Contemporary Rorschach Interpretation

By J. Reid Meloy; Marvin W. Acklin et al. | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

J. Reid Meloy James F. Murray

Hamlet. Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel? Polonius. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed. Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weasel. Polonius. It is back'd like a weasel. Hamlet. Or like a whale? Polonius. Very like a whale.

-- Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2

The dilemma of Polonius was that with each of his empathic comments, Hamlet produced another different response. Such is the beauty and complexity of the human mind when perceiving an ambiguous stimulus, an insight that led Hermann Rorschach to develop his scientific method 80 years ago.

We are full of gratitude for his brief life and work, and we hope this book will stand as an idiographic testament to his brilliance for those Rorschach students who come after us. But what of the origins of this particular project? Although the paternity status of this book is multiple, the maternity lies within the fecundity of the Society for Personality Assessment ( SPA). The Society has nurtured, cajoled, and inspired the professional growth and development of each of the editors, most notably through the annual pilgrimage to our Mecca -- the various cities selected for the SPA Midwinter Meeting each year.

As young psychologists, Meloy, Acklin, Gacono, Murray, and Peterson would attend various presentations at the meetings, retreat to their often shared hotel rooms, commiserate over the seminar content and familial dynamics of SPA, and gratify their senses in the evening with the ambience of a blues bar, selected by Peterson, and the elixir of the moment. Henry V was often bonded with us in spirit: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."

But something intellectual also happened. We noticed a shared view emerging that defined how we worked with the Rorschach. We were empiricists, but we also thought from within a psychoanalytic frame. Our data confirmed or disconfirmed theory, but theory gave flesh to the bone.

-1-

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