Rachel Harkness

Why I am applying for this scholarship……

I am currently in the counseling program with a concentration in art therapy at Wayne State University. I want to be able to understand individuals who struggle with expressing their feelings with words alone through art and metaphor. Unknowingly, the profession is just a continuation of my own spiritual path. This mental health track has been stated as a deeply spiritual practice by using creative outlets for greater understanding of life’s most difficult questions. According to Bruce Moon, in his book Existential Art Therapy: The Canvas Mirror, the art therapist is a modern shaman.

“Metaphors are essential to the healing power of the shaman and art therapist. Rather than announce the truth, the shaman pushes seekers to explore their own mysteries and decide for themselves the meaning of their journey. Similarly, art therapists challenge the client to discover the meaning of the therapy journey using graphic metaphors. The shaman and art therapist know that people have the capacity to heal themselves, but often lack faith in that ability. Metaphors guide seekers to explore themselves and use imagination to create solutions that give their lives meaning.”

I want to be a counselor and art therapist that works with people of spiritual life paths that are not a part of predominant religious culture. My program is preparing me to be multiculturally competent and mindful of my own biases. Once I am done with this program, I will graduate with a limited license to practice counseling and have provisional art therapy credentials.

Since Graduate school offers no Pell Grants, I am only offered loans. With my required course load, I am not able to work enough to pay off a significant portion of my loans. Any financial blessings for my educational progress would greatly be appreciated.

What Being a Pagan Means to Me

What does my pagan path mean to me? Unfortunately, I do not have an awe-inspiring conceptualization derived from life experience and a large community that supports that lifestyle. I haven’t been able to officially come out of the broom closet until recently; after my grandpa died last July, to be exact.

Being pagan means living knowing that I will be discriminated against and misunderstood. But it also means that I can live my life authentically and where I am in control of my identity and values.

I have had the most emotionally controlling adults in my life growing up as a child, and my grandpa was one of them. He was a hardcore fundamental United Methodist. I could never tell him that I attended a spiritualist church that talked to dead people or practiced divination because it would trigger a heart attack, stroke, or aneurism. Let’s just say he was upset when I refused communion on Christmas Eve because I thought his pastor was a narcissist. I refused to be open about what I practiced knowing that it would literally kill the man.

I will say, coming out of the broom closet was terrifying and exciting. It was freeing, but I still have anxiety over how others will react as I have family members who are more evangelical than my grandpa (shiver).

It’s fair to say that I am a recovering Methodist myself. At one point in time, I identified as a Christian practicing divination and spiritualism. I regretfully have the tattoo to prove it. I have yet to fully transition myself out of that self-concept, so thinking about what my meaning for being pagan is very difficult to conceptualize. I am still struggling with my identity as a spiritual person unconsciously from years of conditioning.
I am currently working through my feelings when invalidated about my beliefs. Speaking up against ignorance is important, but I should not be the spokesperson of all pagans. It is also hard to decorate for Yule and winter solstice when the Catholics appropriated most of the traditional representations as their own; but am accused as whiny pointing that out every year. It is also deeply concerning to me that most mental health professionals are not trained to know the difference between a delusion/hallucination and spiritual beliefs and practices. Somehow with all these uncertainties and insecurities, contribute to the path of modern shamanism, and trusting myself and life’s synchronicities.
I was given a message years ago that I will be the end of generational curses throughout my family. By following my ancestral line, I have discovered generational trauma and unfinished karmic ties that have impacted my personality and subconscious. By trusting my guides and ancestors, I will be able to work through these feelings and find myself more resilient that ever. Each meaningful step I make toward the best version of myself, my spiritual beliefs have given me the tools to be my own hero and not a victim of circumstance.

Silver Drawing Test and Draw A Story: Assessments Developed by Rawley Silver

Rachel Harkness

Wayne State University

Silver Drawing Test
The Silver Drawing Test (SDT) was designed to measure an individuals cognitive and emotional development. The concept of grouping, classifying, and numbering, sequential orders and relationships; spatial references and points of view are all associated with Jean Piaget’s stages of development theory (Silver, 2002). The first subtest (Predictive Drawing) was based on the concept of a group and applied classes and numbers. It allowed for subject prediction of sequencing, horizontality, and verticality. The second subtest (Drawing from Observation) was based on sequential order and applied to relationships. This subtest allowed the subject to create observable data and draft the relationships from horizontal (left-right), vertical (above-below), and depth (front-back). The final subtest (Drawing from Imagination) applied stimulus drawing ideas of space, neighborhoods, points of view, and frames of reference. The cognitive content of the Drawing from Imagination subtest was related to the ability to select, the ability to combine, and finally the ability to represent (Horovitz, 2014). The SDT is recommended to be administered to children 5 years of age to adults. It is nota timed test, but usually takes about 15 minutes for the client to complete. It is important to make sure to avoid testing stressors and make sure to have the client ask questions about the assessment before beginning as distractions need to be avoided (Silver, 2002)

Draw a Story
Based on the promise that strongly negative or morbid responses to the drawing task, the Draw A Story (DAS) assessment is a screening tool to reflect depressive illness. Clients choose stimulus images associated with past experiences and what they draw demonstrates their relationships and perceptions of the self. Scoring the drawing responses for emotional content and self-image on two scales that range from strongly negative, such as drawings about suicide or homicide (1 point); to strongly positive, such as those that depict loving relationships or achieving success (5 points). Moderately negative and positive drawing responses score 2 and 4 points respectively; unclear or ambivalent responses are scored 3 points (Silver, 2009) It is important to be supportive and encouraging to the client. After choosing their two stimulus drawings, the respondent should be able to use their own metaphors or symbols and express their feelings and emotions. According to the DSM-IV, symptoms of depressive disorder include feelings of sadness, worthlessness, recurrent thoughts of death, and suicidal ideation. These symptoms can be traced by the emotional content of the responses (Silver, 2002). Humor is used to feel superior, punish others, and conceal aggressive desires by permitting the expression in a socially acceptable way. There are 4 categories of humor that are often seen in the DAS responses. Lethal humor suggests respondents take pleasure in fantasizing about causing pain or annihilation, or, in rare occasions with adults, there can be no depiction of pain or suffering but also disguises hostile intent. Disparaging humor can be used to be mean-spirited and ridicule someone else or the self to cope with painful situations. Resilient humor is when a response details overcoming adverity (positive) instead of accepting adversity (negative). Ambivalent or Ambiguous humor means the perspective unclear and more interpretation is needed by the respondent.

After administering both assessments, I notice that they both can be combined. The final stage of the Silver Drawing Test, drawing from imagination, is just about the same as Draw A Story except that Draw A Story does not focus on the cognitive aspect but can focus on themes as humor as a coping mechanism. It was difficult to administer because I had to have the pre-set images supplied, as well as giving the copied directions and workspace sheets. It was an organizational nightmare. Luckily, the use of a pencil and erasure made it easier than having to worry about art materials. My participant found that the tests seemed too easy, and I had to explain that these were originally designed for children, and if it seems easy, it is just because she is demonstrating that she surpassed basic developmental milestones are difficult for children and some adults. There should be an official statement within Silver’s text for situations such as this. I do not want to spoil the test, but I do not want the respondent to feel stupid or scrutinized. I find the SDT is very quantitative in nature, due to the observation of measuring types of cognition and emotion, but the DAS needs more of an intuitive eye to understand the respondent’s emotional states, particularly when humor is used to mask hidden feelings and emotions. DAS seems for qualitative, as it is a look at the client’s world in their own lenses of reality, so interpretations of common themes can vary. I find that both assessments can be great tools to provide early identification of individuals who are at risk for depression. Hopefully, this early intervention can be a catalyst to further assess and treat clients in time to prevent possible suicide and decrease symptoms that inhibit everyday functioning.

Horovitz, E. G., Eksten, S. L. (2009). The Art Therapists’ Primer: A Clinical Guide to Writing Assessments, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Charles C Thomas. Silver, R. Three Art Assessments the Silver Drawing Test of Cognition and Emotion; Draw a Story: Screening for Depression; and Stimulus and Techniques. Brunner-Routledge, 2002. Silver, R. (2009) Identifying Children and Adolescents with Depression: Review of the Stimulus Drawing Task and Draw A Story Research. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 26(3),174-180.


Michigan Pagan College Scholarship Fund is offering a $500.00 Scholarship for a rising high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate. All applicants must LIVE in Michigan. Applicants must be 17 years of age or older, have a current GPA of 2.5 or higher, be Pagan, and currently accepted in a full time course of study in any accredited two or four-year college or university. Applicants must provide their most recent school transcript to establish state of residency, and GPA requirements. In addition they must also state the reason for applying for this scholarship in 250 words or less and submit a 500 word essay about what being a Pagan means to them. There is a third essay a 3 Page typed, double-spaced, MLA formatted pages on the scholarly topic of your choosing. As always good luck to all those who apply. Michigan Pagan College Scholarship Fund