The Wartegg test, created in 1926 by the German psychologist Ehrig Wartegg, is known under several names: Wartegg Zeichentest (WZT) for the German-speaking peoples; Wartegg Drawing Completion Test (WDCT) for English speakers.

The Wartegg is a projective graphic test, semi-structured, consisting of a module (14.8 x 21.0 cm) that encloses eight squares or boxes, numbered from 1 to 8, arranged horizontally on two parallel rows of 4 and divided by a wide black border. In each box there is a specific mark that the subject is invited to use as a suggestion or inspiration to create a meaningful drawing in each box.

The Wartegg test, thanks to the new methodology called Crisi Wartegg System (CWS), and thanks to specific softwares, it is able to describe, in an effective and in-depth way:

 the organization of the person’s personality, noting any situations of psychological distress (Clinical, Expert and Selection areas);

 the potential and aptitudes for employment (in the field of educational and professional guidance). Suitable for group administration, the Wartegg since 2002 has been adopted by the Selection and Orientation Departments of the Italian Armed Forces.



  • It is easy for the examinees: its instructions are easily understood.
  • It is quick: Administration: average time of 5-10’; Scoring & computations average time of 10-15’; Report: average time of 30 minutes.
  • It is effective in the clinical assessment and in the research
  • It bypasses the defensive mechanisms of the subject, thanks to the simplicity of the stimulus-marks (McCully, 1988).
  • It has simple instructions that make the WDCT particularly suitable in the evaluation of subjects in developmental age (it can be administered from 4.6 years of age).
  • It can rely on software to obtain a final written report.
  • It is suitable for group-administration thanks to a custom-designed software that provides, with a significant cost benefit improvement, a thorough evaluation of personality and of psychological aptitudes. Because of these features, since 2002, it has been adopted as an selection tool by the Italian Armed Forces.


Conceived about 40 years ago and, since then, constantly applied in clinical context, this new methodology has been the object, over time, of various modifications and improvements up to a first manual published in 1998 and a second edition in 2007 (“Manuale del test di Wartegg“, E.S. Magi, Rome).

In 2018, Routledge published the English version of the handbook “The Crisi Wartegg System (CWS): Manual for Administration, Scoring, and Interpretation” 1st Edition:

Author: Author: Alessandro Crisi, Psy.D. – English Adaptation and Additional Content by Jacob A. Palm, Ph.D

Presented since 1999 in the international congresses of the “International Society of Rorschach” and of the “Society for Psychological Assessment”, the CWS is enjoying great success and is taught in numerous national (University of Rome, Naples, Urbino) and international Universities (Denver University, Colorado, USA; UDEM, Universidad de Mexico) and in private structures such as the Center for Therapeutic Assessment, Austin, Texas, USA; Asian-Pacific Therapeutic Assessment, Tokyo, Japan; the Terapiatalo Sointu Helsinky, Finland; WestCoast Children’s Clinic, Berkeley, California, USA; Vona Mental Health Clinic, Minneapolis, USA.

The necessity for a new methodology was born from observations that, according to the rules proposed by Ehrig Wartegg, the WDCT presented 2 great difficulties that limited its use in the clinical context. First, the modes of scoring conceived by E. Wartegg were very complex and arduous for psychologists to apply; second, the theoretical model of reference to which E. Wartegg referred (Psychology of Totality), is not complex enough to fully describe the intricacies of human behavior and personality.


The most salient and significant aspects that led Crisi to the elaboration of the CWS were:

  1. A wide use of the Wartegg in battery with the Rorschach test, partly borrowing the scoring system;
  2. The introduction of two completely original characteristics in the marking of the test: the Evocative Character (EC) and the Affective Quality (AQ);
  3. The development of an interpretative model of the Wartegg test called “Analysis of Succession”.

1) Wartegg and Rorschach. In the first years of its clinical activity, Crisi evaluated over 10,000 cases with the Wartegg and, in about 3,000 of them, the test was administered in battery with the Rorschach test (according to the E. Bohm method). This continuous support and comparison with the Rorschach have provided the most relevant contribution to the realization of the CWS allowing:

To elaborate a completely different scoring system from the one proposed by Ehrig Wartegg,

to establish with extreme precision the psychic areas involved in each box of the test and

to elaborate formal indices based on a large normative sample of the Italian population (consisting of about 2,300 individuals, male, and female).

2) The Evocative Character and the Affective Quality.

The Evocative Character. It can be defined as the ability of a stimulus to facilitate the projection of specific contents. The evocative character constitutes a category of primary importance in the CWS that is not found in other diagnostic tools. From it we obtain an index of primary importance, the EC +%. The EC+% is representative of accurate perception and associative functions, adaptation to conventional thinking, and intact reality testing. It demonstrates the client’s ability to relate to the environment.

Affective Quality. It is the evaluation carried out solely and exclusively on the type of emotional connotation that characterizes each drawing. From it, we obtain an important index, the AQ +%. The AQ+% index assesses how well the client’s projections are attributed to well structured, functional, and integrated dynamics. This applies to each box and, thus, to each area of the psyche. Overall, this index evaluates: the client’s ability to be in touch with emotions; the kind of affect that characterizes his/her emotional life; the presence of repression; and the extent to which he/she can be syntonic with the environment.


3) Analysis of Sequence. In the past, several authors (Wartegg, 1953; Kinget, 1952; Crisi, 1998, 2007; Lossen & Schott, 1975) have focused on the Analysis of Sequence, reaching considerable agreement on the fact that the more divergent the client’s approach is from the Numerical sequence, the greater diagnostic value it presents.

Crisi elaborated 2 different interpretative models of the succession followed by the individual during his/her performance:

3.1 Analysis of Sequence 1.

For each box we have 6 different evaluation or code, each one with its specific diagnostical meaning:

  • CHOICE (C): indicates the areas of greatest development and integration, the key points on which the subject’s personality organization has been evolving and structuring.
  • AMBIVALENT CHOICE (AC): indicates the existence of a certain degree or level of ambivalence since it indicates the presence in the client of feelings of equal intensity but directed in opposite directions.
  • NEGATIVE COMPENSATION (NC): testifies to a greater degree of ambivalence and conflict in the psychic area evoked by the box in which it occurs. These experiences, in general, are no longer consciously perceived by the examiner.
  • POSITIVE COMPENSATION (PC): indicates areas characterized, in progress, by a strong potential.
  • AMBIVALENT DELAY (AD): signals the existence of ambivalent elements located in the unconscious. The profound repression to which such contents are subjected is the source of generalized tensions, of reactive behaviors, of a malaise that pervades much of the behavior of the examiner.
  • DELAY (D): warns about the existence of conflict areas, active problematic nuclei that condition, mostly unconsciously, the functioning of the entire personality.

3.2 Analysis of Sequence 2. Clinical and statistical findings contributed to further developments in the Analysis of Sequence, known as the Analysis of Sequence 2. Statistically, Boxes 1, 3, 6, and 8 appear significantly more frequently in the first half of the Order of Sequence than do Boxes 2, 4, 5, and 7. Combining statistical considerations with the meaning that can be attributed to each box, the eight stimuli were organized into four pairs.

1-8: Box 1 elicits thoughts and feelings regarding the ego/ Self. Box 8 provides information about the client’s relationship to his/her environment.

3-6: Box 3 reflects the client’s emotional resources and Box 6 reflects his/her ability to apply such resources adaptively.

2-4: Box 2 arouses existential dynamics of movement, and ultimately the relationship with the mother as the origin of life. Box 4 evokes dynamics of masculinity and issues related to the paternal figure. Therefore, these two Boxes are paired in light of their respective linkage with the maternal and paternal figures.   (See Chapter 4 for a review of this information).

5-7: Box 5 relates to the ability to overcome an obstacle and confront frustrating situations. It captures whether the client has access to aggressive energy that promotes survival of the species. Box 7 evokes dynamics of femininity, fragility, and ultimately sexual energy. These two Boxes are grouped together as they represent psychic energy (in the form of aggressive impulses for Box 5 and libidinal impulses for Box 7).

The four pairs can be further grouped as follows:

Adaptive Area (1-8 & 3-6): These boxes closely relate to the client’s consciousness. This includes several ego functions: perception and association, and executive functions (formation of concepts, memory, anticipation, planning, etc.); self-evaluation and self-esteem; interpersonal relationships; and the amount of energy available to the client to adapt to the environment (judgment, reality testing, etc.).

Affective Area (2-4 & 5-7): These boxes relate to affective aspects of personality that are not necessarily conscious and are sometimes completely unconscious.

In other words, four Boxes (1, 3, 6, and 8) have to do with the ego and with its adaptation process, and four Boxes (2, 4, 5, and 7) have to do with affect in its various forms.

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