History of Tree Reading
Tree reading origins
Tree reading has its origin in the field of vocational, psychological and psychiatric evaluations as a projective type of personality test. In the early part of the 20th century, psychologists began to understand the tree as a powerful metaphor to assess an individual’s personality. The early systems of tree reading were created by John Buck and Charles Koch. Dr. Phillip Greenway, a senior lecturer at Monash University in Australia, wrote an article in 2009 entitled, Tree Drawing as a Method of Assessing Personality. He describes trees as an ancient symbol for cultures since the beginning of time and as a reflection of humans interacting with their environment.
Early Developments of Tree Reading Techniques
Father Karoly Abel, a Hungarian priest of the Piarist was a diplomat, psychologist, and an educator. In the 1930’s, he developed a tree reading technique that was the framework for the method that Janet teaches today. Unfortunately, he was incarcerated and never published his work. It was brought to the west by one of his students.
In 1977, Karen Bolander published a book entitled Assessing Personality through Tree Drawing for her dissertation with its main features based on Father Abel’s research. Dr Bolander developed a comprehensive method to interpret trees and their symbolic meaning from a psychological perspective.
Moving from a psychological assessment to a fun way to describe people’s personalities, Janet enrolled in a tree reading class with Serena Lumiere and was introduced to a tree reading technique called dendrographology. Ms. Lumiere’s work was based on Ethel Johnson’s book called Telltale Trees: What The Tree You Draw Reveals About You. Ms. Johnson said, “Every drawing of a tree is filled with clues that tell you about the person who drew it.”
Janet is constantly searching for all the information she can find on tree reading and ways to apply the insights. No matter where she is, on a plane, at a restaurant, or in any social situation, she asks people to ‘draw her a tree’. Cocktail Napkins, receipts, empty envelopes or any blank piece of paper have served her thirst to make friends around the world by tree readings.