Contemporary Rorschach Interpretation

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

27
He Says, She Says, They Say: The
Consensus Rorschach

Leonard Handler University of Tennessee

With few exceptions personality assessment instruments have focused on the individual rather than on the dyad. This has been true of the Rorschach as well; it has traditionally been viewed as an individual, intrapsychic instrument. Perhaps this is why the Consensus Rorschach (CR), which involves administration of the Rorschach to two or more people simultaneously, generated so little interest until the relatively recent emphasis on interpersonal and object relations psychoanalytic approaches and the increased popularity of marital and family therapy. The CR should not be considered a measure of personality, as we typically view the individual record, but rather as a measure of interpersonal relatedness.

In the CR technique two or more people are asked to arrive at a single set of agreed upon responses through some type of negotiation. Interpretation usually stresses either content or process, although traditional scoring is also possible ( Aronow, Reznikoff, & Moreland, 1994). There are a number of variations in technique: (a) consensus protocols are obtained before or after the individual Rorschach; (b) the protocols are sometimes obtained without the standard individual administration; (c) the psychologist may or may not be present as a participant-observer; (d) all the cards may be given, or the patients may be given only one or two cards; (e) the test may be administered to a couple, or to an entire family or group; (f) the entire CR may be administered once, or it may be administered a number of times, to the same patient, with a variety of reference groups relevant to the patient's problem; (g) the time interval between test administrations may vary considerably from method to method, and there is "inadequate standardization . . . for determining when consensus has actually been achieved . . . whether or not [the examiner] subsequently elects to conduct an inquiry and how he goes about it" ( Aronow & Reznikoff, 1976, p. 219); and (h) the number of responses may or may not be fixed by the examiner.

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