Barry Ritzler, PhD

Welcome to the beginning of a new year.  I am sure you are acquainted with those who have already given up on resolutions or revised them.   Resolutions are difficult because some of us set goals that are too big and we quickly get discouraged.  Experts say that smaller goals that are more doable are wiser than the large audacious goals some of us attempt.  For this New Year we hope you will want to improve your Rorschach skills by learning to use the Rorschach Ink Blot Test, taking a refresher program, or joining the fall Reunion/Advanced Program.

The RTP Beginning Program teaches the Comprehensive System; however, these basic principles carry over to other systems.   For example, scoring, coding, and administration (except “push for two and pull after four”) are relatively the same whether you are using the Comprehensive System or RPAS.  The Beginning Program begins with a simple case protocol and moves on to more complicated cases during the five day program.  Learning how to administer, code, and score is a major focus.   Interpretation is included but at a more basic level.

The highlight of the Advanced Reunion Program scheduled for the fall will be presentations by Irving Weiner.   This is a rare opportunity to listen, ask questions and discuss Rorschach issues primarily related to the child and adolescent.

Details of all the Programs can be found on the RTP Website.  Don’t wait too long to register because all will have limited enrollment.


I know that Rorschach Cards get carried around in brief cases, handled by many hands, etc. When you are administering the Rorschach only clean, unmarked cards should be used.   In our Training Programs we often have said you should make sure that your cards are clean.  We do that because a study was done a number of years ago by a member of the Society for Personality Assessment who also was a member of the faculty at the Northwestern Louisiana State University in Natchitoches.  His name was Ross Keiser.  He took a clean set of cards and a smudged set and administered the Comprehensive System to the same subjects with the two sets of cards.  The result was that the smudged cards yielded higher Depression Index scores with some of them in the significant range.  Ross also noted other pathological differences.  Consequently, you should only use clean cards.  I had a student who laminated the cards, but that did not work because the lamination created a sheen that affected the results.  If you notice that subjects have dirty hands, you should ask them to wash their hands before handling the cards.  This is particularly important with children.


The tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut raises an important issue for the Rorschach.  It is possible to use the method to estimate potential for violence.  The signs are: 1. an unusual finding for aggression (elevated space responses, etc. -Ted Bundy had a particularly unusual finding:  no aggression at all in a protocol with 49 responses); and, 2. more than two vague responses.  The combination of aggression and regression makes the risk for violence much higher.  Unfortunately, many individuals who commit violent acts do not get the Rorschach before they commit the act.  In some mental health settings, the Rorschach is administered frequently and any finding indicating a risk for violence should be treated seriously.  After school psychology graduate students at Yeshiva University in New York City were taught the signs for risk of violence, the incidence of violence in New York City schools went down-since I taught the Rorschach course, I like to think the Rorschach was partly responsible for the decrease of violence in the New York City school system.


It will soon be time for the annual SPA Convention, scheduled for the third week of March.  This year it will be held in the gaslight district of San Diego which is a beautiful spot.  Dr. Sciara and I will have a half day workshop and on Saturday afternoon I will be doing a presentation on the new Picture Projection Test.  The next RTP Newsletter will have some highlights from the Convention.

Best Wishes for a successful 2013.

We look forward to seeing you at the SPA Convention and/or at one of the RTP Programs.