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Journal of Projective Psychology and Mental Health: Volume 2, Number 1, Jan 1995

Editorial, Bernard I. Murstein, Prof. Connecticut College, Connecticut, pages 1-2.

I am pleased and honored to have been not only to contribute an article for this issue, but to write the editorial as well. I would like to use the opportunity to briefly explain the philosophy behind my article.

Projective techniques were born as a revolt against the paper and pencil tests of the half of the twentieth century, which were extremely susceptible to “social desirability” effects, or the tendency of test-takers to present them in the most positive light. The efficacy of these paper and pencil test at that time was largely dependent on the test takers willingness to reveal their inner selves, assuming that they actually knew themselves very well, which was rarely the case.Projective techniques were envisioned by their creators as depth instruments which could penetrate the individuals’ defenses and would thereby provide royal road to the unconscious. With the aid of hindsight, we can see that this claim was widely over stand. The mixed evidence in support of these and other claims by friends and foes of projective techniques was reviewed over a third of a century ago (Murstein, 1961).

Two main criticisms by the critics were, first that the techniques did not correlate highly with overt behavior and second, that they did not correlate highly with other paper and pencil tests, and were therefore, invalid. The critics failed to grasp that these techniques were exactly that-techniques, not tests in the psychometric sense. As techniques they were highly dependent on the skill of the examiner. Just as a Stradivarius violin in the hands of a chimpanzee would nor result in beautiful music, an unskilled, or insufficiently trained examiner should not be expected to utilize projective techniques to their full potential. Thus, projective techniques are neither valid nor invalid. They represent only potential and opportunity. The fact that we are dealing with techniques, however, does not mean that more empirical research is not needed.

The finding in my article in the current issue that “Projection” and “pathology” as measured in a number of projective techniques corralled highly in two independent studies indicates that there is something radically wrong with our assessment remaining in projective techniques. Any upgrading in training ought to start with an appreciation of the stimulus properties of projective techniques. Some norms and empirical research on the stimulus properties of a number of projective techniques already exist, and when clinicians analyze responses, these norms can aid greatly in differentiating the presence of pathology from normal test-takers' respect for the stimulus properties of projective techniques. These data have already taught us, for example, that complete ambiguity on the TAT does not elicit maximum projection, because in the absence of a stimulus, the test-taker becomes cautious. In fact, medium-ambiguous cards reveal the most meaningful responses.

We need more research on the structure and use of projective techniques and on the assumptions underlying them, as well as more recent norms, particularly on how pathology-free individuals respond to the various techniques. We need to teach students how to detect signs of mental health, rather than regarding mental health as simply the absence of pathology. Only when we have accomplished these tasks can we validate the claim that projective techniques can indeed give us insight into personality beyond that provided by paper and pencil tests.

2. Somatic Inkblot Series-Video: Case Report and Discussion, Wilfred A. Cassell & Donald Fields, Pages 3-18.

SIS Video has been found to be a powerful test in understanding the inner world of the suffering individual. It brings out unprocessed material from the unconscious, which needs processing. A case report of 30 years woman suffering from episodes of anger with history of physical and family sexual abuse has been presented to see how SIS could take the patient back in time and help in processing unconscious material. Discussion among Drs. Wilfred Casssell, Donald Fields, William Earl, Evelyn Wiszinkas, and Kathleen Addison in a conference on Jan 31, 1994 at Kodiak Alaska is given to highlight the clinical relevance of the test.

3. Effect of Sodium Pentothal on SIS-Video-A Inkblot Images, D. Saldanha and B.L. Dubey, pages 19-28.

The psychiatric patient in the service is guarded in their responses to projective psychological tests. There is a need to evolve a method by which their defensive mechanisms are broken to facilitate better response patterns on psychological tests. 30 psychiatric patients were given Cassell’s SIS video ‘A’ series tests before and after sodium pentothal. Their responses measured on emotional reaction, rejection of the image, Typical, Atypical, Anatomical, non-anatomical and female genital responses improved significantly. Emotional reaction improved from 40 percent of positivity to 90 percent. Rejection rate reduced from 62.63 percent to 18.13 percent. Typical responses increased from 28.90 percent to 35.63 percent. Atypical responses from 32.37 percent to 33.97 percent , Anatomical responses from 31.93 percent to 34.51 percent, non-anatomical responses from 30.44 percent to 35.19 percent and female genital responses 32.12 percent to 33.21 percent. The usefulness of sodium pentothal in psychological tests is highlighted.

4. Bereavement and Hypnosis: A Case Study, George Savage, pages 29-40.

The treatment of complicated bereavement poses specific management problems. This paper describes a patient who was treated with hypnosis for pathological bereavement following the number of her husband. Hypnosis proved successful after months of conventional therapy did not bring out any symptom relief.

5. The Relationship of Stimulus, Projection, and Pathology in Projective Techniques and the “Levels Effect”, Bernard I. Murstein, pages 41-52.

The importance of the stimulus prosperities of projective techniques and their influence in creating a “leave effect,” was examined as well as the relationship between projection and pathology in prior studies published and unpublished. It was concluded that there is some support or a levels effect, and that projection pathology are correlated. Accordingly, highly verbal test-asker run a considerable risk of appearing pathological regardless of their actual diagnosis because of the negative orientation of most assessment systems.

6. Body Imagery in SIS Test, S. Ramachandra and S.K. Chaturvedi, pages 53-60.

SIS-II was administered to a 28 years, graduate, female patient. She had H/O various kinds of traumatic experiences during her childhood. Responses on SIS-II were able to bring out her inner cry.

7. Diagnostic Efficacy of Somatic Inkblot Series-II among Psychiatric Patients of Armed Forces: A Preliminary Study, S.P. Rathee, V. Pande and A. Singh, pages 61-66.

The Somatic Inkblot Series-II (SIS-II) is a structure projective diagnostic instrument and an adjunct to psychotherapy. It was administered to 150 Army subjects (50 each - Psychosis, Neurosis and Normal) individually, following standard procedures (Cassell, 1990). The protocols were scored on a few SIS variables. The result showed that psychotic patients tend to produce higher number of Responses (R), low Typical responses and low number of Rejection of Images (Rej.) Normal subjects projected more Typical responses with less Rejection of images (Rej.) The clinical groups had more of Pathological responses (Pathological Anatomy, Depression and Paranoia as compared to normal subjects.

8. Reliability and Validity of Somatic Inkblot Series Tests, S.K. Verma, pages 67-71.

SIS test have been the latest in the inkblot type of projective test used with patients with psychological disorders. In fact there are three types of inkblots with 5 forms available, cards, booklets and Videotape versions, to be used in a variety of ways. Test-retest, parallel form, Split half and inter-scorer reliabilities have been used with normal adults, adolescents, cardiac cases, vertigo, schizophrenic, neurotic, and transsexual patients. The results have been encouraging with normative, diagnostic and therapeutic studies reporting its utility as a quantitative as well qualitative measure. It seems to have a bright future.

9. Diagnostic Significance of SIS –II, S.K. Verma, D. Pershad, R. Kaur, and R. Nehra, pages 72-76.

As part of an ongoing study, the authors attempted to see if neurotics and psychotics can be dedifferentiated on selected SIS-II variables. Total Number of Responses, Movement responses, Typical and Pathological responses were low but Rejections and Atypical responses were more in the psychotic group as compared to the neurotic group. These results justify further studies on the subject.

10. Diagnostic Utility of Somatic Inkblot Series, B.L. Dubey, Wilfred A. Cassell, D. Pershad and Padma Dwivedi, pages 77-84.

Protocols of 500 subjects including 300 normal and 200 psychiatric patients (Neurosis and schizophrenia) were analyzed to find out whether the pattern of responses in two forms (SIS-II and SIS-Video) are different, (2) to demonstrate whether series A and series B of SIS-Video can be used independently to curtail the testing time and (3) to find out whether some of the objective scoring criteria be formulated to differentiate the patients of major psychiatric diagnostic categories. Results suggest that the SIS-II and SIS-Video can be divided into two short tests consisting of series A and series B separately. The normal and the clinical groups differed on various scoring categories adopted here. SIS can help during selection as screening instruments. These scoring categories, however, are less informative as far as general psychology of individual patients is concerned. The profile of anticipated and given responses for the image are more important for thorough understanding of the patient.

11. Hospitalized Suicidal Patients and the Somatic Video Procedure: A Descriptive Study, Elizabeth N. Bellamy, pages 85-91.

A descriptive study was undertaken to examine correlation between suicidal ideation and certain results of the Somatic Inkblot Series Test (SIS). Comparisons of test results of five case studies of threatened suicide and/or attempted suicide were done showing increased deviant response in the two cases in which suicide was threatened and also acted upon. Data from the study suggest that significant correlation exists between suicidal ideation and deviant responses to the SIS Test. However, due to the small sample no definite conclusion can be drawn.
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