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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING THE RORSCHACH COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM

1.How long ago did Hermann Rorschach develop the ink blot test?

Hermann Rorschach developed the test in the 1920s. He died of a burst appendix at the age of 37 when only 6 tests had been sold. There is evidence that Rorschach was enamored with inkblots and the parlor game Klecksographie (Blotto). From that interest he developed his test as a series of ten cards which are actually drawings based on actual inkblots. Some previous research had been done with inkblots – usually for the purpose of assessing intelligence, but Rorschach used his test to assess the cognitive and perceptual functioning of psychiatric patients. His research into inkblots is contained in his monograph, Psychodiagnostik. Many of Rorschach’s original codes and scoring guidelines are used today.

2. Why use the Rorschach when other tests are quicker?

The Rorschach gives us information about psychological functioning not obtainable from other assessment procedures. In most cases, it enables us to understand a person much in the way a long-term therapist comes to understand a client. However, the Rorschach gives that information in a few hours compared to weeks of psychotherapy. It would be helpful for many therapists to know about their patients’ Rorschach at the beginning of therapy.

3. How do I obtain a diagnosis using the Rorschach?

The Rorschach was never meant to be a test to obtain a DSM diagnosis. Rather, it is most useful in understanding an individual’s psychological style and functioning. For instance, there are many different ways of being schizophrenic or depressed and the Rorschach usually detects these differences.

4. Why doesn’t Rorschach Training Programs (RTP) teach computer scoring?

The goal of the Beginning Program is to teach psychologists how to administer, score, and interpret the Rorschach with a clear understanding of its underlying principles. All scoring (coding) is done by the psychologist whether they input it into a computer or hand calculate an individual protocol. RTP does briefly introduce computer programs and discuss several different programs available. Because our goal is to have students understand how the scores (codes) are determined and how the structural summary is constructed hand scoring and interpretation is used with the case material. After this Program you will be able to make better use of any computer program. It is still necessary for the psychologist to modify and re-word the computer hypothesis to fit the individual client.

5. Why doesn’t RTP do online training?

We believe that students need face to face feedback and instruction as they work through case protocols, learning from their mistakes to improve their scoring and their ability to construct and understand a structural Rorschach summary. Online instruction may be useful in helping a psychologist to become familiar with a system’s procedures, but it is no substitute for direct instruction with actual protocols and live instructors.

6. I don’t have much time. Why is the beginning training so many days?

The training begins with the simplest patient protocols and, over the course of 4 to 5 days, the protocols increase in difficulty. At the end of the Beginning Program you should be ready to administer, score, and interpret a protocol. We consider the Beginning Program to be the equivalent of a semester’s graduate instruction in the Comprehensive System (CS). The Society for Personality Assessment indicates that at least a semester of graduate instruction is necessary to effectively use any assessment method.

7. Should I feel confident to give the test when the program ends?

Using the Rorschach is a complicated process; however, you should be ready to begin practicing on your own after the Beginning Program. It is important to administer your first ‘real’ Rorschach as soon as possible after completion of the program. The more frequently you give the Rorschach the more competent and confident you will become.

The Beginning Program provides training in Rorschach administration and gives you preparation for coding using the CS. While the Beginning Program introduces you to interpretation, there is no substitute for continued training with the method.

8. How does the CS compare to RPAS?

The two systems are very similar, but not the same. For example, RPAS changed administration to limit the responses to “pull for two and push after four” which precludes individuals from freely giving their responses.

The main problem we have with RPAS is that this method is based on the international norms reported in Amsterdam in 1992. These results differ significantly from the Exner norms. They are less complicated (higher Lambdas) and have less color. We are concerned that people who give complicated Rorschachs with color responses will be seen as psychologically abnormal.

-RPAS has ignored all the Rorschach research conducted prior to 1970.
However, we feel much of this research made a significant contribution to the development of the Rorschach and should not be ignored.

-RPAS findings are based on international norms developed from a variety of international studies – administration and group samples are a concern. The international norms were based on obtaining information from the average person on the street. The Exner norms attempted to identify an average level of psychological functioning which is probably above the level of the average person.

9. How is RPAS and the CS Similar?

Both systems follow similar coding (scoring) principles. Both use same words of instruction “What might this be?” Both use many of the same variables. Both construct structural summaries. While RPAS may work as well as the CS in some cases, there is no evidence that it is better.

10. I have heard that Dr. Exner and his family will not allow changes.

Dr. Exner always said that the CS is a “work in progress.”
What the family does not want changed is what Dr. Exner wrote and copyrighted in his workbooks and articles. Research should continue to expand our understanding of this complex test, and meaningful findings will be integrated into our use of the CS.

11. Will I get confused between systems if I attend an RPAS Program?

Psychologists tell us that they have found parts of the RPAS system helpful. Once you understand the process you will benefit from using whatever seems to be most helpful in your practice. Since RPAS uses many of the CS guidelines, it is doubtful that attending an RPAS workshop will confuse you. Just keep in mind that the RPAS programs are much briefer and more statistically oriented than the CS; and, consequently, do not allow participants to fully learn an interpretative approach to the Rorschach.

12. What is needed for the future?

Psychologists should continue to do and publish research on both the CS and the RPAS. To date one system has not been proven better than the other, but more clinical research would be helpful. It will be important that the research be conducted by psychologists who have not developed and do not favor a particular system.

May/June Newsletter

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
James H. Kleiger, PsyD, ABPP, ABAP

Thinking About Thought Disorder on the Rorschach
The major Rorschach systems, past and current, include procedures for identifying and scoring individual examples and composite measures of disordered language and thinking. Special Scores and Indices capture diverse forms of disordered verbalization and thought that, with proper training, can be reliably scored. However, despite some effort to group scores into broad categories, according to levels of severity or whether they pertain to language, reasoning, or visual image combination, to date there has been little attempt to organize existing scores in a manner that is both conceptually coherent and consistent with what is known clinically about thought disorder.

From a conceptual perspective, a deeper understanding of what different categories of thought disorder might signify about an individual’s internal world, in terms of cognitive functioning, typical modes of reasoning, and experiences of self and others, is lacking. Too often, diagnosticians become stuck at the level of test scores or indices and have difficulty linking these test-based metrics to broader conceptual and clinical reference points concerning the nature of thought disorder or broader aspects of the patient’s functioning. The scores become reified to the point that we often settle for the knowledge that a patient has a DR or tends to give FABS or INCS. These labels become endpoints in our psychodiagnostic thinking, instead of serving as starting points for trying to understand the psychological, developmental, clinical, and even psychodynamic concepts that might be associated with the test scores. In this sense, typical approaches of assigning different “thought disorder” scores to Rorschach responses often leads to the circular conclusion that the respondent has a thought disorder. Useful diagnostic questions such as what might these scores suggest about our patients’ abilities to focus and filter their thoughts, how they organize information, or what kinds of errors they make when they reason with complex and ambiguous information are left unexplored.

To move beyond static score-bound thinking, diagnosticians can organize Special Scores in terms of three dimensions of thought disorder: (1) Disorganization, (2) Illogicality, and (3) Impoverished Speech and Thinking. Disorganization describes what is often referred to as “formal thought disorder” or “disorganized thinking (speech)” in the DSM 5. The Disorganization dimension provides a way of understanding DV’s and DR’s.

Illogicality reflects the inferential and reasoning process that silently takes place, as the patient tries to form conclusions and attribute meaning to the inkblots. Illogical thinking, or “errors in reasoning,” is represented by combinative responses (INC and FAB), certain types of embellished or over-interpreted DR’s, ALOG’s, and CON responses.

Finally, Impoverished Speech and Thinking, which can be found in the Rorschachs of psychotic patients who suffer from negative forms of thought disorder or cognitive impairment, is more difficult to capture by individual scores alone. However, when examiners begin to understand the nature of these symptom dimensions of psychosis, it becomes possible to identify manifestations of speech and cognitive impoverishment in Rorschach responses.

This excerpt is from Disordered Thinking and The Rorschach: A Second Look, due to be released in 2017 by Routledge. Jim Kleiger, with Ali Khadivi, is author of Assessing Psychosis: A Clinician’s Guide (Routledge, 2015) and Disordered Thinking and the Rorschach: Theory, Research and Differential Diagnosis (Analytic Press, 1999).

TIME TO REGISTER FOR REMAINING 2016 PROGRAMS

FIVE DAY BEGINNING PROGRAM- JUNE 27-JULY 1
The last 2016 Five Day Beginning Program for the Rorschach Comprehensive System is being offered at the University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut Monday through Friday, July 27-July 1, 2016. This Program offers 35 contact hours of training in administration, coding and interpretation of the Rorschach. It is the equivalent of a semester’s training. There is no better way to learn the foundational structure of the Rorschach. The Program takes participants through a series of case protocols that increase in complexity. Practice in administration and inquiry are included because these facets of the Rorschach are vital to standardized administration. To obtain the graduate student discount send your request in an email to carolynritzler@hotmail.com or go to “contact us” on the website. Full details are published under Beginning Training Programs at www.rorschachtraining.com.

TWO DAY ADVANCED PROGRAM- AUGUST 11 & 12
Thursday August 11 and Friday August 12, 2016, a two Day Advanced Program, Enhancing Your Rorschach Skills, is being planned for psychologists who are already familiar with the Rorschach. Drs. Barry Ritzler and David Shmerler will be presenting challenging case protocols and discussing coding and interpretation. This is an opportunity to improve your Rorschach skills and enjoy the offerings of the “Big Apple”. The Program will be held at the NYC Health+Hospitals|Kings County, 451 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11203, and will be providing 12 Category 1 CE credits for this Program. All information and details for registration are published on www.rorschachtraining.com.

For over-night accommodations hospital personnel suggest a Comfort Suites Hotel, 599 Utica Avenue, Brooklyn,, NY, 11203, (within a mile of the hospital). The hotel is holding a discounted room block. To take advantage of the discount call the hotel at 718-774-0018, ask for “Christi” and mention “Kings County Training.” She will offer the best rate possible. Summer dates fill quickly so make your reservation as early as possible. You can always cancel if plans change.

LOOKING FORWARD
We look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming Programs and hearing from you via email. We have three E-Newsletters remaining for 2016 – July/August, September/October and November/December. Guest contributors for each of these newsletters will be writing on topics of interest to assessment psychologists.

MARCH/APRIL NEWSLETTER

GUEST WRITER IRVING WEINER, PHD

RORSCHACH ASSESSMENT OF ADOLESCENTS

A new resource for Rorschach clinicians and researcher is a book on Rorschach Assessment of Adolescents authored by Shira Tibon-Czopp and Irving Weiner. The book begins with reviewing the development and continuing evolution of the Rorschach Comprehensive System, with attention to newly developed variables and interpretive strategies that have produced an RCS-based system useful for assessing adolescents in the 21st century. A second chapter discusses in general terms the assessment of adolescents, with particular attention to differentiating patterns of psychopathology from normal developmental variations. A third introductory chapter presents general considerations in utilizing performance-based assessment instruments in the assessment of personality functioning in adolescence, including the importance of integrating the structural, thematic, and behavioral data in Rorschach interpretation.

Following these introductory chapters, the text continues with three chapters that discuss the current status of the Rorschach with respect to theoretical formulations, research findings, and practice guidelines. Attention is paid to how and why Rorschach assessment provides indications of what people are like and how they are likely to behave; to psychodynamic perspectives on Rorschach interpretation; to research evidence that the Rorschach is a reliable and valid assessment instrument; and to when and with whom Rorschach assessment can facilitate diagnostic and treatment planning decisions.

The next three chapters present eight varied case illustrations showing how Rorschach data can help identify the presence, nature, and severity of internalizing and externalizing psychological disorders. Special attention is paid to determining whether problem behavior in young people reflects a transient developmental crisis, is symptomatic of some underlying condition, or indicates the emergence of a maladaptive personality disorder. Also illustrated is the utility of Rorschach assessment in resolving psycho-legal issues, with particular respect to sentencing decisions in cases of juvenile misconduct.

A notable feature of the book is new adolescent reference data based on the responses of an international sample of 581 non patients age 11-18. These Rorschach reference data, not yet published elsewhere, will be helpful in identifying adolescent deviations from normative expectation. The book is available from Springer publishers (www.springer.com) and from www.amazon.com.

2016 PROGRAMS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION

FIVE DAY BEGINNING PROGRAM- JUNE 27-JULY 1
The last 2016 Five Day Beginning Program for the Rorschach Comprehensive System is being offered at the University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut Monday through Friday, July 27-July 1, 2016. This Program offers 35 contact hours of training in administration, coding and interpretation of the Rorschach. It is the equivalent of a semester’s training. There is no better way to learn the foundational structure of the Rorschach. The Program takes participants through a series of case protocols that increase in complexity. Practice in administration and inquiry are included because these facets of the Rorschach are vital to standardized administration. Full details can be found on the RTP website.

TWO DAY ADVANCED PROGRAM- AUGUST 11 & 12
Thursday August 11 and Friday August 12, 2016, a two Day Advanced Program, Enhancing Your Rorschach Skills, is being planned for psychologists who are already familiar with the Rorschach. Drs. Barry Ritzler and David Shmerler will be presenting challenging case protocols and discussing coding and interpretation. This is an opportunity to improve your Rorschach skills and enjoy the offerings of the “Big Apple”. The Program will be held at the NYC Health+Hospitals|Kings County, 451 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11203, and will be providing 12 CE credits for this Program. Full details and registration will be available on the RTP website in a few weeks. Also watch for details in the next newsletter.

NEW MATERIAL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

“The Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC) – Anthony D. Sciara, PhD
The Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC) provide a structured history questionnaire and a checklist for collecting information regarding criminal competency. It was designed out of 35 years of practice. Frequently there are times when the interview ends; the client is gone, and essential information is found lacking. This Checklist and Manual offers guidance for taking a history and recording background information that will provide the most thorough foundation for a personality assessment report.

The FCHC comes as a packet of the manual and 10 checklists. It can be ordered from the RTP website – www.rorschachtraining.com

SPRING IS ON THE WAY – ENJOY- SEND US YOUR COMMENTS & QUESTIONS.

The Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC), Anthony D. Sciara, PhD

forensic_history_checklistThe Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC) is a structured history questionnaire and a checklist for criminal competency. It was designed out of my 35 years of practice in both the forensic and general clinical fields.

In both the forensic setting and the clinical setting there were many times when the client was gone and I recognized that I did not have information about specific areas of functioning or of their history which would be essential to a complete evaluation. At first I attempted to outline questions before the evaluation, but found that I always forgot something. Finally, I worked for several years on a written outline that I would fill out with the assistance of the client. It worked incredibly well and clients were very helpful in following along with the structure of the interview.

The FCHC has recently been updated and revised along with an updated and revised Manual. The manual reviews each section of the FCHC and describes the type of information to be gathered. It also describes how to ask certain questions and the importance of developing a positive response set on the part of the client. For the clinician or forensic practitioner the FCHC provides a real time documentation of a client’s history and background that provides a foundation for any personality assessment report

Packet contains Manual and pack of 10 checklists
Price per packet $45.00 plus $14.00 S & H – Total $59.00 USD

Currently out of print. Call to check on availability.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER

The World of Forensic Assessment

For many friends and clients the word ‘forensic’ conjures up a vision of dead bodies and autopsies. When I tell them that I do forensic work it generally begins an interesting conversation. Forensic psychological evaluation is the application of scientific methods and techniques to answer questions which arise in a legal proceeding.

For much of the past 35 years I have been performing forensic evaluations in a variety of settings including criminal, custody, personal injury, malpractice cases, and other legal and quasi-legal settings. The use of the Rorschach Comprehensive System (CS) has been invaluable in developing an extensive description of the individual being evaluated.

The practice of personality assessment in a legal (forensic) setting is different from a general clinical practice. As psychologists we enter a different world, with different rules, and different stressors. If we perceive our role as describing and teaching, it makes the transition to the forensic arena much easier.

I have never treated or evaluated an ‘insane’ person! In our profession, that is a word that is not often used to describe what psychological process is occurring. On the other hand, when you enter the world of criminal psychological assessment you must address the issue of ‘insanity’.

This is where the practice of forensic psychology gets interesting. In effect, the psychologist must translate from one language (psychology) to another language (legal) and explain complex psychological processes. To make matters more interesting, each state and the federal jurisdictions have different definitions of insanity.

This is where the CS can be an invaluable tool. Exner, Weiner and Sciara (1996) published a survey of forensic psychologists using the CS in 32 states including various state and federal court systems. In over 7934 reports of use, on only one (1) occasion was the use of the Rorschach CS denied by the court!

While the CS and other psychological tests do not have a direct correlation to diagnoses (a la DSM), it does provide extensive information on how a person functions psychologically. With the CS we can answer questions about accuracy of perception, level of disturbed thinking, adherence to social norms, narcissistic-like qualities, controls, affective functioning, etc. When
used as part of a multi-method evaluation procedure, including an extensive history, records review, other psychological testing, and other documents, the forensic evaluation becomes an invaluable resource in the courtroom to assist the ‘trier of fact’ in making decisions about the individual being evaluated.

Available for Purchase Online – February 1, 2016: The Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC), Anthony D. Sciara, PhD

The Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC) is a structured history questionnaire and a checklist for criminal competency. It was designed out of my 35 years of practice in both the forensic and general clinical fields.

In both the forensic setting and the clinical setting there were many times when the client was gone and I recognized that I did not have information about specific areas of functioning or of their history which would be essential to a complete evaluation. At first I attempted to outline questions before the evaluation, but found that I always forgot something. Finally, I worked for
several years on a written outline that I would fill out with the assistance of the client. It worked incredibly well and clients were very helpful in following along with the structure of the interview.

The FCHC has recently been updated and revised along with an updated and revised Manual. The manual reviews each section of the FCHC and describes the type of information to be gathered. It also describes how to ask certain questions and the importance of developing a positive response set on the part of the client. For the clinician or forensic practitioner the FCHC provides a real time documentation of a client’s history and background that provides a foundation for any personality assessment report

Time to Register for 2016 Programs

Details and registration are available at www.rorschachtraining.com – “training programs – beginning.”

The first option is to assist those with challenging work schedules. We will have a 4 Day Beginning Program, February 18-21, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. The Program includes the same number of teaching contact hours as the five day program but is condensed into longer hours over a weekend. This Program will be held at the Comfort Suites, Frisco, Texas, that is north of Dallas, convenient to airports (Love Field and DWI) and is within walking distance of Frisco Square that offers a wide range of restaurants, cinema, etc.

The second option is the regular 5 Day Beginning Program to be held at the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT, Monday – Friday, June 27- July 1, 2016. A courtesy room block is being held at the Marriott Residence Inn, downtown Hartford.

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER NEWSLETTER

2016 Beginning Programs Open for Registration

This year, similar to last year, we are offering two beginning program options.
Details and registration are available at www.rorschachtraining.com – “training programs.”

The first option is to assist those with challenging work schedules. We will have a 4 Day Beginning Program, February 18-21, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. The Program includes the same number of teaching contact hours as the five day program but is condensed into longer hours over a weekend. This Program will be held at the Comfort Suites, Frisco, Texas, that is north of Dallas, convenient to airports (Love Field and DWI) and is within walking distance of Frisco Square that offers a wide range of restaurants, cinema, etc.

The second option is the regular 5 Day Beginning Program to be held at the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT, Monday – Friday, June 27- July 1, 2016. A courtesy room block is being held at the Marriott Residence Inn, downtown Hartford.

Psychologists ask why online training is not offered, or why the beginning training cannot be shortened.
Rorschach Training Programs has found that to have a solid foundation of understanding how to administer, code, and interpret the Rorschach CS training needs to occur through face to face interaction and feedback. This Program is equal to a semester’s training in the Rorschach CS. It is important that psychologists have an in-depth understanding of how scores are derived and how the structural summary is developed. Many psychologists rely on computer programs as time becomes a factor; however, it is vital that psychologists know the underpinnings of the systems they are using.

WE CONTINUE TO OFFER A DISCOUNT FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS. Before attempting to register send an email requesting instructions. Detailed information is posted on the website.

2 DAY ADVANCED REVIEW PROGRAM
(NOT YET OPEN FOR REGISTRATION)
This 2 Day Program is being planned for early August, 2016, in the New York City area. It is an opportunity to refresh and refine your Rorschach CS skills. Participants will be able to experience a variety of challenging protocols that will enhance their Rorschach abilities and increase their confidence in using the Comprehensive System. It will also provide the opportunity to network with colleagues, and enjoy the ambience of the “Big Apple.” This is a program for experienced Rorschachers. It is not a program for beginners. More information will be available when the program details are confirmed later in the year.

Coming – January/February 2016
Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC)

The foundation for any evaluation is a good history. Historical information provides a context for test findings and clarifies behavioral patterns. Whether you are involved in a clinical treatment practice, a clinical evaluation practice, or a forensic practice the value of a structured history cannot be overstated.

The January/February Newsletter 2016 will be offering just such a tool developed by Anthony Sciara PhD. The Forensic Client History and Checklist (FCHC) will be available online at that time. See the January/February 2016 RTP Newsletter for ordering instructions.

Remember that comments and questions are always welcome.

As the holidays approach we wish everyone the best of the season.

Errata Sheet: CODING STRATEGIES FOR THE RORSCHACH COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM

We have very much appreciated the great response to our Coding book. Among those responses were a couple of individuals who noted an inaccurate example.

In order to correct that inaccuracy please print out the attached errata sheet and replace Page 9 of the Coding Book with the errata sheet.

As usual we welcome comments about our publications and strive to keep them as accurate as possible.

Download file (PDF)

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER NEWSLETTER

BARRY RITZLER, PHD, ABPP and ANTHONY SCIARA, PHD, ABPP

COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM CLARIFICATION

For some time it has been reported that the Exner family has stated that the Comprehensive System should not change. We recently spoke to Andrea Metts, the daughter of John Exner and the director of Rorschach Workshops in Asheville, North Carolina, to clarify their position. She indicated the Exner family never intended that the Comprehensive System could not change. She believes that another member of the family who was previously active in Rorschach workshops may have voiced that position to other people; however, that is not the official position of Rorschach Workshops.

Andrea also indicated that the family never agreed with certain proposals set forth by the R-PAS group. She characterized those proposals as including a surrender of the Comprehensive System to R-PAS to manage. The family feels strongly that it is important to protect the work of John Exner and for the copyrighted materials to stay as it is. That is not to exclude research suggesting changes to the System. Those who knew Dr. Exner can recall that he said that the Comprehensive System was a “work in progress”.
Andrea also stated that Rorschach Training Programs (RTP) has long been given permission to use Rorschach workshop protocols in their programs. However, no such permission has been given to any other group, including R-PAS. Dr. Exner’s wife, Doris, and Ms. Metts requested RTP clarify their position in this newsletter in an effort to encourage ongoing research and publication on the use of the Comprehensive System.

COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (CSIRA) MEETING

Dr. Ritzler recently attended a conference on the Comprehensive System held by the Comprehensive System International Rorschach Association (CSIRA) in Milan, Italy. The association president is Anne Andronikoff from France and the vice president is Noriko Nakamura from Japan.

The conference ran for three days and contained many interesting papers and posters. Two workshops were conducted at the end: One on the forensic use of the Comprehensive System and another on CHESSS – a computer program based on the Comprehensive System developed by Patrick Fontan from France.

The conference was an indication that the Comprehensive System is practiced extensively throughout the world and that much research is being conducted on additions to, and changes in, the Comprehensive System. In 2017, CSIIRA will co-sponsor the International Rorschach Congress in Paris.

CSIRA also is developing a data base for the Comprehensive System. Protocols, coding, and background information can be sent to Patrick Fontan at fontan.patrick@gmail.com or by snail-mail at 36 rue de Chinon, 94110 Arcueil, France.

CODING STRATEGIES BOOK ERRATA

We have very much appreciated the great responses to our Coding book. Among the many responses were a couple of individuals who noted an inaccurate example on Page 9. To correct the inaccuracy please go to our website www.rorschachtraining.com – “Materials to Purchase” and there you will find a replacement for Page 9 that can be downloaded and printed.

As always, we welcome your comments about our publications and strive to keep them as accurate as possible.

WATCH FOR 2016 PROGRAM SCHEDULE IN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER NEWSLETTER

JULY-AUGUST NEWSLETTER

LOOKING AHEAD
All 2015 Programs have been completed and we are now looking toward planning for 2016.
The International Convention of the Rorschach Comprehensive System will be held in Milan, Italy, the last week of August. Dr. Ritzler will be attending and presenting a paper on the reliability of Comprehensive System variables and a poster on teaching workshops in the United States. The next newsletter will have a summary of the convention.

Below are frequently asked questions we answer during our training programs. We hope you find the information helpful.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1.How long ago did Hermann Rorschach develop the ink blot test?
Hermann Rorschach developed the test in the 1920s. He died of a burst appendix at the age of 37 when only 6 tests had been sold. There is evidence that Rorschach was enamored with inkblots and the parlor game Klecksographie (Blotto). From that interest, he developed his test as a series of ten cards which are drawings based on actual inkblots. Some previous research had been done with inkblots, usually for the purpose of assessing intelligence, but Rorschach used his test to assess the cognitive and perceptual functioning of psychiatric patients. His research into inkblots is contained in his monograph, Psychodiagnostik. Many of Rorschach’s original codes and scoring guidelines are used today.

2. Why use the Rorschach when other tests are quicker?
The Rorschach gives us information about psychological functioning not obtainable from other assessment procedures. In most cases, it enables us to understand a person much in the way a long-term therapist comes to understand a client. However, the Rorschach gives that information in a few hours compared to weeks of psychotherapy. It would be helpful for many therapists to know about their patients’ Rorschach at the beginning of therapy.

3. How do I obtain a diagnosis using the Rorschach?
The Rorschach was never meant to be a test to obtain a DSM diagnosis. Rather, it is most useful in understanding an individual’s psychological style and functioning. For instance, there are many different ways of being schizophrenic or depressed and the Rorschach usually detects these differences.

4. Why doesn’t Rorschach Training Programs (RTP) teach computer scoring?
The goal of the Beginning Program is to teach psychologists how to administer, score, and interpret the Rorschach with a clear understanding of its underlying principles. All scoring (coding) is done by the psychologist whether they input it into a computer or hand calculate an individual protocol. RTP does briefly introduce computer programs and discuss several different programs available. Because our goal is to have students understand how the scores (coding) are determined and how the structural summary is constructed, hand scoring and interpretation is used with the case material. After this Program you will be able to make better use of any computer program. It is still necessary for the psychologist to modify and re-word the computer generated report to fit the individual client.

5. Why doesn’t RTP do online training?
We believe that students need face to face feedback and instruction as they work through case protocols, learning from their mistakes to improve their scoring and their ability to construct and understand a Rorschach structural summary. Online instruction may be useful in helping a psychologist to become familiar with the system’s procedures, but it is no substitute for direct instruction with actual protocols and live instructors.

6. I don’t have much time. Why is the beginning training so many days?
The training begins with the simplest patient protocols and, over the course of 4 to 5 days, the protocols increase in difficulty. At the end of the Beginning Program you should be ready to administer, score and interpret a protocol. We consider the Beginning Program to be the equivalent of a semester’s graduate instruction in the Comprehensive System (CS). The Society for Personality Assessment indicates that at least a semester of graduate instruction is necessary to effectively use any assessment method.

7. Should I feel confident to give the test when the program ends?
Using the Rorschach is a complicated process; however, you should be ready to begin practicing on your own after the Beginning Program. It is important to administer your first ‘real’ Rorschach as soon as possible after completion of the program. The more frequently you give the Rorschach, the more competent and confident you will become. The Beginning Program provides training in Rorschach administration and gives you preparation for coding using the CS. While the Beginning Program introduces you to interpretation, there is no substitute for continued training with the method.

8. How does the CS compare to RPAS?
The two systems are very similar, but not the same. For example, RPAS changed administration to limit the responses to “pull for two and push after four” which precludes individuals from freely giving their responses.

The main problem we have with RPAS is that method is based on the international norms reported in Amsterdam in 1992. Those results differ from the Exner norms. They are less complicated (higher Lambdas) and have less color. We are concerned that people who give complicated Rorschachs with color responses will be seen as psychologically abnormal.

RPAS has ignored all the Rorschach research conducted prior to 1970.
We believe much of this research made a significant contribution to the development of the Rorschach and should not be ignored.

RPAS findings are based on international norms developed from a variety of international studies – administration and group samples are a concern. The international norms were based on obtaining information from the average person on the street. The Exner norms attempted to identify an average level of psychological functioning which is probably above the level of the average person.

9. How are RPAS and the CS similar?
Both systems follow similar coding (scoring) principles. Both use the same words of instruction, “What might this be?” Both use many of the same variables. Both construct structural summaries. While RPAS may work as well as the CS in some cases, there is no evidence that it is better.

10. I have heard that Dr. Exner and his family will not allow changes.
Dr. Exner always said that the CS is a “work in progress.”
What the family does not want changed is what Dr. Exner wrote and copyrighted in his workbooks and articles. Research should continue to expand our understanding of this complex test and meaningful findings will be integrated into our use of the CS.

11. Will I get confused between systems if I attend an RPAS Program?
Psychologists tell us that they have found parts of the RPAS system helpful. Once you understand the process you will benefit from using whatever seems to be most helpful in your practice. Since RPAS uses many of the CS guidelines, it is doubtful that attending an RPAS workshop will confuse you. Just keep in mind that the RPAS programs are much briefer and more statistically oriented than the CS; and, consequently, do not allow participants to fully learn an interpretative approach to the Rorschach.

12. What is needed for the future?
Psychologists should continue to do and publish research on both the CS and the RPAS. To date, one system has not been proven better than the other, but more clinical research would be helpful. It will be important that research be conducted by psychologists who have not developed and do not favor a particular system.

KEEP IN TOUCH
We appreciate the support of our many newsletter subscribers and program participants. Feel free to send an email or call at any time with your comments, questions, or suggestions.

Enjoy any remaining vacation or travel time and best wishes for a successful start to the new academic year.

MAY/JUNE NEWSLETTER

RORSCHACH TRAINING PROGRAMS, INC NEWSLETTER

VOLUME 7; NUMBER 3 (MAY/JUNE)

Anthony Sciara, PhD, ABPP

USES OF THE RORSCHACH COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM

While the Rorschach has been around since the early 1930’s, uses of the Rorschach in the practice of assessment have not always been clear.  For those of us who treat patients/clients the Rorschach can be a valuable tool for identifying both short term and long term therapy goals.  It also helps to clarify the personality traits that may be less amenable to psychological treatment.

When consulting with other psychotherapists the Rorschach can provide the foundation for a discussion of what the psychotherapist might focus on and what the patient/client may have in the way of strengths and weaknesses for moving forward in therapy.

The Rorschach is really NOT a good tool for defining a diagnostic category (a la DSM).  In fact, there is not a lot of crossover between the DSM and the findings on the Rorschach.  The DSM categories and the Rorschach were developed using very different methods and with different goals in mind.  While the Rorschach is excellent in describing an individual’s personality functioning, something like the Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory would be much better suited for diagnosing (categorizing) an individual with a psychiatric disorder.

The Rorschach is a very good tool to use in conjunction with a neuropsychological evaluation.  If you accept the concept that the Rorschach is a complex, cognitive, perceptual, problem solving task then its capability to help describe the impact of tumors, neurocognitive diseases and traumatic brain injury is incredible.  The combined information from neuropsychological testing and the Rorschach provides an extremely rich data pool from which to direct treatment.

In the forensic setting the Rorschach has been well received by many judicial jurisdictions.   When used within the context of a comprehensive forensic evaluation the Rorschach can provide insight into an individual’s cognitive makeup both at the current time and at the time of the commission of a crime.

In the school setting the Rorschach can be helpful in describing the developing status of students and, when used in serial administrations over time, it helps to demonstrate changes with age.  The Rorschach has also been helpful in developing programs for studying based on the student’s information processing strategies.  Potential for violence in schools also is a problem with which the Rorschach has been helpful.

Patient/clients in medical or physical rehabilitation facilities can be helped to move forward in their medical treatment by understanding their reaction to their symptoms, the role that anxiety and depression plays in their recovery, and how accurately they interpret their physical symptoms.

There have also been strategies for using Rorschach findings as an ongoing part of therapeutic intervention.  As the results are discussed they help to inform treatment goals and patient understanding.  Creative therapeutic uses of the Rorschach have been researched when having a couple complete a ‘joint, mutually agreed upon’ Rorschach protocol.

In many ways, the uses of the Rorschach in clinical practice are only limited by the clinician’s willingness to use those results in creative and novel ways.

In order to use the Rorschach however, the clinician must have a thorough understanding of coding, administration and interpretation.  While ongoing use of the Rorschach helps, it is direct training that jump starts the clinician’s skill and creativity.

We hope to see you at one of the Rorschach Training Programs to help you get that jump start!

FINAL PROGRAM FOR 2015 – AUGUST 13 AND 14

The final Program for 2015 is a “Two Day Advanced Program on Risk for Suicide” scheduled for Thursday, August 13 and Friday, August 14, at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut.   All the details can be found on the website at www.rorschachtraining.com.

This Advanced Program offers the unique opportunity to hear Dr. Christopher Fowler discuss his in-depth research on suicide and the Rorschach.   He is currently the associate director of Clinical Research and staff psychologist at The Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas.  Dr. Fowler’s presentations provide valuable information based on robust research that can be important for any clinician treating patients/clients in or out of a clinical setting.  At the end of the Program attendees will be able to identify characteristics indicating a risk for suicide and describe potential treatments and outcomes.    This Program may not be offered again so don’t miss this exceptional opportunity.

As always, thanks for your interest and support.