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Kurth, G.M. (1962). The Rorschach Experiment. Ventures in Blind Diagnosis: By Samuel J. Beck, Ph.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1960. 256 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 31:411-413.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:411-413

The Rorschach Experiment. Ventures in Blind Diagnosis: By Samuel J. Beck, Ph.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1960. 256 pp.

Review by:
Gertrud M. Kurth

Any major addition to the existing spate of Rorschach literature needs justification. The present volume has a double claim. First, it offers a novel contribution to the teaching of the Rorschach test. Each protocol and report is complemented by extensive and detailed notes on the author's 'interpretive reasoning', exemplifying the path from administration to diagnosis. As is customary for the sake of scientific integrity, diagnosis was made 'blindly'; that is to say, Dr. Beck never saw any of the patients whose test records he interpreted and he consulted clinical notes only after completion of his report.

The second new contribution is to Rorschach theory. It concerns Rorschach's concept of Erlebnistypus, which Dr. Beck himself originally translated as 'experience balance'. The term refers to the quantitative relation in any Rorschach protocol of human movement to color-determined responses. Under the influence of Jungian type psychology, Rorschach supposed that this relation distinguishes between introvert and extrovert personalities, a terminology modified by Rorschach workers to introversive versus extratensive to indicate dominant dynamics rather than types. But although it has always seemed obvious that this relation is meaningful in practical work, it has remained ambiguous and undependable. Consequently, Dr. Beck suggests a new approach by making use not of the quantitative relations between the two types of responses but of their sum, which he calls the 'experience actual' and compares to Freud's 'psychologic economy'. In other words, this sum of responses may reflect the quantity of psychic energy at the subject's disposal—a hypothesis supported by Beck's finding that it remains constant whereas the relation may change and reveal changes in energy distribution or cathexes or both.


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