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Journal of Projective Psychology and Mental Health: Volume 30, Number 2, July 2023 Editorial

1. Editorial: Contribution of Projective Techniques to the Study of Happiness, Chris Piotrowski, pages 61-63.

Positive Psychology has been an emerging force in the field of psychology and mental health for the past 3 decades (Chang et al., 2022; Snyder & Lopez, 2002), and the topic of ‘Happiness’ is a major construct of study in this movement (Selin & Davey, 2012). Indeed, the subject matter of happiness has attracted extensive research attention in India or by Indian scholars (e.g., Arunachalam, 2019; Banavathy & Choudry, 2014; Deb et al., 2020; Gotise & Upadhyay, 2018; Holder et al., 2012; Nagar, 2018; Peltzer & Pengpid, 2013; Reddy, 2023; Sahoo & Sahu, 2009; Singh & David, 2018; Singh & Jha, 2008; Srivastava & Misra, 2003). Interestingly, a perusal of scholarly repositories confirms that projective psychology has not made a significant impact in the field of positive psychology (see Brown, 2009; Piotrowski, 2017). However, a review of the scientific literature clearly indicates that projective assessment techniques have been applied in the study of the issue of Happiness. This commentary provides a brief overview of this body of literature and argues that projective tests are, indeed, ideal measures in gaining an understanding on the role of happiness in maintaining not only emotion regulation but also positive mental health.

Early on, projective techniques were utilized in the study of happiness within the landscape of the emotional life of the individual (Wallen, 1954). Using the Rorschach, Mukerji (1969) studied the dimensions of love, aggression, and happiness as proposed by the Indian psychologist Das Gupta. Based on a thematic analysis, Newbigging (1955) found that the affective features of TAT cards prompt corresponding levels of happiness depicted in the feeling-tone of produced stories. Subsequent research on adult samples using projective methods (Rorschach, TAT, Sentence Completion) has studied the issue of happiness in reference to Vipassana meditation, drug usage, marital adjustment, athletics, and personality factors (see Benson, 2000; McAdams & Bryant, 1987; Sharma & Sharma, 2009; Sharma et al., 2008; Sheimbein, 1974; Stillerman, 1987; Thakur & Thakur, 1980; Yadav & Singh, 2010). Almost all investigations on the study of happiness in children have utilized Human-Figure-Drawings, where the focus has been on emotional-affective states (Bonoti & Misalidi, 2015; Misalidi & Bonoti, 2014; Oncu et al., 2009; Winston et al., 1995). The construct ‘Happiness’ comprises a state of contentment, well-being, openness, and the unadulterated freedom to enjoy life. The main Rorschach indicator is the ratio of unpleasant versus pleasant affect in the record; hostility, anxiety, dependency, negative affect, and somatic preoccupation responses tend to reflect a state of unhappiness (Mukerji, 1969).

Noteworthy, only one study utilized multiple projective tests (Healy, 1984), and only one involved an adolescent sample (Guo et al., 2007). The current review of the literature identified a very interesting methodological observation; that is, none of the studies cited above attempted to substantiate findings based on projective test results by including self-report measures specific in the assessment of happiness. Recent advances in the assessment field emphasize the importance of multi-source evaluation in order to provide a more detailed and integrated perspective on clinical constructs (see Hopwood & Bornstein, 2014). Likewise, obtaining corroborating evidence, via multi-method designs, would greatly buttress research findings in conjunction with clinical data from projective techniques. Hence, the table ahead lists several of the major measures, specific to the construct of happiness, evident in the research literature.

2. Personality on Display: How Personality Traits are Revealed in What we Write and Say Stephen P. Joy & Wilson McDermut, pages 64-74.

This study examined the relationship between major personality traits (Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Psychoticism) rated based on open-ended responses to the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank (RISB) and a variety of self-report measures: the NEO-PI-R, SNAP, IIP-SC, SGABS, SWL scale, PDSC, and PDSQ. RISB trait ratings correlated well with comparable self-report scales and displayed a pattern of relationships with other scales similar to that found via self-report. Neuroticism correlated significantly with a variety of personal and interpersonal problems as well as psychiatric and personality disorders. Extraversion appears to be somewhat protective against problems associated with social anxiety or poor relational functioning. Psychoticism was associated with a domineering, manipulative style and with criteria for the most severe personality disorders. Based on these findings, personality traits can be rated using this performance-based method while still allowing for qualitative clinical interpretation of the personal statements made by examinees.

3. Color and Emotion, Art in the Rorschach: A Commentary on Piotrowski’s (2023) The Color Red and the Assessment Process Carl B. Gacono, pages 75-77.

Rorschach emphasized the importance of color in his earliest discussions (Rorschach, 1942). Its crucial role for understanding one’s inner life was made clear by its inclusion in the experience balance (EB), and the many nuanced interpretations attributed to its various manifestations. While the construct validity between color and emotion has been empirically established, there are less frequent discussions of its face or logical validity. Art, color theory and modern painting provide a deeper understanding of the convergence between color and emotion. Dr. Piotrowski’s discussion of the color red highlights the importance of color in general and red in particular. Red is a lightning rod for strong affect including both aggressive and libidinal drive. The Rorschach excels at offering a blueprint for the manner in which a patient tolerates, manages, and even struggles with affect. Due to its vibrancy and association with both libidinal and aggressive drive, the color red, in particular, provides an essential marker for the idiographic and nomothetic study of the nuances of emotion and their expression. At times, the patient’s reaction to red on the Rorschach will indicate the perceptual-cognitive distortions suggested by Piotrowski.,

4. Bibliometric Analysis of the Journal Dreaming: Where Is the Research on Color in Dreams? Chris Piotrowski, pages 78-84.

The scientific investigation of dreams has attracted scholarly interest for well over a century, represented by an extensive body of knowledge. Yet, there is a dearth of studies regarding the breadth of investigatory interest areas representing this voluminous repository of research literature. The past 3 decades have seen the emergence of a rather distinguished publication with a focus on the subject matter of dreams, the journal Dreaming. In order to grasp the scope and investigatory domain on the topic of dreams, the current study reports on a bibliometric analysis of research studies published in Dreaming over the past 25 years (1998-2023). The analysis reviewed 600 articles; of these 28 were erratum, comments, editorials. Since the aim of the analysis was to include only primary research, these 28 references were deleted from the pool of articles. Thus, the total dataset represented 572 studies. The author determined the topical descriptor that reflected the main focus/aim of each study and maintained a frequency tally across individual topical categories. The top 10 investigatory subjects were (in rank order): Theory/model, nightmares, dream content, lucid dreaming, methods/types of data analysis, cross-cultural, dream recall, posttraumatic states, specific measures/scales related to dreaming, and neurophysiology. A myriad of salient topics received sparse coverage. Study 1 discusses the implications of these findings. Study 2 reviews research studies, indexed in PsycINFO, on the specific topic of colors in dreams, as this was an under-represented area of study in the journal Dreaming, based on the current bibliometric analysis. Researchers are urged to expand literature search strategies in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of select subject areas.

5. Comparison of SIS - I and BDI- II for assessing Depression in Recurrent Breast Cancer Patients Anindita Mukherjee, Koustav Mazumder & Susmita Ghoshal, pages 85-89.

The study intended to examine the depression scores and diagnosed levels of depression as obtained from Somatic Inkblot Series-I (SIS-I) and Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and to high-light the special contribution, if any, of SIS-I in assessing depression among recurrent breast cancer patients. Thirty participants in the age range of 30-60 years were administered the BD- II and SIS-I. Results indicated that there was a positive correlation between the depression scores obtained from SIS-I and from BDI-II. The level of depression measured by BDI -I and SIS-I did not agree completely in terms of diagnostic levels. The presence of inner depression and excessive anxiety regarding the persons’ own body and physical symptoms of breast cancer were prominently observed from the content analysis of Somatic Inkblot series-I. The study indicates the need for using both self-report inventory (BDI-II) and projective techniques (SIS-I) as supplementary to each other and revealed the nature of discrepancy between them in diagnosing the level of depression.

6. Person Picking a Mango from a Tree: Formal elements, Anxiety and Aggression among Adolescents in Conflict with the Law, M. Kruthi & L. S. S. Manickam, pages 90-98.

Research on art-based assessments in clinical settings involving art therapy has led to the development of objective measurements of various elements in drawing tasks in recent years. The study was aimed at assessing the elements that are related to anxiety and aggression manifested in the drawing task of Person Picking a Mango from a Tree (PPMT) among Adolescents in conflict with the Law (ACWL). The participants belonged to the ACWL group (122 males) and Typically Developing Adolescents (TDA) group (N=727, 401 males and 326 females) in the age range of 11-18 years. Their PPMT drawings were rated using Formal Elements of Art Therapy Scale (FEATS) by three raters who had established high inter-rater reliability. The two groups significantly differed on 10 of 14 sub-scales of FEATS- Color Fit, Implied Energy, Integration, Realism, Problem Solving, Developmental Level, Details of Object and Environment, Line Quality, Person and Perseveration. Anxiety measured through Crown-Crisp Experiential Index (CCEI) and aggression assessed using Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ) also showed significant differences between the two groups. For the TDA group, Prominence of Color, Color Fit, Implied Energy, Space, Integration, Realism, Developmental Level, Details of Object and Environment showed high correlation with total anxiety and Prominence of Color, Implied Energy, Logic and Person were correlated with aggression. For the ACWL group, elements of FEATS were significantly correlated with phobia, somatic complaints, depressive symptoms, hostility and negatively correlated with physical aggression and verbal aggression. Elements of FEATS on PPMT may be used for early identification of adolescents with anxiety and aggression.

7. Bhagwad Gita: Foundations of Counselling and Psychotherapy in India Satvinder Singh Saini, Gagandeep Singh, Ritvik Gupta & Krishan Kumar, Pages 99-102.

This paper attempts to describe the central ideas of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu sacred book, about its psychotherapeutic implications in the Indian socio-cultural setting. The Gita's teachings, as delivered by Lord Krishna, guide us in the proper direction. In many aspects, conflict resolution through the Gita resembles the work of psychotherapists, who, in addition to addressing patients' concerns and conflicts, assist them with symptom resolution and pave the way to long-term recovery. Counselling and psychotherapy are critical psychological interventions in treating people experiencing emotional distress. The Bhagavad Gita's applicability and utility as a source and model for developing psychotherapeutic concepts are appropriate for the Indian context. In Western psychology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) was discovered in the 1900's era. Still, it was first delivered and documented in India as the Bhagwat Gita before 5000 BC. The fundamental focus of CBT therapy is to produce affirmative changes in the patient's thinking and interpretation of events rather than the event itself. In the Bhagwat Gita, events and situations remained the same, as in chapters one through eighteen; only Arjuna's thinking, emotions, and behaviour were modified after receiving discourses or CBT from Krishna. Hence, it can be said that Counselling and Psychotherapy have their underpinnings in the Bhagwat Gita.

8. MMPI and Rorschach Inkblot Test Profile of a Young OCD Patient: A Case Study Zainab Parvez & Satyadhar Dwivedi, Pages 103-109,

Pathological doubt is a common aspect among patients with OCD who have a variety of different obsessions and compulsions. Individuals with pathological doubt are often preoccupied by the concern that, because of their carelessness, they will be responsible for a dire event. Several studies have found that OCD is associated with low levels of confidence in relation to one’s own attention, memory, and perception (Hermans, et.al, 2008). Stern and colleagues (2013) showed that OCD patients rated themselves as more uncertain during a decision-making task, under conditions without objective uncertainty. Intolerance of uncertainty includes unwillingness to tolerate the chance that negative events may occur in the future, no matter how low the probability (Holaway, 2006). In contrast, doubt is the lack of confidence or certainty in the information available to decide. Perfectionism, which is also an important aspect of OCD, is characterized by striving for flawlessness and having excessively high standards (Coles et.al, 2008). This report describes a particular individual with characteristic features of pathological doubt, which is explored through formal psychological testing.

9. Somatic Inkblot Test in a Case of Marital Conflict and Mild Depression Renu Sachdeva, Anand Dubey & B. L. Dubey, Pages 110-114,

The somatic Inkblot Test (SIT online version) was administered to 32 years divorced female who was referred for psychological assessment and psychotherapy. The responses on SIT indicated her preoccupation with bodily process and health issues (HPV and cervical cancer risk), which is confirmed by her case history. Slightly high sex responses on SIT have indicated sexual trauma/conflict. This is validated through clinical findings and her dissatisfied physical/intimate relationship for 10 years with her husband. As she narrated, her sexual relationship with her husband was unfulfilling and she has been a victim of sexual abuse on two separate occasions involving two different men. She has sexual trauma and unmet sexual desires which she is now trying to explore with other men after her divorce. The SIT responses helped her to release unprocessed material and the client is feeling better after two sessions of psychotherapy.

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