Barry Alan Ritzler, PhD

Society for Personality Assessment (SPA)

I attended the Society for Personality Assessment annual convention in Arlington, Virginia from March 19 through March 23.  There were workshops and presentations on R-PAS, but there also were presentations based on the Comprehensive System.  I gave a workshop on the administration and coding of the Comprehensive System.  In a paper session that I chaired, Luciano Giromini reported on a normative sample he compiled compared to the international norms used by R-PAS. He used a Bayesian method to show that his norms did not match the international norms.  We already know that the Comprehensive System norms do not match the international norms.  Since Giromini used somewhat different selection procedures than those used for the international norms and since Exner’s selection procedures also were different than the international norms, it is apparent that normative data depends on selection procedures.

In obtaining his normative data, Exner attempted to identify the average level of psychological functioning.  The aim of the international norms was to sample Comprehensive System results for the average person.  The Exner norms represent a healthier level of functioning because the average person unfortunately functions at a level below that of the average level of psychological functioning.  Consequently, the Comprehensive System is often accused of “over-pathologizing” non-patient results when, in reality, the differences are due more  to selection procedures rather than degrees of psychopathology covered by DSM.

Another problem for R-PAS is that the international norms were obtained using the Comprehensive System administration method that is different from the R-PAS administration procedures.  That means that R-PAS uses normative data that were obtained with administration methods that are not the administration procedure of R-PAS.

We like R-PAS because 1) it is still the Rorschach; 2) the manual is an impressive piece of work; and 3) Joni Mihura’s meta-analysis of Rorschach research is a high quality evaluation.  However, it is clear that R-PAS is a dramatically different method than the Comprehensive System (with no peer-reviewed research evidence that it is better).

Also, the marketing procedures which include the complex modern statistics used for the method’s manual impress many psychologists.  Finally, Mihura’s meta-analysis leaves out so many critical research studies that it yields an inaccurate view of the Comprehensive System.

At the SPA convention, it was apparent that many assessment psychologists still use the Comprehensive System.  We, of course, recommend this approach because we think it provides a more accurate assessment of an individual’s level of psychological functioning.

The SPA convention included much more that Rorschach presentations.  It was a spirited meeting that showed that assessment psychologists are using many different methods and points of view to understand the complexities of human behavior.

Rorschach Museum, Berne, Switzerland

Just before traveling to Arlington, I learned that the Rorschach Museum in Berne, Switzerland had burned down.  At the meeting, I was told that most of the memorabilia were saved and are now housed in the basement of the University in Berne.  I do not know for sure, but I assume that efforts are being made to find a new location for the Museum.

I also heard at the meeting that Rita Signer, the curator of the Museum and the keeper of the Rorschach Archives has retired.  We will keep you informed of the fate of the Museum and the naming of the new curator.

Coding Book Update

Work on the coding book is coming along and we are at the point of final editing.

We hope to have a copy ready for print by fall.  We will let everyone know when we are at the final stage of printing.

Final 2014 Training Programs

How fast the year is going.  Soon it will be summer (not soon enough for some of you) and time for the Five Day Training Program.  If you want to learn the basics of how to administer, code, and interpret the Rorschach this is your opportunity.   It will only happen about once each year.

This summer the Five Day Beginning Training Program will be held at the University of Hartford, Monday through Friday, June 23-27, 2014.  All the details are published on the website.  Hartford is equidistant between Boston and New York City so if flying into either city there are trains and buses that come to Hartford.  If interested in attending don’t delay your registration because participation is limited and pre-course materials will be mailed about four weeks in advance of the Program.

The Advanced Two Day Forensic Program planning is underway and will be held Thursday and Friday, August 21 and 22, 2014, in Asheville, North Carolina.  Drs. Anita Boss and Anthony Sciara are the faculty members for this Program.   Not only will relevant case protocols be presented, but also discussion of how to prepare for court, what to bring to the courtroom, what not to say, etc. will be included.

Thanks again to all our subscribers.  If you have questions, concerns or suggestions for the Newsletter please let us hear from you.