Journal of Projective Psychology and Mental Health: Volume 24, Number 1, Jan 2017 Editorial
|1. Editorial: Wilfred A.Cassell, Page 1-2.
In my Jan 2016 editorial I wrote about the time-limited aspects of the human body and hence its occupant’s existence. Since then I have turned 82 years old and confess to readers that my psychological defense mechanisms are weakening which earlier in life enabled me to deny “Somatic Death”. Moreover this psychic blindness was dramatically weakened in April last year, when my dermatologist informed me that I had a skin tumor lesion which was a form of cancer that untreated could sometimes metastasize. Fortunately a plastic surgeon was able to effectively remove it.
While this health related incident has led me to focus on issues related to aging, I frequently tend to avoid this existential issue at night prior to sleep by fantasizing. I imagine waking up in the morning living in a young man’s body with more time and energy to complete SIS studies. Caen Chaffee, a movie producer, symbolizes this theme in a production “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. In his fantasy film an infant child born, with an aged body, eventually over time developed into a normal adult healthy man.
Relative to this fantasy theme, there now are a number of pharmacological studies in experimental animals suggesting that it may eventually be possible in humans to slow aging or even reverse the process. For example, a study published in the journal “Cell Reports” led by Dr Jorge Ivan Castllo-Quan found that when fruit flies were given a low dose of Lithium, in adulthood or later in life, they lived an average of 16 to 18% longer than flies who received sodium chloride. This finding was regardless of the insect’s genetic makeup. Another example involves research led by Heiki Tanile, Professor of Molecular Biology at the A, I. Virtanen Institute of Eastern Finland. His group found that long-term dietary supplementation with pyruvate increases the energy reserves in the brains of mice. Hopefully such studies eventually may be repeated in human subjects that would have more relevance to younger members of our SIS Society than myself.
In my relatively limited time left living on our planet earth, I hope to move my life focus. I plan on investigating the relationship between the acting out of aggressive impulses and imagery denoting aggression. I hope to conduct studies to correlate how specific SIS stimuli viewed prior to sleep might stimulate clinically relevant dreams - especially those of a posttraumatic nature. The proposed research subjects will be both perpetrators of aggression, as well as their victims.
Human history is too replete with aggression and warfare. At times there appears to be strong evidence for relating acts of violence to sexuality. In animals this relationship is witnessed every fall in Alaska. Then the previously quiet male moose’s testosterone surges thereby attracting him to females as well as motivating him to fight off competitors.
For humans social norms in world cultures prevent such overt acting out yet, for some men the connection may have some theoretical relevance. Sometimes sexual potency in men has been linked to social power and their having access to the “BOMB”. Historically, in World War II nuclear scientists in America built atomic bombs which were used to destroy Japanese cities effectively ending the conflict. Yet they failed to develop international safeguards for the future!
Now in 2016 military leaders of little world power can brag about access to such weapons of mass destruction. They are fully aware that citizens worldwide are anxious about this dangerous state of affairs
This “Nuclear Anxiety” may exist either in full conscious awareness or out of it. I observed this in the early 1960s when I first conducted field tests with college students in the normal population. As outlined in my book BODY SYMBOLISM, my intention was to develop projective test color-form configurations with embedded structures partially suggestive of the human heart. It was hoped that these would facilitate psychophysiological studies of medical patients suffering from either real or imagined cardiac pathology.
Eventually with much research this was found to be a useful projective aid for standard interviewing. However in addition there were totally unexpected but highly interesting findings. Many students viewed this as “An atomic Bomb explosion”. Since then I have learned that the projection of such explosive imagery may symbolize deep seated fears of ultimately dying from a future nuclear war. (Perhaps symbolically reflecting in the human brain’s neural “wiring” linking sex imagery with images of aggression, some subjects projected the sexual anatomical response “Female genitalia”).
This is a very complex psychophysiological area where there exist many more fundamental questions related to violent imagery than answers. I now invite members of our international SIS Society to contemplate considering such a fascinating future, and in a nuclear age ESSENTIAL SIS RESEARCH!
2. Thematic Apperception Techniques (TAT, CAT) in Assessment: A Summary Review of 67 Survey-based Studies of Training and Professional Settings, Chris Piotrowski, pages 3-17.
A cursory review of the recent literature in the areas of testing and assessment tends to depict the impression that Thematic tests have been largely eschewed in professional practice over the past 2 decades. Indeed, this class of assessment instruments has been the target of extensive criticism based on incisive reviews of the literature (e.g., Lilienfeld et al., 2000). The intent of the current study is to determine whether this collective movement, evident in the scholarly literature since 1990, against Thematic assessment, has had a deleterious impact on the popularity of these tests in graduate training programs and professional usage worldwide. To that end, the author identified, through an extensive literature review, published survey research with regard to Thematic instruments that reported on assessment training and test usage patterns from 1989-2017. The 67 identified survey-based or records-based studies served as the data pool in the current review (Training=16; Practice=51 settings). The summary analysis indicated that 43 of the 67 studies (64%) reported that Thematic tests have been relied upon in assessment training or practice to at least a ‘moderate’ degree. This trend was particularly evident in 9 of the 16 surveys (56%) of graduate-level and internship training. However, only 20% (n=10) of the practice-based studies reported a high level (top 10 ranking) of usage of Thematic techniques. Most of the 67 studies found infrequent use of children’s Thematic tests (e.g., CAT). This review revealed that, over the years, Thematic techniques have been favored by clinical psychologists and professional counselors, but rather neglected in forensic and neuropsychological assessment. Also, a dramatic decline in usage of both the TAT and CAT was noted in most samples of school psychologists. Noteworthy, several studies found that coursework and training emphasis with the TAT was rather cursory and unstructured. On a cautionary note, this review observed a slight diminutive trend in Thematic methods in both training and practice since 2008. Thus, the future status of Thematic tests in the assessment armamentarium appears precarious, particularly as competing assessment approaches and novel testing instruments emerge in the field. Finally, there is a need for additional research regarding the scope of Thematic assessment in training programs in countries outside the USA (Piotrowski, 2015b), due to the dearth of studies of academic settings overseas.
3. Blood Pressure Variations and Emotional Dampening: Preliminary Evidence for the Curvilinear Relationship, Dharmendra Jain, Meenakshi Shukla and Rakesh Pandey, pages 18-25.
The present study attempts to validate and extend the earlier findings linking blood pressure (BP) and reduced emotion recognition ability i.e., emotional dampening (ED). Twenty normotensive participants had their BP readings taken via an automated BP monitor and were subsequently assessed on a task of Facial Emotion Recognition. Bivariate linear correlations revealed that both SBP and DBP were associated with poor emotion recognition (i.e., ED). Partial Least Square Modelling showed that ED was also linked with a single latent measure of BP and BP related emotional dampening occurs more for positive and negative non-aroused emotions as compared to negative aroused emotions. Further, when the link of ED and BP was tested under the assumption of non-linearity (quadratic), the correlation of emotion recognition accuracy with SBP and DBP not only increased substantially in magnitude but some of the previously non-significant correlations became significant. This observation provides support for a quadratic relationship between BP and ED and implies that ED occurs for both higher and lower levels of BP.
4. Integrative Assessment of Interpersonal Dependency: Contrasting Sex Differences in Response Patterns on Self-Attributed and Implicit Measures, Adam P. Natoli and Robert F. Bornstein, pages 26-33.
Numerous clinical and experimental studies have reported that women are more dependent than men. These conclusions are based primarily on self-reported (or “self-attributed”) dependency scores, where women almost invariably obtain higher scores than men. However, this has not been true when implicit dependency scores (typically obtained via performance-based or projective tests) are examined. These patterns suggest that implicit—self-attributed test score discontinuities may differ across sex; it is therefore of interest to contrast the direction and magnitude of dependency test score discontinuities in women and men. Self-attributed scores of interpersonal dependency were obtained from the Interpersonal Dependency Inventory and Relationship Profile Test, while dependency was measured implicitly by the Rorschach Oral dependency Scale. Analyses of implicit—self-attributed test score discontinuities across sex in a sample of 1,508 undergraduates yielded a number of significant differences in direction confirming that women obtain higher self-attributed dependency scores than implicit dependency scores, whereas this pattern is reversed in men. Analyses comparing the magnitude of implicit—self-attributed test score discontinuities across sex yielded only one significant difference: Discontinuity between self-attributed scores of dysfunctional detachment and scores on an implicit measure of dependency was larger among women than among men. Findings are discussed within the frameworks of gender schema theory and social role theory. These results have implications for methodologies used in contemporary personality assessment; suggestions for continued research are offered.
5. Rorschach Research through the Lens of Bibliometric Analysis: Mapping Investigatory Domain, Chris Piotrowski, pages 34-38.
This study presents the results of an exploratory bibliometric ‘topical’ analysis with regard to mainly primary research regarding the Rorschach published in journal articles 2000-2016. The major aim is to a) determine the scope and breadth of investigatory areas most emphasized by researchers during this time frame, and b) prompt more advanced bibliometric study of the extant Rorschach literature in order to map the structure of scholarship and research domain regarding this popular assessment method. The database PsycINFO was selected to obtain the pool of references based on a ‘keyword’ search of the term Rorschach. The search identified a total of 838 peer-reviewed articles from 2000 to 2016; of these, 747 were determined to be mostly ‘primary’ articles and served as the data-set for the analysis. The author tagged each article with a topical descriptor and maintained a scoring template based on frequency counts across categories. The analysis identified 29 topical categories which represented at least 1% of the total distribution. The most prevalent researched topics were (in rank order): Norms, psychotic states, eating disorders, historical aspects, psychosomatic factors, treatment planning/outcome, aggression/hostility, personality, psychodynamic issues, depression, and personality disorders. Neglected areas of research were noted such as assessment training, differential diagnosis, anxiety states, racial/ethnic differences, and social desirability. The focus on norms/normative comparisons was quite apparent. The potential impact of editorial preference/bias was discussed and limitations of the study were noted. Based on this analysis, it appears that recent Rorschach scholarship is a) not cohesive in character, and b) reflects diverse research domains representing disparate research interests. Hence, despite an extensive repository of literature, the Rorschach remains an emerging area of study with an opaque sense of direction for future research.
6. Fairy tales: The Emotional Processors of Childhood Conflicts in Dynamic Interpretative Lens, Nilanjana Sanyal and Manisha Dasgupta, pages 39-47.
Fairy tales operate in accordance to the preamble set forward by the fantasy world of children, which makes young readers wander about in the enchanting world of magic, animation and anthropomorphism. Amidst providing aid to their leisure times and enriching their vocabulary, imagination and creativity, fairy tales essentially enable in “venting out” their emotions and unresolved conflicts in a safe ambience. The present article attempts to probe into the psychoanalytic nuances of six well-known fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers to unfurl their significance in enabling personality-development of young children along the penetrative lens. The psychoanalytic explanation of the Mother Complex, its splitting into the good-mother and bad-mother, the notion of self-concept and the development of the self-system along the different psychosexual stages towards growth and development to attain emotional autonomy and vitality have been noted in the fairy tales’ characters of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Seven Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Rapunzel and the Sleeping Beauty. Implications of the selected fairy tales have also been discussed along psychoanalytic themes.
7. Efficacy of Cognitive Drill Therapy in Treatment of Specific Phobia, Bhavana Arya, Sandhya Verma and Rakesh Kumar, pages 48-51.
Specific phobia is a highly prevalent condition which may interfere in the occupational and social life of persons affected with this disorder. Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Desensitization Therapies have been well documented as effective treatments for phobia. Cognitive Drill Therapy (CDT) is a potential candidate for addition into the family of cognitive therapy which can address a large number of fearful conditions which could be conceptualized as stimulus-bound anxiety in persons having anxiety disorders. In this paper, we are reporting a case study of a person with specific phobia who was treated with CDT. The application of Cognitive Drill Therapy resulted in a significant reduction in the phobic condition.
8. Response to the Blank Card of Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and its Correlation with Personality Factors, Anand Manjhi and Sunita Purty, 52-56.
The blank card (Card 16) of Thematic Apperception Test has extraordinary value in clinical assessment because it has no structure and pure projection. It provides an opportunity for the subject to come out with whatever is buried near the unconscious through writing a form of free association. The present study attempted to investigate the responses to the blank card of TAT and correlate it with the personality profile of the subject. The study was conducted at the Post-Graduate Institute of Behavioral and Medical Sciences, Raipur (India). The sample consisted of 60 subjects of which 30 persons had alcohol dependence syndrome diagnosed as per ICD-10 DCR (WHO, 1992) and 30 normal controls, who selected through a purposive sampling technique. The blank card (card 16) of TAT and 16 PF Form A (Hindi version) were administered on the subjects individually. The findings indicated that the factor C of 16 PF was positively correlated with the (n) rejection and factor B, F and L were negatively correlated with (n) dominance, succorance and blame avoidance respectively on blank cards of TAT.
9. Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, and Subjective Well-Being: Exploring the Link, Satchit P. Mandal, Yogesh K. Arya and Rakesh Pandey, pages 57-63.
Most studies, though, report that emotion regulation (ER) mediates the relationship of mindfulness with subjective well-being (SWB), there is also an unexamined conjecture that ER skills cultivate mindfulness which consequently enhances SWB. Present study attempts to empirically test which of the said two models better explains the mindfulness-well-being relationship. Two hundred eleven adults were assessed on the self-report measures of the said constructs. Initially we tested the mediational model assuming that the use of ER (cognitive reappraisal & suppression) would mediate the mindfulness-SWB relationship. This model was found to yield a good fit to the data with some minor modification. The test of an alternative model that assumes ER as an antecedent factor in mindfulness – well-being relationship was also found to be a good fit to the data. The comparison of both models revealed that the later model yielded a better fit compared to the former model. These findings suggest that the alternate possibility that better emotion regulation helps to attain a mindful state which in turn enhances health/well-being appears to be a better explanatory model than the conventional model which assumes that mindfulness exerts beneficial health effects through its emotion regulatory effect. The findings also implied that there may be a circular relationship between mindfulness and emotion regulation. However, such speculations need to be empirically tested in future.
10. Recovery-Focused Behavior Therapy (RFBT): A Case Study, Rakesh Kumar and Raj Kumar Sahu, pages 64-68.
Recovery-Focused Behavior Therapy (RFBT) is a very recent conceptualization which is being shared in this paper which illustrates the application in a case of severe OCD. The patient is presented with an imaginary scenario of perceived recovery and he/she is to conceptualize and demonstrate the behaviors preferably at the action level which he/she would be emitting upon the desired and perceived recovery. The patient being presented here is a 36 years old female with six and half year’s history of severe OCD having secondary depression and suicidal attempts. She has been in psychiatric treatment for the past six years which resulted in temporary therapeutic outcomes. Exposure and Response Prevention or Cognitive Drill Therapy was the choices available to us for dealing with her severe OCD symptoms. Her score on Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) was 32 out of a maximum of 40 which indicated extreme severity of OCD. In view of her pervasive OCD behaviors and the accompanying distress, it was thought that exposure to the objects of contamination and her underlying fears would amount to activation of very severe body-mind reactions (BMR). Hence, a highly gentle form of psychological method got developed on the fly which produced extra-ordinary improvements within three sessions of one hour each. The method is termed as Recovery-Focused Behavior Therapy (RFBT). Her Y-BOCS scores dropped to 17 out of a maximum of 40 just after three daily sessions punctuated by one day gap due to Sunday, suggesting a substantial reduction in OCD symptoms at the level of moderate severity from the baseline extreme severity. Her affect and self-efficacy also improved perceptibly. The improvement was clinically corroborated with her behaviors with contaminated objects, reports of her husband, our own observations and her reports. The therapeutic intervention is discussed in detail in the case study.
11. SIS Society Honors Early Adventurers into Space & Others of Note, Wilfred A. Cassell, pages 69-70.
We need to train space scientists with regard to the significant potential for adapting SIS Body-Mind-Spirit technology for health screening, psychological treatment and research! Members of SIS Society are encouraged to be optimistic regarding the power of scientific technology to improve life on our planet and prevent its destruction by deranged individuals threatening modern forms of warfare.I am stimulated by the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s hopeful optimism about the value of science in our ever evolving modern world. He expressed this on 5/27/2015 in a 30 minute Skype session to high school students on Vancouver Island and published in the Saanich News as follows: We need to generate enough electricity to make the world sustainable, it is of enormous benefit for our species, and we need democratization of intellect. It is important to have a longer -term view. Coming back from space, having gone around the Earth 100 times and seeing its resiliency, I’m optimistic about humanity on Earth”
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