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Zeligman, R. Smith, B.L. Tibon, S. (2012). The Failure to Preserve Potential Space in Dissociative Disorders: A Rorschach Study. Psychoanal. Psychol., 29(2):188-205.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 29(2):188-205

The Failure to Preserve Potential Space in Dissociative Disorders: A Rorschach Study

Ruth Zeligman, Ph.D., Bruce L. Smith, Ph.D. and Shira Tibon, Ph.D.

The current study explores a psychoanalytic conceptualization of dissociation based on Winnicott's (1971) construct of potential space and Ogden's (1986) model of using this construct to capture different types of psychopathological states. Following Smith (1990), we apply the Rorschach Reality-Fantasy Scale (RFS; Tibon, Handelzalts & Weinberger, 2005) to Rorschach protocols of 100 patients with severe dissociative disorders (Brand, Armstrong, & Loewenstein, 2006). Overall, the results support the conceptualization of dissociation as a form of collapse of potential space. When compared with a normative sample, the dissociative patients demonstrated significantly elevated RFS-S scores, indicative of fluctuations between reality-bound and fantasy-derived Rorschach responses, in which reality and fantasy are experienced as parallel, disconnected conditions. Furthermore, the RFS-S significantly added to detecting dissociative disorders, above and beyond isolated Rorschach markers known to be indicative of dissociation. In line with previous research, the results demonstrate the advantages of using the Rorschach in general, and the RFS in particular, for

empirically exploring psychoanalytic conceptualizations of psychopathological states.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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