“Wait, so the Rorschach isn’t a bunch of crap?”3 min read
“Wait, so the Rorschach isn’t a bunch of crap?” “Hold on, so you can actually use this with real patients?” “This all seems like a bunch of magic. Do I really believe it?” Those are some of the questions that I was left asking when I was first introduced to the Rorschach. I knew about the Rorschach from movies, my intro psych classes, and from assessment courses in my master’s and doctoral programs, but not much credence was paid to the learning the test.
Throughout my graduate education, I was always told that the Rorschach was basically a bunch of nonsense that was too difficult to learn, too difficult to teach, and too challenging to score. My master’s program only taught the very basics of projective assessment and my doctoral program cut projectives from their assessment courses completely. It was even challenging to find local practitioners who had been trained in the Rorschach, let alone who were proficient in administering it. There was truly nowhere for me to turn to get hands-on, training and continual support and supervision that I needed to satiate my interest in the Rorschach. In fact, I did a practicum with a psychologist who proudly proclaimed that they took an “incomplete” for their course in the Rorschach because the test was “unscientific” and “unhelpful.” Now that I know more, I’ve realized that the sources who have been the most avid anti-Rorschach advocates have been people who didn’t understand the test, and were probably intimidated by it. And, yeah, I definitely get where they were coming from. The test can be intimidating in the oh-wow-this-is-like-a-new-language kind of way. However, it doesn’t have to be. Dr. Morris explains Rorschach in simple, relatable, and conversational terms, making the learning process more palatable – and entertaining.
Given that the general message that I received about the Rorschach was essentially that it is a bunch of B.S., I felt unsure where to channel my energy and I began to wonder if I was some kind of a charlatan for wanting to learn more. After all, always getting the side-eye when asking about the Rorschach made me feel like I was an odd-ball. Nevertheless, in May 2018, I took my odd-ball self to a very comprehensive R-PAS training. With that under my belt, I was fortunate to have Dr. Morris as part of the faculty at my doctoral internship. His openness and non-judgment throughout my Rorschach learning has been vital. He entertains any questions that I have, with a great understanding of where my training stands at this moment in time, not expecting me to be any further along than I am. Still, he pushes me to think critically, think clinically, and think like a Rorschacher – all with plenty of 1990s-2000s movie references to assist with the scientific process.
Despite knowing what I know now about the utility of the Rorschach, and in light of the messages that I received during my graduate training, there are still moments that I think about how this test seems like magic and when I just plain can’t wrap my mind around it. There are times that I’m left feeling confused, feeling frustrated, and questioning whether it’s really worth all the effort to continue learning about this old test created by a 19th century Brad Pitt look-alike (more about this later.) Yet, I still continue to learn about it and I continue to love learning about it. I hope that you do, too.
What was the meta-message you received about the Rorschach during your graduate training?