lines to 5, fluid, free moving lines
After reviewing these individual elements that play a role in the FEATS Scale, groups were formed in the classroom and were given a small bundle of artwork done by clients/patients. The groups were to determine which elements were shown in the images and what they might mean according to how they are represented by the patient/client. I found using this scale very informative and eye-opening. Certain scales like FEATS are very important to learn in art therapy because so many image can be looked beyond their actual meaning. Using scales like the one stated in this article uses a sense of intellectualization when looking at artwork before getting into any crazy assumptions or jumping to conclusions about the patient/client creating the art. As this is one of many scales I am sure we will be taught through our courses, I think Gantt’s Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale was a great place to start!
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