March/April Newsletter



As many of you know the Comprehensive System is alive and well and widely used around the world. We are fortunate this year to have a number of international writers who will be contributing to the Newsletter, sharing comments about the use of the CS internationally, current research, etc. For this Newsletter we welcome the contribution of Patrick Fontan who is a professor of clinical psychology and a principal member of the Comprehensive System International Rorschach Association (CSIRA). He will be one of the many presenters at the International Rorschach Congress to be held in Paris, France, July 17-21, 2017. The congress is being co-sponsored by CSIRA, the Comprehensive System International Rorschach Association.

The Comprehensive System International Rorschach Association – CSIRA/ARISI
Patrick Fontan, Laboratoire Ipsé, Paris West University

The Comprehensive System International Rorschach Association or l’Association Rorschach Internationale pour le Système Intégré en Français (CSIRA/ARISI) is the phoenix of the former European Rorschach Association for the Comprehensive System (ERA). The ERA went through a critical internal crisis subsequently to the IXth congress of the association which was held in Prague Czech Republic in 2009. A symposium on the International Reference Values (Meyer et al. 2007) was heavily discussed and the future of the CS and ERA seemed in jeopardy and in 2011/12, Anne Andronikof planned to dissolve the ERA. In reaction, many encouraging messages were received in support of the association and we organized in a rush a last-chance congress in Paris 2012. This exceptional event combined funerals and a birthday party as it saw the dissolution of the ERA and the creation of CSIRA, and the last ERA Congress was also the first CSIRA congress, so there is a perfect continuity between these two associations. This congress was also special for me because it was the first public presentation of CHESSSS, the free software for the CS (Fontan et al. 2013). Subsequently, the second congress of the association was held in Milan, Italy in 2015, was organized by Fiorella Gazale and was a complete success, which demonstrated how lively the association was and how it was reinvigorated.

In 2017, CSIRA presented a symposium on current and innovative researches with the CS in SPA convention in San Francisco, chaired by Giselle Hass. Fiorella Gazale presented a research on a sample of Italian outpatient which showed that CS data differentiates neurotics, psychotics and borderline patients with satisfying sensitivity and specificity. Christian Mormont’s research was focused on the assessment of gender identity with the Rorschach and undertook a large study on 800 participants from Belgium general population. No significant association between Rorschach variables and gender identity were found, no matter how hard we tried. We recommend being very cautious on this question. Jason Smith presented results from his dissertation on the specificity of female psychopaths as compared to male psychopaths. Finally two papers on suicide were presented, one from Fiorella Gazale who tried to bring into light a better theoretical understanding of the CS Suicide Constellation, and another concerning suicide risk assessment with the Rorschach by Louhab Fergani from Algeria. The research demonstrated that the CS-Suicide Constellation outperformed actuarial data and other Rorschach suicide scales.

This summer in the International Society for the Rorschach (ISR) congress in Paris, CSIRA will hold three symposia. The first will be chaired by Kari Carstairs, president of the British Rorschach Association and will deal with cross cultural issues in Rorschach normative samples. Two normative studies from England and Algeria will be presented, as well as cross cultural study with the Rorschach Component Model (Fontan et al. 2016) which revealed very large differences between European national Rorschach reference samples for the CS. A second symposium will be chaired by Barry Ritzler and will include current researches with the CS. Anna Maria Rosso will present her results concerning mentalization, N\narcissism and space responses, Fiorella Gazale will address issues related to multimethod assessment, Yifat Weinberger will talk about the role of color in the Rorschach as she conducted an experiment with a full achromatic version of Rorschach cards and Dr. Ritzler will identify Comprehensive System variables consistent with terrorism. I will chair the last symposium on the science of Rorschach which will deal with issues related to the applicability of factor analysis to the Rorschach, issues of dimensionality and falsifiability of dimensional models, the problem of R and also translation issues concerning Form Quality tables and their possible implications on FQ reliability.

The purpose of CSIRA is to study and develop the Rorschach Comprehensive System. Any psychologist, practitioner or researcher, can become a member (see “application form” on the website It is governed by a Council of Administration (CA) composed of elected delegates from each country and of the founding members. CSIRA/ARISI holds an international Congress every two years.

The Society for Personality Assessment annual convention was held in San Francisco March 15-19. It was a pleasure to once again see old friends and familiar faces. The theme of the SPA meeting was “Evolving Proficiencies in Personality Assessment.” Robert Bornstein delivered his final presidential address at opening plenary session. The speech was extremely scholarly and excellent. Also, a moving tribute was paid to past-president Len Handler who was honored with the Marguerite Hertz Memorial Lecture. The lecture was given conjointly by Steve Finn, Jill Clemence, and Dr. Handler’s son and wife. Other awards were the Paul Lerner master lecture (presented by Simine Vazire), the Mary Cerney Student Award (received by Zara Wright from the University of Minnesota), the Walter Klopfer Award (received by M. Brant Donnellan-Texas A&M; Robert Ackerman and Courtney Brecheen-University of Texas at Dallas; Anthony Rodrizuez-University of California; Steven Reise-University of Minnesota; and Mark Haviland-Loma Linda University School of Medicine), and the Martin Mayman Award (received by Piero Procelli from Italy and James Kleiger from the Menninger Clinic.)

There were many excellent presentations. Of particular note was a round table on Forensic Psychology chaired by Corine de Ruiter. She cleverly ran the session as a series of interviews with the participants: Anita Boss, Giselle Hass, and Nancy Kaser-Boyd. There also was a symposium of Projection in the Rorschach chaired by Piero Porcelli with contributions by Shira Tibon, Jim Kleiger, and Ron Ganellen; the discussant was Irv Weiner. In another session, the focus was on the personality of Truman Capote; the session was chaired by Bruce Smith and included contributions by Jim Kleiger, Barton Evans, and Howard Lerner. In the discussion at the end Phoebe Cramer shared her personal experiences with Capote. It was gratifying to see so many young people interested in our specialty. The overall meeting attendance exceeded 500 participants. Next year’s meeting will be in Washington, DC, March 14-18, 2018. The call for workshops is already out. You find more information on the SPA website:

As always we appreciate the support and interest of psychologists who use the CS. (Our current email subscription list is now close to 1000 subscribers.) It is important to know that no matter what system you use there are three important phases to the Rorschach assessment process: administration, coding, and interpretation. Valid coding cannot be done without proper administration, and interpretation – the final and critical phase of the Rorschach – cannot be done without proper administration and accurate coding. Consequently, the Rorschach can only be used effectively with proper training. We continue to offer materials covering each of these areas on our website: