Forests, dream houses and pinches of salt

by Tabbasum Zaman.

How often-overlooked areas related to psychology may have more to them than meets the eye.

Salam (Peace be upon you)!

Let’s face it, somehow the most interesting thing in the world is the knowledge concerning ourselves. As self-centred and ginormously-headed as it sounds, we are fascinated by ourselves. It’s the precise reason why we take personality tests, dip into the world of horoscopes, palm reading and, as in my case, make pitiable attempts at mastering Chinese Face-Reading (see links below).

Well, since BSc Psychology has not, as of yet, granted me with the super power to make snap judgements, guess incredible truths about strangers (“The Mentalist” anyone?), and effectively psychoanalyse myself, my stumble across relational psychology proved to be quite satisfying.

For those who don’t know (yup, you there, who’s been hiding under a rock or, actually has a life beyond Google-ing for entertainment), relational psychology involves answering questions whilst imagining yourself in a certain situation, without over thinking the answers, no matter how outlandish the scenario may seem.

The test uses the psychoanalytic technique of ‘free association’, basically saying the very first thing that comes to mind in order to bypass the ego’s censorship of the id (this’ll ring a bell for 2nd year students from their Personality module, freshers perhaps dust off your beloved A-level notes on Freud).  The results reveal aspects of your personality and your outlook on the people and world around you.

I have undertaken a handful of these tests. Okay, I admit it, I pretty much clicked on every single link on the first page (I did not wander into the realm of the 2nd page and beyond of Google cyberspace, I mean, that would just scream desperation).

Back to the topic at hand, I found that often the results/interpretations ring true (especially when they say good things about my lovely self).

Why don’t you try it for yourself? Below is a test I came across, I recommend writing down the option that pops into your mind, so you don’t forget your original answers when you’re analysing them.

Also, remember, be honest, visualise and use your imagination.

Now, get comfy, picture yourself lying in a lounge chair and have fun!

Imagine the following scenes in your mind, and write down the first thing that you visualize. Do not think about the questions excessively.

1.  You are walking in the woods. Who are you walking with?

2.  You continue walking in the woods when you suddenly see an animal. What kind of animal do you see?

3.  What happens, if anything, between you and the animal?

4.  You walk deeper into the woods until you enter a clearing and suddenly before you is your dream house. Describe the size of your dream house.

5.  Is your dream house surrounded by a fence?

6.  You enter the house. You walk to the dining area and see the dining room table. Describe what you see on and around the table.

7.  You exit the house through the back door. Lying in the grass is a cup. What material is the cup made of (ceramic, glass, paper, etc.)?

8.  What do you do with the cup?

9.  You walk to the edge of the property, where you find yourself standing at the edge of a body of water. What type of body of water is it (e.g. creek, river, ocean, pond, etc.)?

10.  Do you cross the water? If so, how do you cross the water?









The answers or analysis to the questions in this test are as follows:

1. The person with whom you are walking in the woods is the most important person in your life.

2. The size of the animal represents your perception of the size of the problems in your life.

3. How you interacted with the animal represents how you deal with your problems in life (for example, was the interaction between you and the animal violent, passive, aggressive, etc.).

4. The size of your dream house represents the amount of ambition you have in order to resolve your problems.

5. A visualization of your dream house that does not have a fence indicates an open personality: you like people and they are welcome in your life at all times. The presence of a fence, however, represents a closed personality: you want to meet with people under your terms.

6. If your answer included food, people, or flowers, then you are generally happy. If none of these items were present, then you are generally an unhappy person.

7. The durability of the material that the cup is made of represents the perceived durability of your relationship with the person from question #1. For example, styrofoam, plastic, and paper are disposable; glass and ceramic are durable, yet easily broken; whereas metal is durable and lasts forever.

8. What you do with the cup represents your attitude toward the person in question #1. For example, if you threw the cup away, then you think of the person in question #1 as disposable.

9. The size of the body of water is representative of the size of your sexual desire.

10. How wet you get in crossing the water is indicative of the relative importance of your sex life.

There are no right or wrong answers, feel free to share your results and let us know to what extent they were accurate!

Until next time, Insh’Allah



Relational Psychology: Forest Exercise

Other relational psychology tests

Face-reading: New Scientist suggests there’s something to it in an article and a pilot study.

An example of Chinese Face-Reading with Mitt Romney.


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