The Status of the Rorschach in Clinical and Forensic Practice

The employment of the Rorschach in personality assessment procedures has had its fair share of criticism in the past.  As a way of settling the dispute and controversy (some even calling to abandon it altogether), the Board of Trustees of the Society for Personality Assessment has issued a statement containing evidence and rational argument in support of the Rorschach.  With the backing of advanced research methods, the psychometric adequacy and clinical utility of the instrument is convincingly proven, making a strong case for its continued use in clinical and forensic practice.

The findings of over 125 meta-analysis and 800 multimethod assessment studies have shown that psychological assessment instruments such as the Rorschach perform as effectively as any instrument used in the entire health services industry such as “electrocardiograms, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), dental radiographs, Papanicolaou (Pap) smears, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and serum cholesterol level testing”. This conclusion was arrived at after analyzing a comprehensive set of 144 validity coefficients for psychological and medical tests.  The results of these tests were comparable to those obtained for finding the validity of intelligence scales and the Minnesota Multi-phasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).  Hence the research scholars unanimously concur on the validity of the Rorschach, stating that they find no reason why this instrument should be criticized.  Moreover, when one considers the contexts in which the Rorschach is usually used, then most criticisms directed against it don’t hold good.  Hence conditional validity is a key area of research going forward.  And finally, medical practitioners should take responsibility for using the Rorschach appropriately.  This entails acquiring requisite training, periodically updating their education and relying only on time-tested techniques for administration, coding and interpretation.