The Story

This is the image of Prof. Carlo Rizzo that we, Patrizia Pes at 20 and Salvatore Parisi at 18, have of the memory of the first meeting in April 1973

The Scuola Romana Rorschach was founded in 1938 by Prof. Carlo Rizzo with the intention of enhancing and disseminating the method of initialing, tabulating and interpreting the Rorschach Test, which Rizzo himself had developed over the years since 1928. A few years after the Reactive was devised by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach in 1921, Rizzo had the oppportunityto know and study this test by publishing, in 1937, what would be the first major calibration research on the Italian population.

A milestone in his scientific itinerary is the founding, in 1938, of the Roman Rorschach School, whose method, on which Rizzo would continue to work for the rest of his life, while rich in inventive and original insights, nevertheless remained faithful to its inventor’s approach.

In 1949 the first International Rorschach Congress was organized in Zurich during which the International Rorschach Society was founded, which saw Rizzo’s active participation alongside the historical names of the world Rorschach, Walter Morgenthaler, Marguerite Looslei Usteri, Hans Zulliger, with whom intense scientific relations and cultural exchanges were established that continued in the years to come.

Since this first Swiss symposium, the Roman Rorschach School, in the guise of Carlo Rizzo and his collaborators, has participated in all international events, presenting numerous contributions, whose areas ranged from normative and research to clinical, developmental, and expert. In 1950 Rizzo served as vice president of the International Rorschach Society. A key event that gave great vigor to the Italian Rorschachian movement was the organization, in 1956 in Rome, of the Third International Rorschach Congress

From the 1950s, numerous students gathered around Prof. Rizzo who would play such a large part in the history of Italian academic psychiatry and psychology, including Adriano Ossicini, Luigi Frighi, Giancarlo Reda, Franco Ferracuti and Franco Basaglia.

In the early 1970s Rizzo was joined by Patrizia Pes and Salvatore Parisi, young people who were passionate about the subject and who, following him consistently and punctually in his research and training activities, succeeded him at the head of the Roman Rorschach School when he died in 1983.

The first important study carried out by Parisi and Pes together with Rizzo led to the elaboration of the Most Frequent Responses (Volgari) of the “normal” adult Italian population: this research was presented at the Freiburg Congress in 1977 (the first in which Parisi and Pes participated as delegates of the Italian Rorschach Society). The cases collected for this study made it possible to catalog about six thousand different Interpretations, which constituted the source and subject of the first Manual for the Siglature of Rorschach Interpretations in our country (Rizzo, Parisi, Pes, Ed.Kappa, 1980).

Handbook for the Siglature of Rorschach Interpretations (Rizzo, Parisi, Pes, Ed. Kappa, 1980)

Inauguration of the Roman Rorschach School Institute in March 1977

The following decade saw a significant expansion of the association’s activities: the enrichment of the library thanks to the Rizzo family’s donation of volumes, correspondence and epistolary correspondence related to Rorschach; the birth of the Rivista Studi Rorschachiani (Ed. Kappa). On this foundation the Italian Institute for Psychodiagnostic Study and Research Roman Rorschach School was created.

In 1986, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers awarded the Roman Rorschach School Institute the “PREMIO DELLA CULTURA.” Rationale: “Italian cultural institutes that distinguished themselves during the year for the quality of their achievements and commitment to their activities.”

Prominent among the various research activities is the production of a new series of Parallel Tables to H. Rorschach’s Spots (Parallel Tables Paris-Pes Ed. Kappa 1989, Giunti OS ).

Photos of Kappa’s prints

The Parisi-Pes Series was designed from the ‘objective of reproducing in the Parallel blots all the gestalt and evocative elements characterizing each Rorschach Table. The research, which lasted a full fifteen years, had four experimental cycles; once a cycle was finished, due comparisons between the Prototype Blot and the corresponding Rorschach Blot were processed, the areas that had not provided the desired interpretations were modified to be tried in the next experiment. The ink blots were thus “constructed” inch by inch.

Many were the contributors and students who enthusiastically administered hundreds of tests. Impossible not to thank the most active, first and foremost Dr. Fernando Incurvati, who joined the authors in supervising the collected cases, fellow psychologists: Carlos Amoroso, Rosaria Apreda, Ester Barile, Rosanna Canero Medici, Manlio Caporali, Paolo Capri, Enzo Caserta, Luisa Cecere, Assunta Cherubini, Aylem Collazo, Loretta Corrente, Antonella Crisoliti, Gianni Crosti, Fabio Cupini, Ana Ines di Gianni, Concetta Fierro, Romano Fiumara, Carla Giovanelli Eder, Marco Guadalupi, Aristide Guerra, Adele l’Imperio, Bruno Maietta, Sabrina Maio, Alessandra Minutoli, Agata Misuraca, Anna Stefania Piro, Luciano Preziotti, Enrica Ramaglia, Ines Rielli, Paolo Russo, Augusta Taddeo, Sabrina Vicino, Anna Maria Viscomi, Viviana Vettraino, Fausto Vivi and Salvatore Zizolfi. Artist Maurizio Altieri for making the Stains using a variety of graphic techniques in the absence of current technology.

Group of Parallel Tables: from left: D.L’imperio, L. Corrente, S. Parisi, P. Pes, F. Cupini, P. Capri

The Parallel, in the view of the Roman Rorschach School, is the necessary solution to the need to have, as recommended by H. Rorschach himself, an unstructured projective Blots test, in all those cases in which the Rorschach Tables cannot be administered: for example, repeating the test after less than two years or when in legal-forensic or selective contexts the examiner suspects a training of the subject in how to respond to the Hermann Rorschach Blots. The Parallel Tables Parisi Pes and the related User’s Manual were published in 1989 (Ed. Kappa Rome) and 2015 Giunti OS, Florence.

Interesting and sympathetic anecdote: Salvatore Parisi administered the first prototype of the Spots to Prof. Rizzo in 1980; after the collection, he asked his Master what he thought of these new Spots: Rizzo replied directly and bluntly, “I don’t like them!” Parisi after the first seconds of bewilderment replied, “Neither do I Professor! But they don’t have to like them, they have to serve!” Rizzo immediately realized that the answer was scientifically correct and added, “You’re right!”

Parallel Tables Parisi Pes and the related User’s Manual were published in 1989 (Ed. Kappa Rome) and 2015 Giunti OS of Florence.

Great impetus to the development of research came in 1984 with the entry of Dr. Carla Giovannelli Eder into the school’s organizational chart as Deputy Director. Giovannelli incorporated instruments such as the Waiss, Wisc, Bender, MMPI and Graphic Tests into psychodiagnostic training. His contribution on the cases of borderline subjects was the basis for the subsequent in-depth study related to Personality Disorders, which were analyzed and classified according to specific and characterizing Rorschach Indices in light of the DSM III-R nosography. These studies enabled the publication of the volume “Personality Disorders and Rorschach Psychodiagnostics” (Parisi, Pes and Alt ri Ed.Kappa 1992).

Systemic-relational theory applied to Rorschach with spontaneous and nonspontaneous groups (couples,families, military teams, sports teams, etc.) with the aim of clarifying roles and interactive dynamics, was developed by Parisi and Pes and the subject of several publications.

Also from the 1980s is the beginning of the collaboration with Dr. Maria Fiorentino, psychologist-analyst, AIPA educator and E.M.D.R., now Chair of the Foundation’s Scientific Committee, who has contributed to the deepening of the points of contact between the Rorschach and the theories and discoveries of Carl Gustav Jung. She also edited the studies on Rorschach and depth psychology, which have so enriched the method of the Roman Rorschach School.

In the same years the Institute had as an active collaborator Dr. Franca Clara Giambelluca, psychoanalyst, with whom in 1996 the school published the volume “The psychoanalytic interpretation of the Rorschach, structural dynamic model “(F.Giambelluca, S.Parisi and P. Pes Ed Kappa 1996).

In the same years the Institute had as an active collaborator Dr. Franca Clara Giambelluca, psychoanalyst, with whom in 1996 the school published the volume “The psychoanalytic interpretation of the Rorschach, structural dynamic model “(F.Giambelluca, S.Parisi and P. Pes Ed Kappa 1996).

The years of lively and productive collaboration with expert colleagues in depth psychology made a relevant contribution to the development of the theoretical model of reference later defined by the School as the Multidimensional Model. Model that gives utmost importance to the psychometric dimension, the gestalt dimension, and the dimension related to depth psychology, which integrates in the writing of the personality profile and psychodiagnosis the analysis of the Content, Symbol, Complex, and Evoked Character of each Rorschach Table, the dynamic relationship with the examiner, and the analysis of Particular Manifestations.

Dr. Maria Fiorentino

Archive of test answers collected by the Roman Rorschach School since 1938

In the mid-1980s, the project to electronically archive personality profiles kept within the archive began, aimed at constantly updating the national calibration. At the same time, work began on the computerized psychogram aimed at processing calculations and avoiding incompatibility errors between different acronyms.

1990 saw the birth of RORCOMP (S. Parisi and P. Pes Ed. Kappa 1990), which was followed by PARCOMP (S.Parisi, P. Pes Ed Kappa 1991) and ZETA-COMP, a program for the study of the Hans Zulliger Test (S.Parisi, P. Pes Ed Kappa 1992).

The school’s attention then turned to building databases of the Rorschach interpretations, the Parallel Parisi Pes and the Zeta (Zulliger test) respectively edited by the H. Center. Rorschach between 2002 and 2003: SIGLAROR, SIGLAPAR, SIGLAZETA.

These databases are necessary to confer more confidence, objectivity and homogeneity in the delicate task of estimating the fo rmal qualities and originality of Rorschach Interpretations and other stain series. It thus turns out to be an indispensable support in professional practice.

The Siglaror which contains 23000 different Answers is constantly being increased and updated. For each Response, the data base provides the statistical percentage frequency on a representative sample of 792 normal Italian adults.

Formal qualities are attributed by statistical frequency (2 percent) on the sample or convergence of judgment of an international panel of experts who evaluate the newly detected responses to the Stains. The attribution of formal quality is the central element of psychodiagnosis to establish the quality of Reality Examination (absent, deficient, adequate, overcontrolled) central element of diagnosis. This application allows the examiner who consults it to print out a certification (useful mainly in the forensic legal field) that the formal qualities attributed are guaranteed by objective characteristics provided by the data base.

The President of the Roman Rorschach School, Dr. Patrizia Pes who has long worked in the forensic legal field particularly on minors who have lived in abusive contexts (psychological sexual abuse and maltreatment) devoted herself to issues related to children in distress.

The study and research activity continues to this day focusing particularly on the adolescent period, a difficult time of transition and change, physically, psychologically and socially. Bodily transformations, combined with new social demands, challenge the previously achieved balance, and this physiological crisis is reflected in cognitive activity, impulse management, perception of self and others, relationships, and the search for new adaptations. The work currently focuses on the assessment of cases also integrated with Rorschach diagnostics and when possible with Systemic Rorschach applied to the family.

In 2002, the Roman Rorschach School organized the 17th International Rorschach Congress in Rome (President Salvatore Parisi).

The 17th International Rorschach Congress (President Salvatore Parisi)

The Roman Rorschach School has an abiding care toward the training of psychologists and psychiatrists. Of importance is the psychodiagnostic training of medical officers and psychologists of the Armed Forces Corps: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Guardia di Finanza, and State Police.

The Army General Staff, Health Corps Command, has included the School in its officer training plan since 1989.

With the Civitavecchia War School at the time headed by Colonel Fabrizio Renzi, the Rorschach and Zeta Collective administration model was born, which involved a novel selection setting concerning the number of participants, the administrators, the times of exposure of the Blots, and above all the development of a form for collecting the Responses with the possibility of locating them precisely. After the administration is finished, there is a space in the same sheet where the candidate can decscribe and explain the genesis of each Answer.

Group of Officers FF.AA. present at the 2001 Rorschach Course

Under the Direction of Salvatore Parisi, the Istituto Scuola Romana Rorschach has organized training courses at numerous University Faculties of Psychology both in Italy and abroad (Catholic University of Buenos Aires, State University of Mexico City, University of Havana, University of Bucharest, University of Bogota) promoting and disseminating the Scuola Romana Rorschach Method.

In 2010 at the Senate of the Republic the Institute presented to President Giulio Andreotti, to whom the instrument was administered by Carlo Rizzo in 1940, the “Carlo Rizzo 2010” award with the following motivation “for having contributed significantly, with his numerous production of Original Rorschach Interpretations, to the enrichment of the archive and research on the psychology of the Italian population.

The archive of the Rorschach Protocols of the Roman Rorschach School consists of more than 22,000 cases collected from 1932 to the present day, which form the basis on which the Project for the Study of the National Identity of the Italian Population is built.

The research will provide insight into the evolution of cultural and psychological aspects of Italians related to new patterns of organization and communication. It will also allow an indication of what scenario the thinking and behavior of future generations might evolve toward.

The organization of the vast Historical Archive consisting of Professor Carlo Rizzo’s paper records including manuscripts, notes, unpublished works, correspondence by correspondence, charts and drawings is underway.

Since 2024, the Roman Rorschach School Association has become an ETS Foundation.

President Dr. Salvatore Parisi, Vice President Dr. Patrizia Pes.

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