The clinical utility of the Rorschach: Unfulfilled promises and an uncertain future

John Hunsley*, J. Michael Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The empirical evidence on the Rorschach is reviewed using three definitions of clinical utility: (a) the nature of professional attitudes and extent of clinical usage, (b) the extent of evidence for reliability, validity, diagnostic efficiency, and incremental validity, and (c) the extent of evidence that Rorschach data improve clinical decision-making and/or treatment outcome. Surveys demonstrate that the Rorschach is extensively used; however, these data are insufficient to demonstrate clinical utility as they do not address the rational, scientific, and ethical requirements of professional standards for psychological measures. After reviewing conceptual issues in Rorschach research (especially those in the Comprehensive System) the authors conclude that there is little scientific evidence to support the clinical utility of the Rorschach. Given the absence of data evaluating how the Rorschach is used in routine practice and whether its use is consistent with the manner in which it is used in research, there is currently no scientific basis for justifying the use of Rorschach scales in psychological assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-277
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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