The European traditions    

Here is an ultra-short summary of European Rorschach research after Hermann Rorschach´s death.

Among the few who became Rorschach´s pupils during his lifetime one should mention Hans Behn(-Eschenburg), Walter Morgenthaler, Emil Oberholzer and Hans Zulliger. Already in 1921, Behn together with Rorschach construed a parallel set of inkblot cards, later known as the Be-Ro test, which has been much used in studies of Rorschach test reliability. Morgenthaler was the one who succeeded in getting Rorschach´s book published, and he wrote a chapter on method for the later editions. Oberholzer, who was the president of the Swiss association of psychoanalysts during the years around 1920, later did research on the use of the Rorschach test in patients with organic mental syndromes. Zulliger, finally, invented a "quick test" in the form of three diapositive inkblot pictures, intended for use as a group test (Der Z-Test, 1948). The Z-test was later also published in the form of printed cards, and is as such very useful as an individual test when there is a lack of time.

Among the other Swiss Rorschach researchers we especially want to mention Hans Binder, who did major work (1933) on the shadowing and chiaroscuro responses. By the way, these important responses were much facilitated by an irony of fate — a misprint. In the first printing of the Rorschach´s cards, the colours turned out much more diffuse than in Rorschach´s original plates! So, Hermann Rorschach himself never got much time to study the mentioned kinds of responses.

Of the other Swiss we must not forget K.W. Bash (born in the U.S.A.), whose "colour type" has become a diagnostic cornerstone for most European Rorschach users, and of course not Manfred Bleuler, for many years the central figure of European psychiatry. Bleuler carried out (or supervised) much work and research using the Rorschach, beginning with heritability studies around 1930 and culminating with his big work on schizophrenia (1972).

In France, Marguerite Loosli-Usteri devoted herself to work on the child´s Rorschach already in the 1930:s. One of her best known contributions is the description of the "choc kinéstésique". Other French researchers, among others the neurologists J. Delay and P. Pichot, studied the test in organic mental syndromes and in epilepsy (this work was mainly done in the 1950:s).

The Hungarian Ference Merei made an original contribution by trying to apply the concept of affordance ("Aufforderungscharacter") to the different Rorschach cards (1947). The idea is that each cards so to say asks for certain  kinds of associations, impressions and interpretations. Isabella Tarcsay, also from Hungary, construed an early system (1944) to arrive at a diagnosis "mechanically" (in analogy with Piotrowski´s more well-known organic index, and of course all the indices in Exner's system).

Among all the others we finally pick out the Englishman A. Guirdham, whose EqE  and EqA categories have been much used.

Important work to summarise and develop the contributions of the above-mentioned researchers (and many others) was done by the Danish-Swiss psychologist Ewald Bohm (1903-1980). His picture is here to the right. Bohm's most important book is doubtless the Lehrbuch der Rorschach-Psychodiagnostik, which first came out in 1958 and in its fourth edition in 1972. In Psychodiagnostisches Vademecum by the same author one can find a lot of summary tables and overviews of different kinds, which are very useful for the experienced Rorschach practitioner.

Bohm´s Lehrbuch  is a very comprehensive and well-written textbook — regrettably, only the first edition has (yet) been translated into English (ATextbook of Rorschach Test Diagnosis,1958). This is probably one main reason why is yet no grand synthesis between the European and the American Rorschach traditions.

(Text written in 2004.)


References (to be completed): 

Bohm, E.,  A Textbook in Rorschach Test Diagnosis. (Grune & Stratton, New York & London 1958.)

Bohm, E.,  Der Rorschach-Test. (Huber, Bern 1974. A small introduction to the test, not primarily intended for users of the test but very useful as an orientation.)

Bohm, E.,  Lehrbuch der Rorschach-Psychodiagnostik. 4th ed. (Huber, Bern 1972. Later editions are unchanged.)

Bohm, E.,  Psychodiagnostisches Übungsbuch. (Huber, Bern 1975. Fifteen Rorschach protocols are analysed in great detail.)

Bohm, E.,  Psychodiagnostisches Vademecum. 3d ed. (Huber, Bern 1975.)

British Journal of Projective Psychology, 35:2 (1990, special issue on the Zulliger test)



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