Timothy Leary.

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Timothy Leary

Interpersonal Diagnosis



A Functional Theory and Methodology
for Personality Evaluation





Resource Publications

An imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 West 8th Avenue • Eugene OR 97401

Resource Publications

A division of Wipf and Stock Publishers

199W8th Ave, Suites

Eugene, OR 97401

Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality

A Functional Theory and Methodology for Personality Evaluation

By Leary, Timothy

Copyright© 195 7 by Leary, Timothy

ISBN: 1-59244-776-7

Publication date 7/30/2004

Previously published by John Wiley & Sons, 1957

Marianne Leary


This book is concerned with interpersonal behavior, primarily as ex-
pressed and observed in the psychotherapeutic setting. Its value lies
in its emphasis on the complexity and variety of human nature and
on the objectivity and clarity of the empirical procedures it sets forth
for multilevel diagnosis. The research on which it reports was made
possible by grants from the United States Public Health Service and
the Kaiser Foundation.

The interpersonal factors of personality are those conscious or
unconscious processes which people use to deal with others and to
assess others and themselves in relation to others. The aim of the inter-
personal machinery of personality is to ward off anxiety and preserve
self-esteem. One of the major results of these operations is to create
the social environment in which each person lives.

Everyone tends to make his own interpersonal world. Neurosis
or maladjustment involves the limiting of one's interpersonal appara-
tus and the compulsive use of certain inflexible, inappropriate inter-
personal operations which bring about results that are painful, unsatis-
factory, or different from one's conscious goals. Adjustment is char-
acterized by an understanding of one's personahty structure, by the
development of mechanisms flexible enough to deal with a variety of
environmental pressures, and by the management of one's behavioral
equipment in such a way as to avoid situations where the mechanisms
will be ineffective or damaged.

Any statement about human nature, however, is restricted in
meaning unless the level of behavior to which it refers is made clear.
The first step must be a definition of levels and an ordering of data in
terms of levels. The aim of the research work described in this book
has been to develop a multilevel model of personality and to present a
series of complex techniques for measuring interpersonal expressions
at these different levels of personality. A conceptual and empirical
method for converting observations of interpersonal behavior is set
forth. The reader will encounter new theories about the effect of
interpersonal behavior, the meaning of fantasy expressions, the social
language of symptoms, and the nature and functional meaning of con-
flict. These theories and systematic procedures constitute the Inter-


personal System of Peisonality, developed by the Kaiser Foundation
Psychology Research Project.

The approach employed might be called a dynarmc behaviorism.
There are two dynamic attributes. The first refers to the impact one
person has or makes in interaction with others; the second refers to
the interaction of psychological pressures among the different levels
of personality. The behavioristic attributes of the system derive from
the procedure of viewing every response of the subject (overt, verbal,
symbolic) as a unit of behavior which is classified by objective
methods and automatically sorted into the appropriate level of per-
sonality. The patterns and clusters of thousands of these responses,
sorted into different levels, are then converted by mathematical tech-
niques into indices and into a multilevel diagnostic code summary.
These are then related to clinical events or prognoses. In the develop-
ment of the interpersonal system more than 5,000 cases (psychiatric,
medical, and normal controls) have been studied and diagnosed.

In addition to describing and validating the process of interper-
sonal diagnosis in the psychiatric clinic, this volume demonstrates how
these theories and methods may be applied in four other practical set-
tings — in the psychiatric hospital, in psychosomatic medicine, in
industrial management, and in group therapy.

This book should be interpreted in the light of its environmental
and professional contexts. It is the product of clinical psychologists
working in a psychiatric setting, and practical answers have been
required of the interpersonal system at each stage of its development.
This gives the book its functional cast. As to its implications for the
profession of psychology, in my own mind at least, a new concept of
the "clinical psychologist-as-diagnostician" has emerged. In the
Introduction, I have detailed the genesis of the research which has
resulted in the book, and have set forth the contributions of the many
people who have helped to bring it to fruition.

Timothy Leary

Berkeley, California
October, 1956



Part I

Some Basic Assumptions About Personality


1. Interpersonal Dimension OF Personality 3

2. Adjustment-iMaladjustment Factors in Personality Theory 17

3. Systematizing the Complexity of Personality . . .33

4. Empirical Principles in Personality Research ... 45

5. Functional Theory of Personality 50

6. General Survey of the Interpersonal and

Variability Systems 59

Part II

The Interpersonal Dimension of Personality:
Variables, Levels, and Diagnostic Categories

Introduction 90

7. The Level of Public Communication:

The Interpersonal Reflex 91

8. The Level of Conscious Communication:

The Interpersonal Trait 132

9. The Level of Private Perception:

The Interpersonal Symbol 154

10. The Level of THE Unexpressed: Significant Omissions . . 192

11. The Level of Values: The Ego Ideal 200

12. A System of Interpersonal Diagnosis 207


Part III

The Variability Dimension of Personality:
Theory and Variables

Introduction 240

13. The Indices OF Variability .241

Part IV
Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality

14. Theory of Multilevel Diagnosis 265

15. Adjustment Through Rebellion: The Distrustful

Personality 269

16. Adjustment Through Self-Effacement:

The Masochistic Personality 282

17. Adjustment Through Docility: The Dependent

Personality 292

18. Adjustment Through Cooperation:

The Overconventional Personality 303

19. Adjustment Through Responsibility:

The Hypernormal Personality 315

20. Adjustment Through Power: The Autocratic

Personality 323

21. Adjustment Through Competition: The Narcissistic

Personality 332

22. Adjustment Through Aggression: The Sadistic Personality 341

Part V
Some Applications of the Interpersonal System

Introduction 352

23. Interpersonal Diagnosis of Hospitalized Psychotics . .354

24. Interpersonal Diagnosis in Medical Practice:

Psychosomatic Personality Types 373

25. Analysis of Group Dynamics in an Industrial

Management Group 403

26. Predicting and Measuring Interpersonal Dynamics in

Group Psychotherapy 426




1. Illustrations of the Measurement of Interpersonal

Behavior at Level I 439

2. The Interpersonal Adjective Check List . . . .455

3. The Administration, Scoring, and Validation of the

Level III-TAT 464

4. The Interpersonal Diagnostic Report 480

5. Norms, Conversion Tables, and Weighted Scores Used in

Interpersonal Diagnosis 493

Index of Names 501

Index of Subjects 503


1. Continuum of the Sixteen Interpersonal V^ariables .... 65

2. Interpersonal Behavior in Psychotherapy 68

3. Change in Behavior in Therapy 70

4. Seven Generic Areas of Personality 85

5. Interpersonal Interactions in Group Therapy 95

6. Categorization of Check-List Items 135

7. Illustrative Self-Diagnosis 138

8. Conscious Description of Father 139

9. Conscious Description of Mother 140

10. Conscious Description of Self and Family Members .... 141

11. Patient's Description of Therapist 142

12. Therapist's Description of Patient 144

13. Pattern of Familial Relations 146-47

14. Variation in Depth of Measures 151

15. Diagnosis of Walter Mitty 174

16. Profile of TAT Scores 176

17. Conscious and "Preconscious" Profiles 178

18. Conflict Between Power and Weakness 179

19. Facade of Power and Responsibility 180

20. Facade of Weakness and Docility 180

21. Rigidly Conventional Profiles 183

22. Depth Continuum of Personality Levels 187

23. Rigid Avoidance of Rebelliousness 194

24. Consistent Omission of Rebellious Themes 196

25. Docile Subject Idealizes Strength 204

16. Summary Scores for Overconventional Patient 218

27. Diagnosis of Facade Behavior 219

28. Illustration of Interpersonal Diagnosis 222-23

29. Diagnosis of Level III Behavior 224

30. Illustration of Multilevel Diagnosis 226-27

31. Generic Variability Indices 250

32. Calculation of Discrepancy Values 258

33. Behavior of Ten Samples at Level I 380




34. Behavior of Ten Samples at Level II 382

35. Behavior of Ten Samples at Level III 384

36. Multilevel Mean Scores of Normal Controls 387

37. Multilevel Mean Scores of Ulcer Patients 388

38. Multilevel Mean Scores of Hypertensive Patients 390

39. Multilevel Mean Scores of Obese Women 392

40. Overtly Neurotic Dermatitis Patients 394

41. Self-inflicted Dermatitis Patients 395

42. Unanxious Dermatitis Patients 397

43. Psychiatric Clinic Sample 398

44. Multilevel Mean Scores of "Neurotics" 399

45. Multilevel Mean Scores of "Psychotics" 401

46. Self-Descriptions of Four Executives 406

47. Self-Deception Indices of Four Executives 407

48. Group Dynamics Booklet 411-17

49. Perceptions by General Manager 418

50. Consensual Diagnosis of General Manager 420

51. Perceptions by Production Manager 421

52. Consensual Diagnosis of Production Manager 422

53. Perceptions by Personnel Manager 423

54. Consensual Diagnosis of Personnel Manager 424

55. Predictions of Interpersonal Roles 429

56. Measurements of Interpersonal Roles 430

57. Diagram of Five Measures of Personality 432-33

58. Two Contrasting MMPI Profiles 442

59. The Level I Diagnosis 444

60. Summaries of Interpersonal Behavior 452

61. The Diagnostic Booklet 482-88

62. Multilevel Profile Before and After Psychotherapy . . . .491



1. Operational Definition of Five Levels of Personality . . . .81

2. Percentage of Diagnostic Types (Level I-M) 129

3. Percentage of Diagnostic Types (Level II-C) 152

4. Illustrative Classification of Interpersonal Behavior at the Symbolic

or Projective Level 170

5. Percentage of Diagnostic Types (Level III-T) 190

6. Three Elements of Diagnosis of Personality: Classification,

Profiles, and Report 214

7. The Adaptive and Maladaptive Interpersonal Diagnostic Types . . 220

8. Median Interpersonal Self-Description Score for Six MMPI

Clinical Groups 231

9. Operational Redefinition of Psychiatric Categories in Terms of

Interpersonal Operations 233

10. Informal Listing of the Twelve Generic Variability Indices . . .252

11. Operational Definition of Forty-eight Indices of Variation . . 254-56

12. Key to Numbers and Letters Employed in Coding Variability Indices 256

13. Horizontal (Lov) and Vertical (Dom) Values for Each Octant . . 260

14. All Possible Discrepancies Around the Pair \-l and Their Magnitudes 260

15. Illustration of the Grouping of All Possible Discrepancies Involving

the Diagnostic Codes 1 and / 261

16. Percentage of Rebellious-Distrustful Personalities (Level I-M) . . 280

17. Percentage of Rebellious-Distrustful Personalities (Level II-C) . .281

18. Percentage of Self-Effacing-Masochistic Personalities (Level I-M) . 290

19. Percentage of Self-Effacing-Masochistic Personalities (Level II-C) . 291

20. Percentage of Docile-Dependent Personalities (Level I-M) . . . 299

21. Percentage of Docile-Dependent Personalities (Level II-C) . . 300

22. Percentage of Cooperative-Overconventional Personalities

(Level I-M) 312

23. Percentage of Cooperative-Overconventional Personalities

(Level II-C) 313

24. Percentage of Responsible-Hypernormal Personalities (Level I-M) . 321

25. Percentage of Responsible-Hypernormal Personalities (Level II-C) . 322

26. Percentage of Managerial-Autocratic Personalities (Level I-M) . .330



TABLE ^^^^

27. Percentage of Managerial- Autocratic Personalities (Level II-C) . 331

28. Percentage of Competitive-Narcissistic Personalities (Level I-M) . 338

29. Percentage of Competitive-Narcissistic Personalities (Level II-C) . 340

30. Percentage of Aggressive-Sadistic Personalities (Level I-M) . . 349

31. Percentage of Aggressive-Sadistic Personalities (Level II-C) . .350

32. Level I Diagnoses Assigned to 148 Patients in the Three

Psychotic Samples 356

33. Level II-C Diagnosis of 46 Patients in the Three Psychotic Samples . 357

34. Level III-T Diagnosis of 38 Patients in the Three Psychotic Samples 358

35. The Significance of Differences Among Ten Symptomatic Groups

at Level I-M 381

36. The Significance of Differences Among Ten Symptomatic Groups

at the Level of Conscious Self-Description (Level II-C) . . 383

37. The Significance of Differences Among Ten Symptomatic Groups

at the Level of "Preconscious" Expression (Level Ill-T [Hero]) . 385

38. Illustrative Calculation of MMPI Indices for Measuring Symptomatic

Behavior (Level I-M) 443

39. Illustration of the Calculations for Determining the Level I Profile for

a "Neurotic" Patient, SN 453

40. Interpersonal Check List, Form 4, Words Arranged by Octant and

Intensity 456-57

41. Test-Retest Correlations, Form IIIa, by Octant and Sixteenth . . 461

42. Average Intervariable Correlation as a Function of Their Separation

Around the Circle 462

43. ICL Means and Standard Deviations for Psychiatric Outpatients . . 463

44. Guide to Assigning Interpersonal Ratings to Ten TAT Stories

(Level III-T) 466

45. Molar Rating Sheet 471

46. Means and Sigmas of Normative Group for Level III-T Hero and

"Other" 472

47. Chi-Square Relating the Kind of Initial Discrepancy on Dominance-

Submission Between Conscious Self-Diagnosis and TAT Diagnosis
to the Kind of Change in Self-Diagnosis of Dominance-Submission
on Pre-Post Tests for 23 Psychotherapy Patients .... 474

48. Chi-Square ... for 40 Discussion Group Controls .... 475

49. Chi-Square ... for Combined Samples of 23 Psychotherapy Patients

and 40 Obesity Patients 475

50. Chi-Square Relating the Kind of Initial Discrepancy on Love-Hostility

Between Conscious Self-Diagnosis and TAT Diagnosis to the Kind
of Change in Self-Diagnosis of Love-Hostility on Pre-Post Tests
for 23 Psychotherapy Patients 476




51. Chi-Square ... for 40 Discussion Group Controls .... 476

52. Chi-Square ... for Combined Samples of 23 Psychotherapy Patients

and 40 Obesity Patients 477

53. Chi-Square Relating the Amount of Discrepancy Between Conscious

Self-Diagnosis and TAT Diagnosis to Amount of Temporal Change

in Self-Diagnosis for 81 Discussion Group Controls .... 478

54. Norms for Converting Raw Scores (Dom and Lov) to Standard

Scores at Level I-M 494

55. Norms for Converting Raw Scores (Dom and Lov) to Standard

Scores at Level II-C 495

56. Norms for Converting Raw Scores (Dom and Lov) to Standard

Scores at Level III-TAT (Hero) 496

57. Norms for Converting Raw Scores (Dom and Lov) to Standard

Scores at Level III-TAT (Other) 497

58. Weighted Scores for Measuring Discrepancy Between Two Diag-

nostic Codes Indicating Kind and Amount of Difference Between
Levels or Tests, and for Comparing Codes Where One Is of
Extreme and the Other of Moderate Intensity .... 498-99


In the past, the complexity of personality data, particularly as it is
observed in the clinical setting, has led to a relative neglect of em-
pirical studies and to an emphasis on anecdotal, speculative accounts.
Where objective investigations have been undertaken, they have
tended to be analyses which employed a single testing instrument.
This is a result of the sociological development of the testing psy-
chologist's role.

The original and basic aim of the Kaiser Foundation Psychology
Research was (and still is) the study of "process in psychotherapy."
The first steps in this direction involved the construction of a sys-
tematic way of viewing personality structure before therapy. This
model system is necessary to predict what will happen in therapy and
to measure change in structure during and after therapy. This book
presents such a system and some of its diagnostic and prognostic

The United States Public Health Service supported the research
project by a series of six annual grants, from 1950 to 1954, under the
directorship of Hubert S. Coffey and Dr. Saxton T. Pope, Jr., and
from 1954 to 1956 under the direction of Timothy Leary. In addition
to serving as the first director, Hubert Coffey has been chief advisor
since the first days of the project. Dr. Pope provided research
facilities and clinical wisdom, and was of signal help in developing the
concept of variability indices, discussed in Chapter 13.

The Kaiser Foundation contributed substantially to the research
during the years 1950-1954, and from November 1954 assumed major
support of the core project. Dr. Harvey Powelson became the
director of the research project in 1951. He has given clinical advice,
theoretical counsel, and administrative support throughout the dura-
tion of the research.

In its development, the interpersonal system of personality has
been influenced by many collaborating psychologists and psychiatrists.
It is impossible, in a cooperative, creative enterprise of this scope to
accord specific credit for all contributions, and the following acknowl-
edgments indicate only the major indebtedness. Those whose names
are listed below should not, however, be held accountable for any


weaknesses in the theoretical design. Full responsibility for the present
version of the system is assumed by the author.

The basic notion of the interpersonal classification system (the
circle) was developed in 1948-1949 by Hubert Coffey, Mervin Freed-
man, Timothy Leary, and Abel Ossorio. The same group was respon-
sible for the original tripartite definition of levels. The psychotherapy
groups which provided the original data for classification of inter-
personal reflexes were organized with the help and sponsorship of
J. Raymond Cope, of the Unitarian Church of Berkeley.

Dr. Mary Sarvis, Kaiser Foundation Psychiatric Clinic, lent her
diagnostic and therapeutic knowledge to the research group with un-
sparing generosity.

Mervin Freedman was a major participant in every stage of theo-
retical and methodological development from 1948 to 1953. His
thoughtful, analytic approach provided balance and good sense.

Rolfe LaForge is responsible for the successful aspects of the
statistical and methodological work. From 1950 to 1954, he directed
the testing program, the IBM research, the check-list studies, and
served as statistical consultant.

Martin Levine, Blanche Sweet, Herbert Naboisek, and Ellen
Philipsborn Tessman made theoretical contributions and aided in the
processing of data.

Jean Walker McFarlane was an original sponsor and advisor of the
research project and contributed continuous editorial and practical

Arthur Kobler of the Pinel Foundation Hospital, Seattle, has em-
ployed the diagnostic system in his studies of psychotic patients. The
combination of his empirical help and theoretical counsel has
strengthened this book in several areas.

Bernard Apfelbaum collaborated in the early stages of the oscilla-
tion-variability theory. He also provided ratings of interpersonal
behavior, as did Wanda Bronson, Albert Shapiro, and Marvin

Frank Barron has served since 1950 as official and unofficial con-
sultant to the research project. He helped design the original test
battery and provided valuable editorial and methodological assistance.
Psychotherapy groups studied by the research project were in
charge of Dr. Jean Neighbor, Mary Darby Rauch, Shirley Hecht,
Mervin Freedman, Stephen Rauch, Abel Ossorio, Dr. Harvey Powel-
son, Robert Suczek, Hubert Coffey, Patrick SuUivan, and Richard V.
Wolton. Richard Wolton also lent his assistance in the collection of
data and in manuscript preparation.


A most important aspect of the interpersonal system is that the
test administration, scoring, and rating of tests — as well as the deter-
mination of the multilevel diagnoses and the indices of conflict — are
accomplished by highly trained technicians who are not professional
psychologists. The technical staff responsible for the multilevel
diagnoses of the 5,000 cases on which this book is based, includes Anne
Apfelbaum, Elizabeth Asher, Mary della-Cioppa, Roberta Held,
Charlotte Kaufmann, Joan Harvey LaForge, Helen Lane, and Bar-
bara Lennon NichoUs. Gloria Best Martin was Research Administra-
tor for the years 1950-1952.

The countless administrative decisions necessary to maintain the
day-to-day operations of the research project have been handled with
competence by Miss Helen Lane. She has had final executive respon-
sibility for data collection, office management, and manuscript


Some Basic Assumptions About
Personality Theory

Interpersonal Dimension of Personality

The twentieth century may well find historical status as the epoch in
which man began to study himself as a scientific phenomenon. This
development, inaugurated mainly by Sigmund Freud around the year
1900, has brought about an impressive growth in the so-called human-
ist disciplines — psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, sociology. The
hour is yet too early to begin writing the chronicles of our time, but
certain trends, now clearly evident, allow tentative predictions.

The study of human nature appears, at this mid-century point, to
be shifting from an emphasis on the individual to an emphasis on the
individual-in-relation-to-others. During the last fifty years the sub-
ject matter of psychiatry, for example, has moved away from case
history and symptomatic labels and proceeded in the direction of
social interaction analysis and psychocukural phenomena. The physi-
calistic therapies, such as electro-shock and neurosurgery, seem to
have worked with little theoretical justification against these scientific
currents of the time.^

As late as twenty years ago the psychiatric literature was saturated
with concepts that were oriented towards the nonsocial aspects of per-
sonality — man in relation to his instinctual past (Freud), his racial past
(Jung). The psychological laboratories at the same time buzzed with
experiments on achievement, intelligence, temperament, and learning
processes of the individual animal or human being.

Today, theoretical events have taken a different turn. Man is
viewed as a uniquely social being, always involved in crucial inter-
actions with his family members, his contemporaries, his predecessors,
and his society. All these factors are seen as influencing and being in-
fluenced by the individual. The new direction is marked by a series of
new conceptual guide posts from communication theory, cultural
anthropology, and neop

Online LibraryTimothy LearyInterpersonal diagnosis of personality; a functional theory and methodology for personality evaluation → online text (page 1 of 49)