Psychological Assessment: A focus on projective techniques

Home/ Psychological Assessment: A focus on projective techniques
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS3038224

Semester and Year Offered: 1st Semester, 1st Year

Course Coordinator and Team: Ms. Nikita Jain, Ms. Shefali Singh

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Interest in using psychological assessments in clinical contexts

Aim: The aim of this course is to familiarise students to some of the important projective techniques and to deepen their acquaintance in clinical and related contexts with a few selected ones. They will be familiarised with test administration, scoring, interpretation and report writing. The use of tests for psychotherapeutic purposes will be highlighted.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Learning to use psychological tests to understand the dynamics which underline human motivation, desire and conflict
  2. Understanding the use of tests in different contexts- in hospital based work, in private clinics, in community and as an additional tool in psychoanalytic psychotherapy
  3. Ability to integrate test findings with clinical history and understand its implications for psychotherapy and related treatment.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

techniques have a long history associated with the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic tradition. They have been considered important means of assessing and understanding the dynamics which underline human motivation, desire and conflict. They also remain informed by a clinical sensibility in which history taking acquires a vibrancy even as the psycho-diagnostician and the patient spend several hours together in understanding the latter’s personality structure.

The objective of this course is to familiarize the student with projective techniques and to deepen their acquaintance in clinical and related contexts with a few selected ones. The following modules will covered across the span of the course:

Understanding Projection and it’s use in Projective Techniques: Projection is an unconscious psychic mechanism in which without knowing, all of us attribute our psychological characteristics to the external world of persons, objects and phenomena. Projective techniques are time tested means of understanding the human personality and using test descriptions, scores and patterns in a dynamic and qualitative manner.

Scope of Using Projective Psychological Tests: In the hospital and psychosocial testing, one of the most acceptable ways in which the unconscious as a dynamic concept (and its etchings in the form of motivation and issues) is through projective testing. The qualitative use of tests will be discussed, even as students would be taken through the issues which beseech the field of testing. The use of tests in different contexts- in hospital based work, in private clinics, in community and as an additional tool in psychoanalytic practice would be discussed.

Administration, Interpretation and Report Writing: Methods of test administration, scoring, quantitative and qualitative interpretation and the writing of a dynamically informed report will be taught. It’s assimilation with clinical history will be reflected on through the tradition of Erikson, Rappaport, Gill and Schafer. The implications of patterns of personality for psychotherapy and related treatment too will be emphasised.

Selected list of Projective tests:

  • Rorschach Ink Blot test
  • Murray’s Thematic Apperception Test –along with Indian adaptation
  • Bellak’sChildren’s Apperception Test- along with Indian Adaptation
  • Draw a person Test
  • Selected List of Semi Projective techniques:
  • Sentence Completion Test
  • Raven’s controlled Projective Technique
  • Rosenzwieg’s Picture Frustration Test


Assessment Details with weights:

Reading List:

  • David Rapaport (1952), Projective Techniques and the Theory of Thinking. J. Proj. Tech., 16:269-275. Also in Psychoanalytic Psychiatry and Psychology; Clinical and Theoretical Papers, Austen Riggs Center, Vol. 1, ed. R. P. Knight & C. R. Friedman. New York: International Universities Press, 1954, pp. 196-203. Also in Collected Papers (1967), pp. 461-469.
  • David Rapaport (1948), Discussion in “The Psychologist in the Clinic Setting” Roundtable. Amer. J. Orthopsychiat, 18:493-497, 521. Also in Collected Papers (1967), pp. 299-303.
  • Hoffman, B. (1962), The Tyranny of Testing. New York: Crowell-Collier.
  • Murray, H. A. (1938), Explorations in Personality. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Murray, H. A. (1943), Thematic Apperception Test. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Rorschach, H. (1921), Psychodiagnostics. New York: Grune& Stratton, 1949.
  • Holt, R. R. (1951), The Thematic Apperception Test. In An Introduction to Projective Techniques, ed. H. H. & G. L. Anderson, New York: Prentice-Hall, pp. 181-229.
  • Holt, R. R. (1961a), The Nature of TAT Stories as Cognitive Products: A Psychoanalytic Approach. In Contemporary Issues in Thematic Apperceptive Methods, ed. J. Kagan& G. Lesser. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, pp.3-43
  • Rosenwald, G. C. (1963), Psychodiagnostics and Its Discontents. Psychiatry, 26:222-240.
  • Rosenzweig, S. (1943), The Ghost of Henry James: A Study in Thematic Apperception. Character & Pers., 12:779-100.
  • Sanford, R. N. (1942), Thematic Apperception Test. Directions for Administration and Scoring. Cambridge: Harvard Psychological Clinic. Mimeographed. Their Implications for Diagnostic Testing. J. Proj. Tech., 24:254-266.
  • Tomkins, S. S. (1947), The Thematic Apperception Test. New York: Grune& Stratton.
  • David Rapaport (1948), The Status of Diagnostic Psychological Testing. J. Consult. Psychol., 12:1-3.
  • Rapaport, D., Schafer, R., & Gill, M. M. (1944-1946), Manual of Diagnostic Psychological Testing, 2 vols. New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.