The Rorschach test, communication, and psychotherapy

  • Samuel J. Beck
Part of the The Century Psychology Series book series (TCPS)


Every psychotherapist can lament over the frustration that he has suffered from the patient who defeats himself and his doctor because he does not communicate meaningfully. My contribution to the central interest in this volume, psychotherapy, is on the Rorschach test as an instrument of communication. Psychotherapy always is an undertaking in communication. This proposition would by now appear to have the force of the axiomatic. Yet a large amount of literature today in the field of psychopathology devotes itself to linguistic and other expressive behavior that forms the discourse between a patient and his therapist. It has long been known that the idiom of the mentally ill is frequently not the same as that of his society. Sometimes it is a different Language. This observation is “as old as organized psychiatry,” Birdwhistell notes (1959). He comments, “The sheer fact that successful therapy has something to do with communication, however, provides us with a basic line from which to operate.” A moment later he emphasizes the need for becoming ever “more explicit” about the “communication system.”


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© Meredith Publishing Company 1966

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  • Samuel J. Beck

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