Who was Françoise Minkowska-Brokman and what did she contribute to psychology and medicine?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Françoise Minkowska-Brokman was a Polish psychiatrist and physician born in 1882. Brokman can be already considered a phenomenom in her own right for fighting against all odds within the Russian empire to study medicine. However, her major contributions are found on her work with the reflective assessment tool, the Rorschach Test. This is the iconic psychological test made popular in mainstream TV where a psychologist shows a smear while asking the client what they see? It is a reflective test because all that the client sees is completely inherent to the schema and personal experience that lays within their psyche. Each person will see something different. Although it is far from quantitative and its quality is debatable, the empirical results are extremely rich in text and information that can be extrapolated from the client's testimony.

Brokman can certainly be considered influential in her own right for all the obstacles that she encountered as a woman to continue her work. Often she had to work independently due to her expected responsibilities as a married woman.

Among her publications, there are interesting personality studies that added a dimension of personality named the glischroid type. This personality trait was inspired by Van Gogh, who was a favorite of Brokman, for his convoluted and controversial psychotic spells. According to Brokman, Van Gogh suffered from a type of epilepsy spell, the glischroid type, where the person begins to talk incessantly, grossly oversteps personal space and breaks socially accepted boundaries. Glischroid is another term for "sticky", and Van Gogh's personality (during bouts of psychosis) would often begin to change by showing these characteristics.

Brokman died in September of 1950 and most of her work on Rorschach was interrupted. However, the abundant amount of literature researched by her and written during her lifetime still remains available for study, although she herself never had the chance to review most of it due to her death.


Minkowska, Françoise. (1956). Le Rorschach.Á la recherche du monde des formes. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.