The Rorschach: From Percept to Fantasm

Nina Rausch de Traubenberg. Rorschachiana. Volume 18, Issue 1. 1993.

Recently I was asked to select from my various papers on clinical psychology the one I preferred and in which I expressed most clearly my approach as a clinical psychologist. This led me to think about what has been the main theme of my research, clinical practice, teaching activities, and scientific papers. I would like to call this theme a sensitivity toward all that is interactive and linking. This sensitivity, initially intuitive, became a systematic search for relationships and interactions.

Looking back at the various steps in my professional as well as personal life, I came across this sometimes obvious, sometimes hidden framework. My personal motivation could not have been better served than by the Rorschach, a sensitive test capable of revealing many such links. This could be reversed, however, and I could equally well propose that I became aware of this personal motivation through the Rorschach.

Are we really entitled to look for a link between the choice of our working tool and of our internal attitude? I think that it is worthwhile to do so, each of us for himself or herself, just as it is important to maintain awareness of the role played by our intuition in data interpretation, because this intuition complements scientific competence.

Finally, I chose as my preferred paper the lecture I gave during the X International Congress of Rorschach and Projective Methods in Barcelona, published later in France under the title “The Rorschach, a Space for Interactions” (1985). I would like to devote these pages to the presentation and development of this theme.

Background

The Rorschach as a “space for interactions” is a formula that came to my mind in the course of my research on children’s reactions to the Rorschach Test. This expression seemed to me to account very well for the nature of the Rorschach as not only a simple visual stimulus, but also as a space in which complex psychological processes occur.

The response process involves the mobilization of various functions, starting with perceptual activity, but subsequently including imaginary and even fantasy activities as well. It is the product of this complex set of processes that we analyze; that is, we analyze not only what is said but also how it is said. In other words, a meaning or significance is given to these visual stimuli that is, to be sure, an objective reality, but that is nevertheless created in such a way that it harks back to another reality, an internal reality shaped by fantasy. What is experienced by the subject confronted with the blots varies greatly, running from simple description of an objective reality to the most subjective and/or the most unreal imaginary experience.

The specificity of the Rorschach as a system of interactions, as a space in which various psychic movements occur, is revealed with respect to the following considerations:

  • The circumstances of the Rorschach test situation. Whether in response to implicit features of the test situation or explicit instructions, the patient-examiner relationship creates a framework in which threads of objectivity and subjectivity mingle.
  • The stimulus. All of the inkblots are symmetrical, arrayed on either side of a vertical median axis, thus creating a spatial rhythm that Rorschach judged essential. The objective characteristics of the inkblots include their shapes, colors, shadings, and figure-background relationships. These perceptual qualities are discussed in detail by Schachtel (1966). The stimulus emerges as compact or scattered, as stable or unstable, as precise or vague, as massive or delicate, and above all, as constructed but not finished, complete or incomplete, and full or hollow. Young children, for example, organize the stimulus in relation to their own body, that is, they project their body on to it. Very ill adult patients do likewise. Thus, Card V becomes for a 5-year-old boy with a congenital heart disease “an operated-on heart” and for an 8-year-old boy with a kidney disease “an ill rabbit, a dead rabbit—a healed rabbit.”Integrating these characteristics generates hypotheses concerning the potential symbolic value of die stimulus and its pull. This value is never limited to a single meaning, but rather depends on the level of psychic functioning on which the subject is reacting, whether on a primary regressive level or an adaptive and inventive secondary level.
  • The instructions. Although referring to well-defined stimulus objects, the instructions that are given (“What might this be?”) invite an infinite number of possibilities that, as noted by Schafer (1954), run from percept to fantasy.
  • The response. Rorschach (1921) proposed a three-part scoring of the response (“what is said”). In so doing he asserted the importance of an interaction: he brought together in a single formula the space (location), the way in which this space is experienced (determinant), and how subjects place themselves in it (content). The image in its frame is an object of knowledge either acting or acted upon. Therefore what is perceived and what is experienced are co-mingled. Put differently, perceptual activities are personalized. No one has given a better definition of behavior and attitude toward the Rorschach Test than Daniel Lagache, who in 1957 distinguished between “perceptual activity” and “fantasy activity” and asserted that only the latter fits responses to the Rorschach Test blots.The three elements of scoring are important because they show the relationships among the expressed need, the strength of conflicts, the flexibility or rigidity of defenses, and the movement between regression and reconstitution. However, the meaning of the scores should be related to the manner in which the response is given, the location of the response, the card to which it is given, the color of the stimulus area used, whether the response is given in the beginning or at the end of the test, and the manner of expression. French psychologists and psychiatrists have been particularly interested in language and verbalization. Minkowska (1956) and her group tried to establish a relation between the style of verbalization and the subject’s mental structure. Cosnier (1969) proposed concepts and methods for a psycholinguistic approach to the Rorschach. He argued that the classical approach to scoring content tended to lose three-quarters of the testee’s message. How subjects express themselves in givingRorschach responses can be assessed directly by analyzing grammatical errors or errors in logical thinking that occur even when word usage is appropriate. Thus, Merceron, Husain, and Rosselrecommend a type of discourse analysis which is based upon Piaget’s genetic theory.These qualitative components are very difficult to objectify, and yet they can be decisive. The diagnostic use of theRorschach test is too often based only on formal data, i.e., quantitative data such as frequencies, without considering qualitative data, the markedly empirical character of the method, or the variety of psychopathological models, and also without considering the extreme creativity of the author who repeatedly revised his thinking in accordance with new developments.
  • The interpretive value of the scores. The interpretive hypotheses suggested enthusiastically by Rorschach were empirical, and, as he said himself, they have a transient character. He called for further study of the “reciprocal game” of factors. The interpretive value of the scores is not in fact unequivocal. Consider the following features of the form level and of color and human movement responses.

Form reflects recognition of objective reality, but it may have an affective connotation as well, as in the case of Schachtel’s “dynamic” Fs, which occur so often in children’s Rorschachs. There are many different ways of “mastering the chaos” when one considers Mayman’s very refined classification of the forms (1970). More recently the form has been viewed as an outline, an envelope, a way of delineating the outside from the inside (Chabert, 1983).

Color responses reflect various meaning depending upon the color itself (red, grey, black, white, pastel), the location, the content, and the feeling tone. What is more difficult to handle than the color on the Rorschach? There are many varieties of “affect” or of experiencing affect as well as the elaboration of sensory experience. Sum C as a simple frequency of color responses is not only insufficient but completely misleading; it leads to an absurd mixture of destructive contents, regressive movements, passive receptiveness, narcissistic needs for valorization, interpersonal needs, and needs for emotional involvement. Obviously, color responses cannot have an unequivocal affective meaning.

Human movement responses have the most diverse and least unequivocal interpretive value, given the richness of their implications. Contradictions are obvious between authors who translate the Rorschachin terms of external behavior and those who consider Rorschach responses as mental attitudes and aspects of fantasy life. In my opinion the projective aspect becomes essential here, as is the reference to body schema. The human response can be interpreted in terms of identification and empathy, of cathexis of thought, or of a distancing from the action in reference to the body as an organizer, whether in accurate or poor form, whether real or unreal, whether sexualized or not, and whether depicting a posture or relationship. The movement responses are often the most direct expression of elaborate fantasy scenarios. A more current interpretation examines the movement response in terms of self-representation and self-relationship, in which the self is either locked in the boundaries of the perceived or dispersed and projected in the external world. Consequently a precise analysis of each movement response is necessary before deciding on its particular meaning.

For the past 15 years the meaning of movement responses has been enriched by such considerations. The human response has been the object of multidimensional analyses in which these human representations are used to assess the quality and level of object representation (Blatt, 1976) and even of object relationships (Mayman, 1967). Mayman refers primarily to psychoanalytic theory in his exclusive attention to the contents of the test, whereas Blatt examines aspects of process as well and integrates the cognitive developmental theories of Werner (1940) and Piaget (1937) with psychoanalytic perspectives. Lerner and Lerner (1980), in analyzing primitive defense mechanisms such as splitting, denial, idealization, projective identification, also make extensive use of human figure responses.

Human responses take a prominent position—perhaps too much so -in test interpretations framed in psychoanalytic theories focused in particular on the development of object relations and the process of internalization of experiences (Mahler, 1975; Fairbarn, 1952; Winnicott, 1975). A number of authors give special status to movement responses, already termed as “Salz in Suppe,” and consider them to be the noble element in a Rorschach protocol. But what then is one to do with protocols without any or with only one movement response, of which there are many? It is necessary to strike a balance and attend to such elements as animal, botany, and inanimate contents that may in fact be substitutes for human representations. Such a balance was proposed, though in a different perspective, by M. Orr (1958), then by Rausch de Traubenberg and Sanglade (1984) in Europe and by Ipp (1986) in the U. S.

Discussing the interpretation of the Rorschach scores calls for comments on the methods of analysis and modes of interpretation practiced in the Institute of Psychology in Paris. Analyzing protocols, we take into account the Rorschach test situation, for us a very special situation that combines a call to dreaming and to free expression while observing an external objective reality, that of the relationship and of the object. The testing situation must help subjects express what they are unable to say clearly, and it must not push them to say what they do not want to. Opportunity for free expression and even for play is thereby provided. Nevertheless, subjects may perceive being tested as a burden, and they are likely to regulate their choices with each card and according to their needs to express or to resist expressing their attitudes, conflicts, and wishes. For us this is the route to follow in order to appreciate the complexities of the fluctuations between reality and fantasy.

Clinical Research

Percept-Fantasm Interactions in the Rorschach Test in Children

Our research on prepsychotic organization in children enabled us to systematize the concept of interferences between perceptual and fantasy activities in children’s Rorschachs. It is well known (Engel, 1963; Rausch de Traubenberg & Boizou, 1980; Rausch de Traubenberg et al. 1973) that in borderline children there is a back and forth movement between an archaic world of drives and a more socialized world. The intensity of fabulation and of fantasmatic experiences does not hinder a rapid recovery; although fragile, the perceptual and cognitive framework remains cathected. Beginning with this observation, we have re-examined the protocols of 260 children from eight clinical and three non-clinical groups. The purpose was to examine the interaction between the use of a perceptual framework and the expression of the needs. In other words, it was to define how the percept is influenced by the affective pressure or, alternatively, to define the reparative role of perceptual elements in the face of obvious fantasmatic pressure.

By setting up a grid, it was possible to assess die various interactions among perceptual approaches and the level of associations. When a deterioration occurred, the card, determinants, content, and underlying unconscious theme were all noted. We also noted how reconstitution came about, through which expressions, formal or not, and in what mode. The most difficult to appreciate is the degree of oscillation between progressive and regressive responses, even though this is what should be used for a prognosis.

Four types of interference have been catalogued, three with various degrees of deterioration and one in which, by contrast, mental processes were used to express a conflict.

The significance of this research lies in having highlighted the role of fantasy as an organizer, in contrast to its more well known destabilizing role. In this latter case resources are suddenly mobilized with the greatest intensity as if the fantasmatic drive compelled subjects to deviate from their usual ways of functioning. This hyperarticulation is not always a sign of precocious maturity; rather it is often a kind of creative explosion that may happen only once in the test. Generally the configuration of the blot confirms where this occurs, the obvious theme being presented in a well-articulated scenario.

These researches enabled us to propose a theoretical model for the interpretation of children’s Rorschachs, in terms of interferences between perception and fantasy.   No only does this model account for the specificity of children’s Rorschach, it facilitates the interpretation of protocols in other clinical settings as well. Our clinical experience also suggested the hypothesis that the intensity of conflict, the need for expression, and the need for achievement are reflected both at the mental and perceptual level and at the intrapsychic and affective levels. 

Percept-Fantasm Interactions in the Rorschach Test in Adolescents and Adults

The combined reference to percept and fantasy makes it possible to determine a level of psychic functioning that is equated with a psychiatric diagnosis. In the Rorschach Test perceptual and fantasmatic activities are not differentiated within the response, but are intermingled in the response process, a process akin to play, a play due to an image-making behavior or to the “unlocking of the book of the private imagery” (Schafer 1954). For a long time these two types of activity were analyzed separately, sustaining the controversy between adherents to formal scores and to thematic data.

We are all familiar with the emphasis given by many authors to the perceptual components of the Rorschach and to the choice of determinants. At the same time, everyone knows how difficult it is to prove the validity of so-called structural indicators as nosological signs. Some researchers have emphasized the perceptual aspect   in isolation, analyzing it in terms of levels of development and nosological meaning. One should recall the remarkable researches of Friedman (1953), Hemmendinger (1960), and Dworetzki (1939) in which the levels of perceptual organization are translated into stages of regression of mental illness and compared to the developmental levels of perception in the child. Perceptual modes have been related to specific modes of thought, such as obsessional or paranoiac. The motivational, fantasy aspect has also been studied in isolation through determinants and even further through contents. Various foci such as body boundaries, self representation, libidinal drives, aggressive drives, and defense mechanisms have been examined.

Some authors have attempted to consider both activities together in order to achieve accurate diagnosis in the adult clinical field. Zulliger (1949) had already suggested a relationship between apperceptive modes and stages of libidinal development. I wish to stress the impressive pioneering work of Bower, Testin, and Roberts (1960) that combines thought processes, expressive style, and contents in specially constructed scales. The authors use psychoanalytic concepts as reference points but do not limit themselves to analysis of content. On the contrary, they conclude that it is necessary to combine the two types of scores to obtain sufficient data for diagnostic purposes and to assess the level of ego functions and object relations.

In the clinical field, the most satisfactory effort to link perception and fantasy in Rorschach interpretation as proposed by Schafer in 1954. He observed the underlying factors of the responses and their sequence and from that he deduced the levels of the psychic functioning and the mode of articulation among drive, defense, and adaptation.

In short, is it possible to characterize percept and fantasm, external and internal realities, as two separate objects of research, the object of psychoanalytic research being fantasm and the object of psychological research being behavior? For the Rorschach test, this division is artificial and even incongruous, because the Rorschach’s value lies precisely in the simultaneous call for both to create meaning! Extreme cases in which subjects show too great a fixation to one of these poles, perceptual or fantasmatic, demonstrate deviance in the form of either a complete break with fantasy or a complete invasion by it. The latter is associated with mental pathology, whereas the lack of fantasy is most commonly observed in psychosomatic patients and in non-patients. This could be expected because, as is known, fantasmatic activity is mobilized by psychic trauma, conflicts, and pain.

Percept-Fantasm Interactions: Study of the Stimulus

Like it or not, the layout of the cards is not neutral. The objective characteristics of the 10 cards, including their figure-ground, shapes, colors, and shadings have been discussed in detail by Schachtel (1966) in terms of perceptual experience within a phenomenological framework. In France, Minkowska (1956), Muchielli (1968), and others have commented on the sensitivity and the affective climate of each card.Bohm (1955) tried, but not very convincingly, to assign an implicit symbolic meaning to each card. In the 1950s, some American researchers focused their attention on the so-called sexual and parental cards, using external criteria such as Osgood’s semantic differential. Following Jung’s ideas, one researcher proposed an original but poorly applicable interpretation of the stimuli. Much of the work of this kind has been detrimental to advances in Rorschach interpretation, because some psychologists, especially beginners, have taken these proposals literally without distinguishing between reality and fantasy.

This problem was reexamined from a different viewpoint by Bolzinger (1972), who utilized the technique of offering choices in the inquiry (i.e., asking subjects for their preferences among the cards) to confirm the implicit meaning of the cards. Taking into consideration the structural and sensory organization of the cards, the frequency of the associations given by subjects of various clinical and age groups, and also their own theoretical preferences, Rausch de Traubenberg and Boizou (1977) and Chabert (1983) developed a different approach to the underlying symbolic meaning of the blots. Their proposed hypotheses regarding the symbolic meaning of the cards stipulate that this meaning depends upon the level of the psychic functioning of the subject. One may suppose that beyond the perceptual configuration the subjects are going to give a “meaning” of another order depending on their affects, dreams, and fantasies, and in so doing “they personalize the reality.” Experience with children’s Rorschachs has shown that very young children and psychotic youngsters also may easily grasp the fantasy meaning of the stimuli and their potential symbolic references, especially those referring to the body and to relationships with parental images. As an example, a 4-year-old girl saw in Card IX “a beast that lives with its mother.”

In protocols of adults some sensitivity to specific meanings of die cards is generally a very important clinical clue to psychological flexibility. The validity of this hypothesis in clinical practice is, in our opinion, highlighted by phenomenological and psychoanalytic theories.

An Illustrative Research Study

Recently we had the opportunity to examine the question of card specificity in 73 protocols given by adolescents age 16 to 19 years attending senior high schools in Paris. This research was conducted by a team of psychologists under my direction in the Hospital of La Salpetriere in Paris and presented during the XIII International Congress of Rorschach and Projective Techniques in Paris (Martin et al. 1991). Some of the most important results are summarized below. In this research percepts and contents were studied, for each card, in order to identify themes unique to adolescents, the significance of these themes, and their effects on judgment and adaptation.

To determine whether the cards have any specificity for non-patient adolescents, the research proceeded as follows. First, the frequencies of die formal features of the responses, the perceptual modes and determinants, were calculated from the 73 protocols taken as a whole. No statistically significant differences appeared between the boys and the girls in the sample, and the data of the whole group were therefore pooled. Next, we recorded for each card the formal characteristics of the responses; the contents, classified according to the headings of an analytical grid of “Affective Dynamics” (expression of drives, aggressivity, body image, sexual themes, narcissism, anxiety, depression, defense mechanisms) (Rausch de Traubenberg et al., 1990); and finally the themes of the responses, carefully examined to refine the data of the first protocol analysis.

These various kinds of analysis yielded the following results:

  • Whereas perceptual modes, determinants, and popular responses do not enable us to differentiate between boys and girls, they do allow us to divide the cards into four groups: (a) cards such as I and V, with maximal utilization of one location (W) and one determinant (F), which are more cognitive and social than emotional; (b) cards such as VIII, X, and above all VII and III, which trigger more flexible attitudes and more varied behaviors pertaining to social adaptation; (c) one ambivalent card (VI) in which perceptual modes are rather diversified (W% = 45%), whereas the form determinant is frequent and rigid, suggesting a strong socialization; and (d) two cards, II and IX, in which the location (W, D, Dd, S) is varied but reality testing (F +%) fails, affected by emotional reactions manifested through colors and movement responses.
  • Contents grouped according to the psychological dimensions of “Affective Dynamics” enabled us to differentiate to some extent the reactions of girls and boys. The most important observation in this regard is that the negative elements are mainly found on cards II and IX. Reality testing (F+%) is poor in concert with an apparent occasional disorganization of psychic functioning. This disorganization is reactivated by bodily and/or sexual concerns accompanied by a defensive mobilization more archaic here than on other cards.
  • The careful study of how verbalization (nouns, verbs, adjectives) unfolds and varies shows clear and obvious differences between girls and boys. These differences are not apparent when one considers only the psychometric data.

In summary, then, the distribution of formal scores  through the 10 cards revealed two sensitive cards (II and IX), on which failure of control and loss of objective reality are likely to occur. The distribution of contents  in terms of “Affective Dynamics” analysis confirms the sensitivity of these two cards and explains it in relation to the sensitivity to bodily integrity and to the archaic image of the mother; this analysis also identifies sexual differences with respect to expressions of aggressivity. A thematic analysis of the discourse as a whole emphasizes more clearly the concerns and the defense and coping mechanisms of each group.

By focusing the research on the stimulus itself, differential results were obtained that did not appear in a more traditional analysis. This emphasis is even more necessary when the Rorschach is used in extreme conditions such as with non-Western cultures and traumatic life-conditions. In these cases it would be inappropriate simply to apply the cues obtained in our clinical studies.

Other Approaches

A single mode of analysis can hardly account for the richness of the Rorschach, and for this reason numerous approaches from diverse viewpoints have been proposed. For my part I would merely like to emphasize the importance of themes related to body image and self representation.

Body Image

The use of the Rorschach in child psychology and child psychiatry research continuously confronts us with the importance of body image. Since originally proposed by Schilder (1973), this notion has been developed in various perspectives: phenomenological, personalistic, psycho-genetic, and psychoanalytic. First empirically studied by Fisher and Cleveland (1958) and by Fisher (1970), this notion became a more scientific concept in Anzieu’s work on the “skin ego” (1985) and in other work on the container/content relationship.

Within the limits of our research, we propose that the Rorschach tests the presence of an integrated body image, regardless of whether responses concerning the body are present or not. The starting point of this hypothesis is obviously the stimulus structure, constructed around a vertical median axis, well contrasted from the white background and outlined to mark off the inside from the outside. This stimulus, this perceptual pattern, this space is a bodily space, a “body,” whether human, animal, botany, or inanimate object. The body can be simply named, described in terms suggesting great value (“a very beautiful butterfly,” Card I), or presented as injured and mutilated (“a butterfly with ragged wings”; “a completely battered can,” Card IV). In other words, the body is always cathected with libidinal energy and experienced in relation to the external world. Therefore, the body is not projected as a real or known entity or as an object of knowledge, but rather as an experienced entity that can be both subject and object of affects. The bodily space becomes relational space. 

In children, these projections of body images are easy to find in both human and non-human percepts. Both types of responses reflect perceptual and conceptual differentiation, provided the percept is clearly defined without either overlapping or superpositions and provided well-defined homogeneous contents are given in a clearly stated determinant.

It is possible to look for the body images whether expressed in a direct or indirect manner, whether archaic or evolved in expression. Card I, for instance, is interpreted as “a spider which has swallowed a fly,” a W contaminated response in which no image exists autonomously. By contrast, the response “it is a black fly” is more evolved because boundaries are not lost even though the form quality is not good. In young children various levels are often found in the same protocol, thus indicating some overlapping of perceptual modes. A study of the 10 cards (Boizou, Chabert, & Rausch de Traubenberg, 1978) as they are treated by children of various ages and personality structures led us to distinguish various levels of individuation and differentiation and therefore various levels of self-representation and object relations.

In protocols of young schizophrenic adults, Chabert (1987) highlighted “the links that join the body, the thought and their objects.” In this case, the failure of cognitive processes goes hand-in-hand with damaged or fragmented body images. The body is no longer a unity, or a container, and consequently it cannot act as a basis for thinking. The links—body and thinking—are a theme particularly worth studying with projective techniques.

Self-Representation

The image of the projected body, from the most archaic to the most advanced level, is not a psychic agency. Loaded with diverse meanings, this image condenses the cathexis of the self and of the other and therefore reflects the affective dimension of relationships with the surrounding world. This affective attitude interacts with the perceptual and conceptual structure that it either mobilizes and organizes or deteriorates and disorganizes.

“Self-representation” is unconscious. It includes the body image as well as its surrounding relationships. These are interrelated; the body image creates the relationships which, in return, structure the body image itself. The concept of self-representation seems to account fully for these relations. It serves as a unifying principle, bringing together the various stages of qualitative and quantitative analysis in directing them towards the subject himself.

Myriam Orr had already, in 1958, begun to understand this notion of self-representation when she described the Rorschach contents as a psychic auto-portrait, the source of which would be the universal need of self-representation. More recently American authors, such as Mayman (1967) and Blatt (1976), developed methods for analyzing object representations. Mayman tried to grasp the affective and conceptual aspects of object representation. Blatt adopted a more cognitive approach in which clinical experience is considered from a developmental framework. Researchers such as Urist (1977), and more recently Ipp (1986) and others quoted by Lerner (1991), apply Mahler’s theory of separation-individuation and propose scales to assess the development of object relations.

The self-representation grid we proposed is not as ambitious (Rausch de Traubenberg & Sanglade, 1984). Its purpose is to establish the construct validity of the self-representation by multidisciplinary analysis of contents bringing to light subjects’ fundamental stance vis à vis their body experience and object relations. To achieve this, we need to analyze all aspects of the body image itself—whether total or partial, its modes of interaction, action, and relation, its sexual differentiation, whether determined or not, and the degree to which it is differentiated or undifferentiated. This grid uses all contents, not only the human; this special score is given in addition to the traditional ones. As formulated at present the grid is a working tool aimed at objectifying and quantifying qualitative aspects, and it enables us to compare groups of subjects in comparison to the study of interferences between perceptual and fantasmatic activity, which is primarily useful in analyzing individual protocols.

Conclusion

This article presents some of my own and my colleagues’ approaches to the Rorschach Test. They come from clinical practice, which itself has been influenced by teaching activities that, in turn, feed back to the clinical work. Teaching in which methodological issues, theoretical references, and clinical experience are intermingled deepens one’s comprehension of the Rorschach. Teaching activities and clinical application to various groups of subjects renew the understanding of the projective data and therefore clarify their conceptual basis. Hence the Rorschach becomes a tool for thinking that can serve various psychological theories.

The test, an objective reality, allows numerous interpretations, cognitive, affective, and fantasmatic. These interpretations can be approached in very different ways depending upon one’s goals and especially one’s theoretical preferences. Yet neither the subject nor the psychologist enjoys complete freedom: The subject’s creative freedom is restricted by the object stimulus, and the psychologist’s interpretative freedom is limited by the testing situation itself, defined by a subject, an object, and a demand. The combinations of interactions among all these aspects seem to be infinite. It appears that everyone of us, whether a clinician, a researcher, or a teacher, has his or her characteristic viewpoint and approach; we focus on a particular pattern of combinations depending upon our attitude, our goals, and also our field of experience. This range of experience needs to be broadened in order to ensure an open-mindedness and a critical examination of one’s own schemes, whether innate or acquired. Our contribution as “projective psychologists” is all the more valuable as we are able to add a creative dynamism to basic scientific knowledge.

The working instrument invented by H. Rorschach has proved to be as impressively rich as the man, Rorschach himself. He was a psychiatrist and a psychologist, a neurophysiologist, an artist, and an ethnologist, a man of science and a man of human contact, as modest as he was enthusiastic.