Using the Rorschach Test for Detecting Depression and Suicide Risk

Using the Rorschach Test for Detecting Depression and Suicide Risk

Cases of suicides and depression have been on the rise all over the world for one reason or another. While depression could be a primary cause for suicidal acts among many teenagers today, contributing factors such as unemployment, neglect, pain due to chronic and incurable diseases, as well as racism, are largely contributing to many suicidal deaths.

With the development of a comprehensive suicidal test system known as the Rorschach test in 1921, a number of potential suicidal cases have been detected and averted. The Rorschach test, otherwise known as the Rorschach Inkblot test, was established to detect or predict group membership and categorizing them into color dominated responses, morbid content, vista responses, and color shading blends. It was also developed to measure distortions in human cognitive as one way of predicting potential suicidal cases. The Rorschach test was created by a German psychiatrist named Hermann Rorschach, after whom the test was named.


The Development and Progress of the Rorschach Test


The Rorschach test is a psychological suicidal test mechanism. It is applied on the principle of the target subject’s perceptions after which a psychological interpretation is used with or without combining the same with algorithms, which are scientifically derived. Rorschach test is in some cases used by a psychologist to determine individual personality traits and emotional wellness of an individual. Rorschach test has extensively been employed to unearth a person’s disorders regarding thoughts and notably in scenarios where patients are unwilling to disclose or talk about their thinking process without fear.

The Rorschach test has been used for decades,  since the 1960s, during which it ranked among the top ten best psychological test kits facilities for thinking disorders in the United States. Today, this test is one of the widely used personality disorders test facilities and has been successfully employed in the detection of potential suicides and depression cases. Understandably, over 25% of psychologists go for the Rorschach test in forensic analysis of cognitive processes in patients. Depending on the type of psychological treatments, whether correctional psychology or clinical psychological procedures, the Rorschach test ranks between a low of 20% and  a high of 80%. This is a good indicator regarding the trust bestowed upon the Rorschach Inkblot test in predicting depression related suicides even today.

However, objectivity of this testing system has been brought under sharp criticisms  among other researchers in psychology. Other issues, which have also been questioned, include validity and how verifiable is the Rorschach test in predicting depression related suicides. As a result, many researchers have always invalidated the findings arising out of this test as null and void. These are acceptable in a field of knowledge as they serve to enhance more study into how effective the system is and  what improvements need to be made .

Method of Carrying Out the Test

Using the Rorschach Inkblot test involves using ten blotting papers of the same size. The test materials are  cards and colors for determination of individual psychological traits. The papers are usually placed behind the subject on a table. It should be noted that the papers are of similar size and symmetry. Of the ten papers, five  have black ink on them, two are painted with blank and red, and  the remaining three are multicolored. A white background is often used. The patient is told at some point to hold and rotate the papers after which responses are sought regarding the change in position and coloring on the papers. This is a critical stage in using the Rorschach test  to identify cognitive ability of an individual, responsibility, affect displays, personality disorders, and perceptions. Questions could range from what noticeable changes have been witnessed by the individual before and after rotating. 

Interpretation of findings

Well, a psychologist cannot solely rely on the changes noted on the inkblot papers to determine depression in an individual, but the time taken to give the response is also vital. Other comments, which an individual may give, would also amount to critical information used during interpretation of the contents. Though there have been several controversies surrounding the use of Rorschach test  to determine psychological status of individuals with regard to predicting suicides and depression, it still dominates such tests to date. The issue of application with regard to reliability, validity and authenticity has been under sharp focus from critics some of whom have termed the method as pseudoscience and baseless.