Contemporary Rorschach Interpretation

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

foreboding and it replaces the devouring, convoluted, disturbed, aggressive images on X. Indeed, there is more identification with aggressive images and power and effectiveness, rather than being victimized by them as was evident previously. The orientation to authority is still evident but not so disorganized (temple door, II; ruler, VI). Negative, self-image themes are less prominent (trashed, mean cat, I; ugly globs, IV; donkeys, VII). Big (II, IV, V, VI, VIII) rather than small (II) elaborations predominate, and the helplessness theme is diminished (only reference is "falling," X). Sturdy rocks are again evident (II, VI, X) and the most positive, aspiring response is on VIII with two tigers climbing out of a pit. One might conclude that resilient, striving themes are solidifying while the internal perturbation diminishes.

At age 10, 2 1/2 years after the first exam, Linda continues to adapt well. Overall, it appears that her response to the divorce is resilient in that she is continuing to adapt to life demands, doing well in many areas, and inducing appropriate environmental support. From a temporal perspective we see considerable improvement in Rorschach evidence of psychological disturbance, so that it appears that her initial disruption was contained internally, rather than expressed in behavior and alienation from supports. Thus, it does appear that her original internal disturbance might be considered to be an adaptive, regressive process. We also see what appears to be the "costs" of this resiliency. She is rather affectively constricted, so that she may suffer in the form of rigidity and lack of flexibility in new situations. On the other hand, as-if or false-self features do not appear. The problematic references to the father, precocious heterosexual interest, and interpersonal distancing, along with the depression, suggest some concern about the potential for the delayed "sleeper-effect" outlined by Wallerstein ( 1987, 1991).

Thus, there is considerable improvement in the internal world data and Linda has maintained a relatively strong external, behavioral adaptation ( Viglione & Perry, 1991). However, it would be premature to conclude that hers is a resilient reaction. Rorschach data differ too much from normative expectations (FC:CF + C, Afr, T, COP, ISO, CDI) and suggest significant internal distress that might eventually manifest as depression, character problems, or self-defeating behaviors as found in other research (e.g., Wallerstein , 1991; Waters & Sroufe, 1983). On the other hand, continued psychological development, as a result of staying in contact with a growth-promoting environment, is also a possibility. To address the question of whether or not this was a resilient response and how to understand the "costs" of her resilient adaptation, we examined Linda a third time.


EPILOGUE

As in the previous exams and consistent with single-case methodology, the third examiners were once again blind to the nature of the case and research question. Indeed, at the time of the third exam, we were running a research program that provided a standard battery of tests including the Rorschach,

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