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Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II in Counseling Essay

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Updated: Nov 26th, 2020

Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II (Bender-Gestalt II) was selected for this paper to review and critique. Published by Riverside in 2003, it presents the revised version of the first test that was initially elaborated by Lauretta Bender. The identified test includes 16 figures, recall procedures, and supplemental tests. The complete kit of the test items consists of an examiner’s manual, 25 motor test booklets, 25 observation form test records, stimulus cards, and 25 perception test booklets in a handscored format (Brannigan & Decker, 2003).

Purpose and Nature of Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II

Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II is composed of 16 geometric shapes, points, lines, angles, and curves, which are presented to an examinee in a certain sequence and are to be drawn by him or her. Bender-Gestalt Test II is used to diagnose the degree of development of structural visual-motor functions and study mental retardation, regression phenomena, the severity of violations of individual functions, organic brain defects disorders in both adults and children, and personality deviations (Englund, Decker, Allen, & Roberts, 2014). The key purpose of the mentioned test is to evaluate the maturity of visuomotor perceptions.

Normative Standardization Data

The empirical investigation based on various scoring systems was utilized to standardize data. In particular, the Global Scoring System was related to Bender’s initial version of the test by focusing on credible and valid studies. A five-point scale was used to derive scores and evaluate reproductions. The sample included 4000 individuals from the US. The specified test was popularized by Elizabeth Koppitz and is known as Bender-Gestalt Test for Young Children that is most widely used in the US. The simple design allows performing the test with minimal errors and interpretation pitfalls.

Appropriate Populations

People from 4 to 85 years and older are eligible to receive Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II. In general, a person who was assigned this test is evaluated regarding his or her psychological functioning and development. As stated by Al-Sadat Bozorgpour, Rahimi, and Mohamadi (2017), it may be used for brain damaged and normal subjects as well as for those with major depression symptoms. Furthermore, Bender-Gestalt II seems to be useful in diagnosing children with cognitive deficits. For example, the study conducted by Englund et al. (2014) demonstrates that attention deficit / hyperactivity and autism may be assessed in children. In spite of several populations that may be prescribed the mentioned test, there are no required adjustments.

Validity and Reliability

The validity of Bender-Gestalt II is caused by its simplicity, ease of use, and consistency. According to Piotrowski (2016), it is included in the top ten of diagnostic tests characterizing non-verbal intelligence and perceptive motor coordination. Since this test is utilized to reveal signs of organic brain lesions and determine the level of intellectual development, it is largely used by school counselors and psychologists (Piotrowski, 2016). The reliability of the given test refers to the fact that graphic movements are marked by the highest degree of regulation, and the violations of the mechanisms of spatial analysis and synthesis are primarily reflected in graphical movements. The findings of the research by Piotrowski (2016) also support its reliability as a rapid assessment instrument that relies on more on an idiographic approach.



The administration type for Bender-Gestalt II is professional, and it requires level C qualification. The test involves several cards with simple figures to be reproduced by individuals, and the latter are expected to draw figures as they see them (Keppeke, Cintra, & Schoen, 2013). It is significant to warn a subject that the cards cannot be moved to any new position. An examiner can allow multiple attempts to copy one shape, which should also be noted in the protocol. It will be correct to recommend that the test subject place a copy of the first of the figures in the upper left corner of the paper, yet this need not be insisted if a subject begins to draw in his or her own way (Brannigan & Decker, 2003). The orientation of a figure against the background and in relation to other figures is also part of the gestalt function.

Type of Test Items and Examinee Response Mode

An examinee is offered to reproduce the figures within 5-10 minutes. Figures one to 16 are used for diagnostic testing and presented consistently to a subject. Time constraints on the test are not rather strict, and the figure does not need to be removed until the subject finishes copying (Al-Sadat Bozorgpour et al., 2017). The presence of fatigue can unduly exaggerate the symptoms of impaired gestalt function, enhancing perseverative and regressive tendencies. There are rather detailed explanations of how to interpret any deviations in the drawings. In particular, cohesions, closure complexity, bizarre doodling, contamination, fragmentation, line extension, impotence, overlapping and angular difficulties, rotations, scribbling, and other related signs should be noted to analyze an examinee (Al-Sadat Bozorgpour et al., 2017). In addition to the abovementioned, it is important to observe how a subject performs the test. For example, long and slow performance may indicate a thoughtful and systematic approach to performance, the need to control the resultant compulsive tendencies in the individual, or about the depressed state. The fast test performance can be representative of an impulsive style. The test results should be considered in connection with each other in order to avoid misinterpretations.

Theoretical Basis

Wertheimer’s theory based on the idea of grouping in evaluating cognitive processes was used as a basis. The fours factors were specified as the laws of organization, including proximity, simplicity, similarity, and closure (Keppeke et al., 2013). The theory of Wertheimer focuses on successful problem-solving behavior that is associated with the ability to understand the whole structure of one or another problem. The effective resolution of problems should involve both a comprehensive vision of a problem and that of its parts.

Using Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II in My Practice

In my point of view, the identified test will be rather useful for my professional performance as a counselor. Many children and adults may develop cognitive disorders without even noticing it; therefore, it is of great importance to timely assess them and prevent further complications. I plan to use this test for evaluating the overall cognitive development of individuals as well as retardation in mental functioning since it provides a wide range of opportunities.


Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II is a comprehensive test that targets the interpretation of a person’s reproduction of simple figures. Based on Wertheimer’s theory, it aims at measuring psychological functioning along with visual-motor development of an individual. This valid and reliable test may be applied to both children and adults, while the administration procedures remain unchanged. The simplicity and a short duration of Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II make it a feasible option to evaluate individuals’ cognitive behaviors and provide relevant conclusions.


Al-Sadat Bozorgpour, F., Rahimi, C., & Mohamadi, N. (2017). Utility of Bender-Gestalt test-II for differential diagnosis of major depressive patients, brain damaged and normal subjects. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 10(3), 151-155.

Brannigan, G. G., & Decker, S. L. (2003). Bender visual-motor Gestalt test – Second edition: Examiner’s manual. Itasca, IL: Riverside.

Englund, J. A., Decker, S. L., Allen, R. A., & Roberts, A. M. (2014). Common cognitive deficits in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism: Working memory and visual-motor integration. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 32(2), 95-106.

Keppeke, L. D. F., Cintra, I. D. P., & Schoen, T. H. (2013). Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt test in adolescents: Relationship between visual-motor development and the Tanner stages. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 117(1), 257-275.

Piotrowski, C. (2016). Bender-Gestalt test usage worldwide: A review of 30 practice-based studies. SIS Journal of Projective Psychology & Mental Health, 23(2), 73-81.

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"Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II in Counseling." IvyPanda, 26 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/bender-visual-motor-gestalt-test-ii-in-counseling/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II in Counseling." November 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/bender-visual-motor-gestalt-test-ii-in-counseling/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Bender Visual-Motor Gestalt Test II in Counseling'. 26 November.

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