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Completing the Watchword Matrix

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Instructions for Paper & Pencil Test


To begin, all you need to know is that the Watchword Technique is a game of word association. Make sure that you are comfortable and will not be disturbed for at least half an hour. You may wish to turn off your phone. Ideally you should be alone but, in any case, do not allow anyone to watch or comment upon what you are doing, or to interfere in any other way.

Print out a Blank Matrix Form and then proceed as follows:

Try to clear your mind of any current preoccupations. You may wish to close your eyes and focus gently on the sensations of breathing slowly in and out for a couple of minutes. Try to forget what you are about to do. Above all, if you have carried out the Watchword technique before, avoid rehearsing any responses you may think to make.

Step 1

Place the form horizontally and write eight different words, from left to right, in the boxes along the top of the sheet. You may write any words at all – just the first words that come into your head. Try not to censor your thoughts in any way and don’t spend too long thinking what to write. Also, don’t write a sentence or grammatically connected sequence. Simply write eight separate words.

Step 2

Write another eight different words, from left to right, in the boxes along the bottom of the sheet. Do NOT turn the sheet upside down to do this. Again, just write the first words that come into your mind.

Step 3

Refer to the Sequence of Connections shown below, and consider the two words that you have written in boxes 1 and 2.

Now think of another word that, in your opinion, somehow connects the two words that you are considering. The connection can be of any kind at all as long as it makes sense to you. Don’t worry if another person might not understand the association you make.

If you think of more than one connecting word, choose the one that provides the link which, in your opinion, is the most personally meaningful. The word you choose must be different from the two you are considering but it may, if so desired, be the same as a word written elsewhere on the sheet. If you cannot think of a single word that makes an appropriate link, you may use a short phrase instead.

Now write the connecting word (phrase) in box 17


Watchword Sequence of Connections

Boxes to Connect Connecting Box
910 21
Boxes to ConnectConnecting Box
13 1423
19 2026
Boxes to ConnectConnecting Box
25 2729
27 2832
33 3435

Sequence of Connections

Step 4

Repeat Step 3, by following the Sequence of Connections. Do not run ahead of yourself – make sure that each connection is written down before proceeding to the next. Also, once you have written a connecting word, do not change it



When you have now completed the Watchword matrix, you can begin to interpret (1) your psychological type and (2) your personality dynamics. Before doing this, however, you might like to consider these questions:

  • Did you feel that, as you progressed through the exercise, you seemed to be tapping deeper and more psychologically meaningful layers of thought?
  • Do the eleven words that appear within the rectangular outline seem in any way significant to you, perhaps when understood as metaphors or symbols?
  • Do the central three words in particular seem to encapsulate or symbolize something very basic about your personality or present situation?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then you should find the interpretive process interesting, relatively straightforward and, hopefully, informative. If, on the other hand, the words you have written seem trivial or meaningless, this does not necessarily indicate that the exercise has not ‘worked’ for you. It may mean, however, that the process of interpretation will require some effort on your part and a willingness to explore indirect or symbolic associations.



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