Anthony Sciara, PhD, ABPP


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!


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

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.