The Rorschach Assessment of Aggressive and Psychopathic Personalities: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Rorschach Assessment of Aggressive and Psychopathic Personalities

1st Edition

By Carl B. Gacono, J. Reid Meloy


420 pages

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This book provides a definitive empirical study of antisocial character pathology and its assessment through the use of the Rorschach. Drawing upon a decade of research with nearly 400 individuals in various hospitals and prisons, the authors paint an extraordinary intrapsychic picture of the personality structure and psychodynamics of these troublesome patients.

Serving as both an educational tool and a reference text, this book presents:

* Rorschach data on several different antisocial groups -- conduct disordered children and adolescents, antisocial personality disordered adult males with and without schizophrenia, antisocial adult females, and male and female sexual homicide perpetrators;

* nomothetic (group) and idiographic (case study) data;

* data which have been analyzed and theoretically interpreted using both structural methods and psychoanalytic approaches which represent the cutting edge of Rorschach theory and practice; and

* a developmental approach in analyzing Rorschach data gathered from antisocial children, adolescents, and adults -- providing striking similarities.

This is the first Rorschach database of this type that has ever been published. As such, it serves as a valuable reference text for Rorschach users -- providing a definitive empirical base, theoretical integration, and a focus on individuals who create severe problems for society.


"Looking beneath Cleckley's Mask of Sanity, Gacono and Meloy present the richest and most comprehensive account to date of the inner workings of the aggressive and psychopathic personalities. Culminating a decade of systematic clinical research, the authors use Rorschach findings to map out the interior lives of these unloving and unlovable individuals by providing a fascinating overview of their structural, developmental, and dynamic features. More than an in-depth study of character pathology, the book insightfully and significantly broadens our understanding of raw aggression, mindless violence, and psychopathy. While satisfying the researcher's need for solid data, the inclusion of bone-chilling case vignettes breathes life and lucidity into the text for the clinician. From the classroom to the courtroom, from a private office to a prison, regardless of profession, readers will find the volume scholarly, informative, understandable, and useful. As a textbook, reference, or practical guide, it merits a place in one's library." - Paul M. Lerner, Past President, Society for Personality Assessment

"This is an extraordinary book by two authors and clinicians with extraordinary experience. It is a truly original contribution to an integrated understanding of very complex, sometimes dangerous, and enigmatic people." - William H. Reid, Medical Director, Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, USA

"…we could all learn from this volume….notable for its scope and comprehensiveness. It represents a major contribution to the literature on psychopathy, aggressive behavior, and also the Rorschach. Many people with diverse concerns will find it enlightening and thought-provoking. For example, those interested in psychoanalytic developmental theory, management of schizophrenic behavior problems, object relation deviations, sexual violence, and Rorschach research should all read it." - Donald J. Viglione, California School of Professional Psychology, USA

Table of Contents

Contents: P. Erdberg, Foreword. Introduction. The Child Antisocial Pattern. The Adolescent Antisocial Pattern. The Antisocial Female. The Antisocial and Psychopathic Male. The Antisocial Schizophrenic Male. The Reflection Response. The Aggression Response. Sexual Homicide. Toward an Integrated Understanding of the Psychopath. Appendices: R. Lindner, The Rorschach Test and the Diagnosis of Psychopathic Personality. 100 Reflection Responses from 48 Subjects.

About the Series

Personality and Clinical Psychology

This series of books is intended to provide information about personality processes and their implications for the science and practice of clinical psychology. To this end, the books in the series integrate conceptual formulations, research findings, and practical recommendations concerning a broad range of topics, including theoretical perspectives on the nature of personality; biological and psychosocial influences on personality development; continuity and change in dimensions of personality across the lifespan; personality characteristics likely to foster adjustment difficulties; classification of abnormal personality patterns associated with psychopathological conditions; assessment procedures for evaluating individual differences in personality and identifying types of psychopathology; and methods of ameliorating adjustment problems, treating psychological disturbances, and promoting positive mental health.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology