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Minerva Psichiatrica 2000 June;41(2):85-92


language: Italian

A contribution to understanding the psychological experience of HIV+ subjects using the Rorschach test

de Bertolini C., Andreetto U.


Background. Understanding how HIV+ subjects feel remains one of the important aims to achieve for operators involved in psychotherapy with such patients. A great deal is already known about the psychological reactions to the disease, but there is possibly still a lot to learn - between the patient's apparent reactions and what he experiences in depth. The aim of this study was to use the Rorschach test to investigate intra-psychological dynamics in HIV+ subjects in order to integrate the data obtainable from their clinical history and from clinical sessions.
Methods. The Rorschach test was administered to 50 asymptomatic HIV+ subjects who were not drug-abusers and who had requested psychological support from the Medical Psychology Service at the Psychiatry Clinic of the University of Padua, which has been cooperating with the Infectious Diseases Depart-ment for some time.
Results. The results of the test demonstrated that 12-18 months after diagnosis the initial shock has been overcome, but there remains a substantially dominant idea which prevents the proper functioning of the subject's attention, perception and memory. In fact, chart 5 in particular - which best projects the ego image, reveals an oppression and deterioration of the engrams. Alongside these mental approach aspects, there is a persistent inhibition detectable on affective level, characterized by a scotomization in relation to the color on the color charts and the production of barrier responses preventing the access to or the expression of affective-relational dynamics.
Conclusions. This study revealed the presence of many intra-psychological conflicts that inhibit both psychological functions and the normal outflow of emotional-affective dynamics. These conflicts are often attached to the HIV+ subject's particular personality structure and social support context. An understanding of the mental dynamics, even by means of a projection test, can become an important tool for orienting the clinician in his difficult psychotherapeutic effort.

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