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Journal of Projective Psychology and Mental Health: Volume 13, Number 1, Jan 2006 Editorial

1. Editorial: The Aging Population: A Challenge for Projective Psychology, Paul E. Panek, Ph.D. Pages 1-2.

Over the last few decades, the United States and other industrialized nations of the world have become “aging societies.” Longer life expectancy, coupled with a general decline in the birth and death rates, has led to a dramatic shift in the proportion of older adults within the general population. For example, in the United States the percentage of persons age 65 and older was 12 % in 1990, and approximately 20 % in the year 2000, and with greater longevity this relative percentage will increase in the future. Similar trends are observed in other industrialized nations of the world.

Psychological assessment is among the primary functions performed by psychologists in clinical work with the aged. In this context, one significant function of projective tests is to aid in making valid and reliable diagnoses of pathology, and/or differentiation of psychopathology from the “normal” aging processes (Hayslip & Lowman, 1986; Panek, Wagner, & Kennedy-Zwergel, 1983).

Older adults experience many of the same types of mental illness as young people, such as depression, as well as unique types of mental illness associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Therefore, a challenge for projective psychology is to address the assessment needs of the older population.

Specifically, projective techniques need to: 1) develop appropriate norms for current cohort of “normal” older adults, as well as for specific diagnoses such as persons with Alzheimer’s disease; 2) develop norms for individual countries and ethnic groups within a particular country or culture (Panek, 2001); 3) demonstrate adequate validity and reliability in terms of specific diagnoses in the older population; and, 4) serve a basis for the conduction of extensive research investigating the normal changes in personality associated with aging controlling for extraneous factors such as sensory-motor problems, health condition, psychosocial problems, and verbal fluency.

Additionally, the accurate assessment of older adults requires an awareness of typical/expected behavior and functioning along social, psychological, environmental, cultural, sensory/perceptual and physical dimensions, as well as awareness of the potential interaction among these dimensions. For instance, hearing loss (e.g., the sensory-perceptual dimension) can affect the psychological dimension (e.g., lowered self-concept) and lead to less social interaction with others (e.g., the social dimension). Furthermore, projective test scores and responses must be interpreted within the context of the culture or ethnic group, rather than against an absolute or generic standard. Thus, clinicians not cognizant of these issues may be inclined toward interpretations based on test-bound reasoning which can lead to faculty conclusions or incorrect diagnoses.

A last point to be made regarding projective tests is that, given the tremendous variability among older persons (Hayslip & Panek, 2002), projective tests present the clinician with an opportunity to conduct assessments and reach diagnoses that reflect the unique life situations that characterize older persons. In both procedural and content-specific terms then, projective test data better reflect the realities of getting older, i.e., experiencing sensory-motor changes, as well as the unique and often cohort-specific nature of older persons’ responses to projective stimuli.

2. The Lowenfeld Mosaic Technique: An Introduction to Its Clinical Use and Application, David Miller, Pages 3-16.

The clinical use and application of the Lowenfeld Mosaic Test (LMT), an assessment instrument for which there has been renewed interest in recent years, is described. An introduction to the LMT is provided, including guidelines regarding its administration and projective interpretation. The procedure for conducting a sequence analysis of individual mosaic constructions is also provided, along with a case example. Limitations of the technique as well as future research needs are discussed.

3. Interpersonal Style and Gastrointestinal Disorder: An Exploratory Study. Paul E. Panek, John J. Skowronski, Edwin E. Wagner and Carol F. Wagner, Pages 17-24.

The purpose of the present exploratory study was to determine whether patients with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms have distinguishing psychological traits, the knowledge of which might be useful in planning management and treatment. The projective Hand Test (HT) was administered to 29 individuals seeking treatment in a pain clinic for chronic gastrointestinal disorders and 29 individuals seeking treatment for chronic back pain. Participants in these groups were matched on gender and age (+ or - 5 years). Results indicated medium effect sizes (d > .50) between individuals in the gastrointestinal pain group and individuals in the chronic back pain group for the HT variables of Acting-Out-Score (AOS) and Communication (COM). These results are consistent with the psychodynamic hypothesis that persons with gastrointestinal disorders may be suppressing or repressing hostility, resulting in psychosomatic symptomatology.

4. SIS Cognitive Psychotherapy for Spouse Induced PTSD, Wilfred A. Cassell , Pages 25-36.

The presentation uses the Somatic Inkblot Series-II Video to examine two clinical case histories of individuals whose erroneous premarital perceptions made them vulnerable to unsuspectingly entering a highly traumatic marriage. Eventually each experienced psychiatric and medical problems. The first case involves a Russian woman who married a sociopath, who intentionally presented a false positive social image of himself. Ultimately, he became homicidal and she was fortunate to survive with her life. The second involves a successful business man who married a woman who appeared normal. Unknown to him, she had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). His marriage took him to the edge of bankruptcy and for a while shattered his mental health.

5. The Relationship between Early Memories and the Rorschach Inkblot Test, Edward M. Petrosky, , Pages 37-54.

An early memory scoring system was developed to identify manifestations of present personality traits based on the type and nature of events and interactions reported in subjects’ earliest memories. In a within subject design, 23 adult psychiatric inpatients reported their 3 earliest memories, their earliest memory about a chore and of school, and were administered the Rorschach Inkblot Test. Unconventional Chore (UNC), Unconventional School (UNS), Attachment Seeking (AS), Egocentric (EGOC), and Experience of Failure (EF) early memory scores were created to assess unconventionality, a strong desire for interpersonal contact, egocentricity, and a damaged self-concept, respectively. It was predicted that: the UNC and UNS scores would be associated with a below average number of Popular responses and an elevated number of White Space responses on the Rorschach; the AS score would be associated with production of the Food Response on the Rorschach; the EGOC score would be associated with an elevated Egocentricity Index on the Rorschach; and that the EF score would be associated with an elevated number of Morbid responses on the Rorschach. It was found that earliest memories of a chore in which the subject did not comply with the expectations that were placed on him or her as well as earliest memories of school involving transgressing a rule or an implicit norm when used in conjunction with the former type of memory, were associated with unconventionality on the Rorschach.

6. Shifting Modalities of Communication in Psychotherapy: Use of the Lowenfeld Mosaic Technique to Promote Self-Understanding and Mental Health, John B. Ruskowski and David Miller, Pages 55-60.

Successful treatment outcomes for a wide range of psychotherapeutic approaches often involve, to some extent, the development of insight by the client. Psychologists are challenged practically and ethically to facilitate client change in an efficient, as well as compassionate, manner. The ability to help the individual overcome conscious and/or unconscious blocks to therapeutic progress in an expeditious manner is often a key in achieving this goal. The authors have found that shifting modalities of communication and creating intermediate steps for client self-expression can be facilitative in this regard. A case example utilizing the Lowenfeld Mosaic Technique for illustrating this process is presented, along with practical suggestions for facilitating clients’ self-understanding and mental health.

7. Gender Differences in SIS-I Profile of Manic Patients, Deepak Kumar, Bankey L.Dubey and Rakesh Kumar, Pages 61-64.

The present study was designed to find out the pattern of responses on SIS-I in Manic male and female patients. The sample comprised 50 Manic Patients ( 25 Male and 25 Female) and 50 Normal Subjects (25 male and 25 Female).. The Somatic Inkblot Series-I Card form (SIS-I) was administered individually. The mean, SD and t-test was computed to compare the two groups. The Manic Male patients scored a significantly higher number of Animal responses and lower number of Most Typical responses than Female Manic patients. Except for slightly higher Rejection of images by normal female subjects, no significant gender differences were noticed in the normal population.

8. Distinction of Novelty and Meaning Contexts of Creativity, Umed Singh, Pages 65-79.

The present study was designed to examine the relationship between two contexts of creativity i.e. novelty and meaning. Psychometric measures of creativity are considered to index novelty context whereas projective tests, particularly inkblot tests, are considered to tap meaning context. To realize the main objective of the study, 202 high school male students were randomly drawn from various schools of Kurukshetra District, Haryana. The selected subjects were administered with Holtzman Inkblot technique and Torrance tests of creative thinking (both verbal and figural). Obtained data were analyzed by applying Pearson’s Method of Product Moment Correlation, and Inter-battery Factor Analysis. Both the correlational analyses have clearly revealed the strong positive overlap between verbal and figural measures of creativity assumed to be indexing novelty context. Analyses have demonstrated a weak association between psychometric and projective indices of creativity. Projective tests like HIT are taken as indexing meaning in the context of creativity. Thus, clear-cut distinction has been found between two contexts.

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