The Rorschach traditions      

It took several years after Rorschach´s death in 1922 before any substantial research on his method began. But during the 1930:s the interest in it began to rise rapidly, and soon Rorschach´s cards had become the dominating psychodiagnostic test. This was the case not only in Europe but also in the U.S.A., where the ideas had been brought by psychiatrists and psychologists who had been working in Switzerland and other European countries.

Regrettably, the test was then developed along different lines on the different sides of the Atlantic. European psychiatrists and psychologists (especially those from Switzerland) usually tried to keep fairly close to Rorschach´s original concept, and the additions they made to the test usually did not break the continuity. The main representative of this tradition is Ewald Bohm (see next page).

After 1975, the development of the Rorschach method within the classical European tradition has ceased, with a few exceptions. Today, most Rorschach research and development — even in Europe — takes place within the American tradition.

In the U.S.A., several complete, alternative systems for the administration, scoring and evaluation of the Rorschach test were created, beginning in the 1930:s. Not until the end of the 1960:s, when John E. Exner assumed the task of creating a synthesis of all these differing systems, one could again begin to speak about a unitary American Rorschach method. Exner´s system now dominates the Rorschach world, including Europe.

From a traditional European perspective, Exner´s system was a big improvement compared to the earlier, almost chaotic American situation.

Around 2010 another Rorschach system, the R-PAS, entered the scene. In my view the R-PAS means further, substantial improvement. However, the gap between the classical European and the American schools is still large. More about all this in the following three pages!


Lang, A.,  Rorschach-Bibliographie/Bibliographie Rorschach/Rorschach Bibliography, 1921-64. (Huber, Bern 1966. Tri-lingual bibliography; almost 4.000 references sorted into 7 main categories.)

For later literature, and for specific references to the European and American traditions, see the following pages!

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Last updated 15 March 2020