Monday, October 31, 2005

Horror story

A boy of ten came to the Lafargue Clinic with the main complaint that he won't concentrate on his schoolwork. He had previously had a psychiatric examination through a public social agency where he received the customary cliche diagnosis of deep emotional disorder and where it was noted that his mother is seductive and stimulating to him. A Rorschach report stressed his underlying feelings of hostility and destructiveness and stated that the boy is attempting to repress his hostile and destructive tendencies at the expense of spontaneity.

When I studied this boy carefully, I found that he had a difficult father, but the imagery of his destructiveness came mainly from the fact that he was an inveterate reader of "murder comics." His real life difficulty was that he could not read. ("I don't read comic books. I only look at pictures.") Thus the correct interpretation of the Rorschach Test responses needs a knowledge of the whole picture and of the period in which the child lives. Circumstances in the United States today are different from those in the Switzerland of decades ago when Dr. Rorschach devised and worked out his test.

Happy Halloween.