The Object Relations Techniques: A Possible Narrative Projective Test

The Presenter

Attà Negri received his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, in 2007. After a one year post-doc in Clinical Psychology he became assistant professor in Psychodynamic Psychology at University of Bergamo, Italy, where he teaches Clinical Assessment and Psychological Interviewing. He is certified in Adult and Couple Psychoanalysis by the Italian Society of Relational Psychoanalysis (SIPRe); and is a member of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR), the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP) and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP).

His main research interests are focused on the relationship between meanings, relational contexts and psychopathologies; content and conversational analysis of the therapeutic conversation; psychotherapy process-outcome evaluation; and nonspecific and specific psychotherapeutic change factors. Since 2012 he has been involved with the Referential Process Research Group in collaborative studies investigating the Referential Activity and the linguistic specificities in the subjects’ narratives from projective tests, in therapist’s notes, and in the conversation of patients suffering from psychopathology. He is collecting normative data on nonclinical Italian subjects in these areas.

Training Topic and Overview

Described by Grotstein as “an innovative and unique descendent of the heritage of projective testing on one hand and of projective aspects of psychoanalytic clinical technique on the other” (1993, p. 1), the Object Relations Techniques (ORT; Philipson, 1955; Shaw, 2002; Knafo, 2010) was originated by Herbert Phillipson at the Tavistock Institute to investigate peoples’ interpersonal inner world from an object relations theory perspective. He conceived ORT as a test integrating the main characteristics of the two most common projective tests, Rorschach Inkblot Method (RIM) and Thematic Apperception Test (TAT). From RIM he retained the perceptive features that have been shown to detect specific aspects of psychological functioning such as the variation of form vagueness, achromatic and chromatic colors and shading tonalities; from TAT he kept the innovation of showing human figures in various contexts to facilitate the projection of aspects of the self, including relationship templates. He also retained the instruction of telling a story and not just describing the images elicited by the cards. The outcome of this focus is a very rich test. On one hand, ORT supersedes the abstractness and unfamiliarity of the RIM figures while keeping its perceptual complexity; on the other, it transcends the TAT’s use of only achromatic drawings by incorporating its innovation of human figures in the stimuli. Finally, unlike the TAT that presents very disparate interpersonal settings among which the clinician chooses the most useful ones for working with the specific patient, ORT is comprised of a fixed number of cards that explore in a systematic way the main interpersonal settings, which are administered in a prescribed order. Clinical and research potential of the instrument will be presented, including its usefulness for Therapeutic Assessment and research purposes.

Tentative Schedule

11:30am-12:00pm Registration and Lunch (provided by CAS)

12:00pm-1:00pm Presentation

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 2540 South Vine Street, Denver CO 80210
 Featured Presenter: Attà Negri