Whether it be in movies or jokes involving psychiatrists, most people already seen or heard about Rorschach, but just a few know what it really is.
A bunch of ink spots in a piece of paper would be a description you’d get upon asking, but, as a projective test, Rorschach is much more than that. Ancient, some may say, useless, others would argue, it introduces some mistrust into the relationship with the patient and therefore undesirable, some will claim, yet the Rorschach remains a renowned test in the field.
Despite all of its weaknesses, this apparently simple test, together with the clinical interview can indeed prove very useful. Because of its fame, some people think it’s fun to do it, completely bypassing the argument about the mistrust that it might cause, and, of course, its main goal will be achieved: allow us a glimpse into and a better understanding of our subject.
Why do we use it and how does it works?
The Rorschach is used to grant us access to the internal reality of a suffering subject. It will help us understand him, and luckily, show us the way to easing his pain.
This will be made by the articulation of the perception and projection, present in it.
The ink spot is perceived by the subject (manifest content), yet it’s just a spot, nothing concrete, so it will allow the subject to elaborate on what’s perceived according to his experiences and psychic functioning (projecting).
During the test, the subject will (or at least should) be relaxed, have his guard down and then the intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts will emerge in the shape of desires and frustrations.
As a professional, you must keep in mind that your own perception will naturally interfere in the test results, so, you must apply it in accordance with a rigorous methodological procedure, in order to grant scientific reliability to this instrument.