Topic 11: Appraisal of Personality {by 7/9}

Based on the text reading and lecture recording due this week consider the following two discussion points: (1) How can accurate personality assessment help the therapeutic relationship and treatment?  (2) Discuss your concerns about the continued use of projectives – impact on clients and/or the mental health field.

 

Your original post should be posted by 7/9.  Post your two replies no later than 7/11.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Madi
    Jul 08, 2020 @ 10:54:03

    1. Accurate personality assessment helps the therapeutic relationship and treatment. A personality assessment can provide a clear picture of the client’s problems. Having the full picture of the client’s problems is crucial to treatment. If a counselor only has part of the picture, then the counselor is not treating the whole client. Related to this personality assessment can also help a counselor choose which intervention to use. People with certain personalities will react differently to certain interventions. Similar to how personality assessment helps with interventions, it also helps with treatment decision. As people’s personalities play into the type of treatment they should receive. Personality assessments also help the relationship because it allows the counselor to get a full picture of the client. It also makes the relationship a collaborative one.
    2. It continues to shock me that projective are still being used. Freudian psychology is at the core of projective test and Freudian psychology is severely outdated. There is also a lack of evidence behind the tests. A lack of reliability and validity to me means that the test should not be used scientifically. The test is also up to the interpretation of the counselor. These test can be loosely used but not with the lens of Freudian psychology.

    Reply

    • Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 11:48:49

      Hi Madi, I totally agree with you that is quite shocking that projective are still being used. I think they are useless especially if the main strength is that it’s not easily faked when according to many clients don’t really go out of their way to deceive because most of them are honest about their responses. I also feel like there are other ways to determine is clients are faking an assessment especially by using observer reports. I share the same point as you that with no reliability and validity why would it still be used in a scientific field. I imagine the people using these measures might be old school, resistant to change clinicians. I’m just hoping they didn’t ruin anyone’s lives with false-negative results.

      Reply

    • Christopher LePage
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 18:31:26

      Hi Madi, I enjoyed how you brought up the outdatedness of these tasks and how Freud is at the center of it. It is surprising to me that this is still being practiced after we are taught, or I should say untaught many of Freuds original techniques and practices. I also agree with you on the fact that these assessments should be more scientifically based (reliable and valid). By having these assessments that are up to the viewer’s discretion essentially, is very harmful to the client and could potentially do more harm than good to the client.

      Reply

    • Trey Powers
      Jul 12, 2020 @ 15:16:58

      Hi Madi!

      I agree with you on how essential the proper assessment of personality is to the therapeutic process. Not only can it affect the eventual outcome for the client, but it can also impact the quality of the therapeutic relationship. I liked your point on treating the whole client. While it is possible to treat an individual by only knowing their presenting problems, it is far more beneficial to understand them as a whole rather than just their issues. It also has the potential to reveal other areas in which the client may need to work on.

      Reply

  2. Yen Pham
    Jul 08, 2020 @ 13:21:14

    1.How can accurate personality assessment help the therapeutic relationship and treatment?

    Assessing a client’s personality is often part of the counseling process because individuals’ personalities are frequently intertwined with their problems and issues, In addition, clients’ personalities should be considered when making treatment decisions and selecting techniques.Therefore to accurate personality assessment help the therapeutic relationship and treatment the counselors often use both formal and informal personality assessment techniques.

    The informal personality assessments refer both observation and interviewing. Observation is the most common techniques in personality assessment. Counselors should attend to the reliability and validity of their observations because personal biases and attitudes can influence their abilities to be skilled observers. For example, counselors may perceive a client with sluggish speech and frequent yawns as disinterested when, in fact, these behaviors may be due to the client staying up late the night before. Counselors should look for consistency in their own observations. Besides, counselors should look for the validity that concerns representatives and generalization. Because the time the client spends with the counselor is not long (e.g.,1 hour during an intake) the observations are restricted to a small sample of behaviors, which may not represent the client’s typical behaviors. Interviewing is another personality assessment technique that counselors frequency use. The counselors should know the differences between diagnostics and descriptive assessment. Diagnostic assessments/interviews are used to identify issues and possible disorders consistent with a diagnostic taxonomy (DSM-5) whereas descriptive assessments/interviews are used when the purpose is to describe aspects of the client what the counselors should focus during the interview with clients. The quality of the interviewing questions greatly influences the usefulness of the information gathered in an interview. Therefore, it is important to be direct in asking questions specific to the purpose of the assessment. Interviewing suffers from many of the same problems as observation; therefore, counselors need the psychometric qualities of their interviews.

    The formal personality assessments contain structured personality instruments and projective techniques. The structured personality instruments which clients respond to a fixed set of questions or items. The most widely used structured personality instrument, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2 (MMPI-2),the NEO-PI- 3 which has a substantial empirical foundation and increasingly being used by practitioners, the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator, and other standardized personality instruments (e.g., personality assessment inventory- PAI). The projective techniques which clients are asked to describe, tell a story, or respond in some way to relatively unstructured stimuli; intent is often less obvious with projective techniques than with a structured inventory.

    2. Discuss your concerns about the continued use of projective – impact on clients and/or the mental health field.

    I think that the projective techniques impact on clients and/or the mental health field because the intent of this technique is to make it more difficult for clients to fake their responses because they will be unsure what the unstructured stimuli are designed to measure. With projective techniques, there are no rights or wrong answers because there are no specific questions. The client responds to the stimuli, and the examiner examines those responses and interprets their meanings. The psychoanalytic concept of projection concerns individuals ‘tendency to project their own drives, defenses, desires, and conflict onto external situations and stimuli. Thus, projective techniques encourage clients to project their personality through their responses to the unstructured stimuli. Projective techniques are thought to uncover more of the client’s unconscious and, thus, provide an indication of covert or latent traits. Finally, I think that there is significant subjectivity in the interpretation of projective techniques, and extensive training is needed to use these instruments appropriately.

    Reply

    • Selene Anaya
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 20:47:40

      Hi Sr. Yen!
      I think you made an important point regarding the role personality plays in the problems that an individual may be facing. This is so true, and it is all the more reason why personality assessments should be done accurately. Understanding our clients’ personalities will help us conduct our therapy in a way that they respond well to and a way that will allow us to connect with them more easily. I like how you included the description for informal personality assessments and formal personality assessments, as well as an example for each. Distinguishing between the two is important and can also bring up important ideas that should be thought of when conducting either. I think informal assessments really bring forth the importance of having our perceptions of someone’s presence being accurate because there are many factors that can explain the observed behavior. I also really like how you pointed out the importance of consistency of observations. This will help narrow down the various factors that may be at play when observing a particular behavior. Coming back to formal personality assessments, the structure and the measurements of reliability and validity help to cut down the subjectiveness that may be present in informal assessments. As for projective techniques, I completely agree with you that there is a significant amount of subjectivity that resides in the interpretation of these assessments. I think they can really do more harm than good, and they should just not be a thing anymore!

      Reply

  3. Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 02:43:40

    How can accurate personality assessment help the therapeutic relationship and treatment?
    Personality is said to influence a number of characteristics of a person such as their desires, their needs, their coping styles, their relationship with others, their communication styles, and their inner sensitivity. An individual’s personality is also intertwined with their problems and issues. Accurate personality assessment will be able to ascertain these personal characteristics as well as expose dormant, secret, or subconscious features of the individual’s personality. Therefore an accurate personality assessment will aid the therapist in identifying and clarifying the client problems and spearhead treatment decisions or treatment goals development. Personality assessment helps in the selection of intervention that fits with that person’s personality and will be more beneficial to them. It also helps the counselor by informing and developing therapeutic rapport. It guides rapport by determining what might work with the client and what might not work well with the client based on their personality. Counselors often use informal and formal personality assessment techniques. However, with informal personality techniques therapist has to be mindful about observation biases and attitudes that can lead to misinterpretation. With regards to formal personality assessment, the quality of the assessment items or questions will significantly influence the usefulness of the information gathered from the assessment. Therefore the most important part is choosing the assessment correctly. In order to access the specific skills, attitude, abilities, knowledge, and personality traits that the therapist wants to assess. If a therapist misinterprets a client’s abilities, skills, knowledge, and personality that can ruin the developing therapeutic relationship because the individual might feel frustrated, confused, or feel like they have wasted their effort and the therapist can miss the opportunity to connect and motivate change.

    Discuss your concerns about the continued use of projectives – impact on clients and/or the mental health field.
    Projective techniques provide clients with an unstructured stimulus and record their response to the stimulus. Even though the intent is to allow people not to fake their responses because they don’t know what it’s assessing I feel like projective technique is flawed as it doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, so scoring interpretation is totally subjective and unreliable. It requires the administrator to do extensive training even though this test is not reliable or valid. These respondent answers can be easily skewed based on examiner attitude or test settings. Even with standardized assessment, pertinent information can be missed, can you imagine how much information will be misused and misinterpreted with these projective techniques. Clients’ issues and problems can be misconstrued and the entire clinical relationships can be built on false premises or information. This can result in clients having no benefits from counseling. Clients can perceive the clinical relationship as useless as it doesn’t tap into the needs, issues, or problems. The mental health field is moving toward using empirical data. The use of projective technique goes against that premise. This method is old school and the presumption is that it uncovers client unconsciousness which is really outdated and focused on psychoanalysis. Subjectivity is dangerous to the mental health field. There is a lack of norming groups and this can give false positive information saying someone has a mental health issue when they don’t. This can also be detrimental to minority groups as most minority groups score high on these projective measures.

    Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 13:03:31

      Hi Althea,
      I really enjoy your insight on the question 2. I agree with you that the projective techniques require the administrator to do extensive training even though this test is low reliable or valid. Therefore, it is factual information that those who conduct such projective tests need to be well qualified and experienced in this field of study. We understand that projective tests are personality test which is conducted in psychology and is done in order to understand the stimuli of the person. Besides this, the test also reveals different types of hidden emotions of a person – it also helps you to understand the internal conflicts of a person. This is also known as the objective test or a self-report test. The Rorschach inkblot test for example, is very frequently used by the experts for the purpose of projective tests. In this test, there are various inkblots which are plotted symmetrically, but in an irregular position. The person is then asked what they are seeing in these blots. They get various responses from this test – the response is then analyzed keeping in mind various parameters. The experts check what time was taken to respond, what the person said about the inkblots, which was the most important aspect that was touched upon. For example if the respondent sees fearful images, then they assume that the person is suffering from paranoia. However, I think that the counselors receive meager validation information so it is not good enough to build up a diagnosis or treatment through this technique. Moreover, we should consider why clients see the fearful images, if they have a history of abnormalities or because racial differences sometimes affect their vision too. It is very difficult for a counselor who is not well trained to identify these issues.

      Reply

    • Christopher LePage
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 18:28:18

      Hi Althea, Within your first response I liked how you mentioned that it can help uncover some hidden problems the client may have. I very much agree with this point, because sometimes it can be hard for clients to express how they are feeling, and they may feel more comfortable jotting it down in an assessment. Often times in sessions the client may feel confused by the question and end up taking the conversation in a different direction from what they wanted to discuss.

      Reply

    • Selene Anaya
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 21:09:39

      Hey Althea! I completely agree with your responses to both questions. For the first one, I like how you included the impact the personality can have on ones coping styles, and you bring forth the deeper thought of obtaining insight into one’s interactions with other people when we have an accurate personality assessment. I also thought it was important that you expressed the negative impact that an incorrect assessment or interpretation can have on the client’s therapeutic work and/or motivation. This is important to consider when we are doing both informal and formal personality assessments. When you were talking about the projective techniques, I couldn’t agree with you more about them being completely subjective and unreliable. I had mentioned in my post that this allows for counselors who are using these techniques to interpret the results to see what they want to see or perhaps fulfill personally. Projective techniques are too dangerous to continue to be used in the mental health field and can lead to false positives which can also do more unnecessary harm.

      Reply

  4. Haley Scola
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 10:00:09

    1. Accurate personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment because knowing accurate personality can provide clarity in identifying clients problems. Personality is frequently intertwined with an individual’s problems so knowing personality type can provide a clear and full picture of the client’s problems. Like we’ve discussed before, the more information the clinician has, the higher the likelihood of benefits the client will have from the therapeutic process. This in turn helps select the most appropriate interventions and assist in treatment decisions because different personality types react differently to interventions and treatment styles. In addition, personality assessments help in contributing to structure of counseling relationship by creating a collaborative therapeutic process. Using personalities assessments is also useful because if a clinician makes wrong judgments or assumptions about a client then the assessment is a tool that can be used to correct those misinterpretations.
    2. Projectives are used to make it more difficult for clients to fake their responses because they will be unsure what the unstructured stimuli are designed to measure. But a huge concern is the fact that they do not have a right or wrong answer which means it is completely up to the clinician’s interpretation. This alone is a huge worry in the reliability. The reason there is no right or wrong answer is because the point is that individuals have the tendency to project their own drives, defenses, desires, and conflict in order for the clinician to measure. The clinician is a human too which means we are all flawed which means completely relying on one’s interpretations may easily lead to the client’s projections being misconstrued. This could seriously impact the therapeutic process as well because the information may not be accurate.

    Reply

    • Althea Hermitt- Mcpherson
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 11:57:13

      Hi Haley, most of my points and your points on how accurate personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment. I totally agree that the more information the clinician has the better it is for treatment. as it helps to guide treatment goals and decisions. I like that you mention that personality assessments help in contributing to the structure of the counseling relationship by creating a collaborative therapeutic process. I like that you also mention that the assessment can be used to correct misperceptions. I feel like using assessment for these purposes is essential and a very good tool for therapeutic use.

      Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 12:09:22

      Hi Haley,
      I totally agree with you that the role of personality assessment is important to provide clarity in identifying client’s problems. With a full picture of the client’s problems, the clinicians and counselors have the higher the likelihood of benefits the client will have from the therapeutic process. However, I think to gain the accurate personality assessment, the clinicians and counselors should consider what the methods they should use. On chapter 10, we discussed two methods the counselors often used that are formal and informal personality assessment techniques. We know that no method is perfect so the counselors while using those methods they should consider the reliability and validity of each method. For example, observation is one kind of the informal personality assessment. Counselors should attend to the reliability and validity of their observations because personal biases and attitudes can influence their abilities to be skilled observers.

      Reply

    • Trey Powers
      Jul 12, 2020 @ 15:11:06

      Hi Haley!

      I agree with you that the lack of structure with the projective assessments can be problematic because of the subjective nature of them. I liked your point about clinicians being humans too. Even the best trained clinicians can have differing opinions on subjective matters such as these assessments, which means that differing diagnoses are likely. With something as important as mental health, it is essential that an objective and reliable instrument be used for assessing these intricate elements of personality. without standardization, structure, and evidence backing up the use of assessments, it is very likely that incorrect diagnoses will be made, to the detriment of the client.

      Reply

  5. Christopher LePage
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 18:25:43

    1.) One way that having an accurate assessment can benefit the therapeutic relationship, is because you are able to get a better understanding of your client. With this, you are more likely to better gauge your client’s likes and dislikes. By having this information available to you, you can sort of play off of their personality better and reciprocate their energy back to them. For many of the shy clients this is particularly helpful, because at times it can be hard for them to open up and trust you. By having a personality assessment you may be able to recognize this, and make a strong attempt at trying to get them to really discuss their issues with you.
    2.) One of my concerns with the use of projectives is that it is simply an outdated concept. With this style of therapy it is all up for interpretation, and no evidence-based practices. This makes it more difficult to track the overall progress of the client. I also think that in today’s society we tend to look at more scientifically proven research. With sessions being at such a high price for some clients, or just be time consuming, they are going to want to see something more than just an interpretation. By having this all be just based off of interpretation you also are significantly reducing the sessions reliability and validity as the interpretations may be different based on any given day.

    Reply

    • Haley Scola
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 16:06:17

      Hi Chris,
      I like how you stated the clinician can “reciprocate their energy back to them” by having this information. I totally agree because like mentioned in class, if someone uses humor a lot you’re going to adapt and use humor more than you would than someone who has a personality type that doesn’t use it often. This definitely is a huge resource in building rapport! In terms of projectives, I completely agree that they’re outdated and that it’s not evidence-based. It uses interpretation of the clinician which in itself is a huge worry because we are all humans and are all imperfect. I thought your point that clients are spending a lot of money and time into therapy so they’re going to want something scientific with empirical support rather than just someone’s interpretation. I think the misconception that psychology isn’t “science” is already why so many people don’t go to therapy so using a tool like projectives may be counterproductive for a client’s therapeutic process.

      Reply

    • Michelle McClure
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 22:34:44

      Hi Christopher! I agree with you that using projective techniques is outdated. There are so many instruments and interventions that would work to address the same issues in much more reliable and scientific ways. Evidence based practices have been proven to have much better overall outcomes for the clients and that is why therapy has been changing from the psychoanalytical practices of the past to the evidence based practices we use today.

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  6. Selene Anaya
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 20:36:49

    (1) There are many ways in which a personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment. Personality influences a lot of outcomes and experiences in an individual’s life, so assessing this can help therapy in many ways. Having the assessment of personality be accurate is especially important because it can impact the clinician’s approach to therapy. There are many personality traits a person can have that can influence the way the clinician conduct therapy such as the use of humor or seriousness. For example, if a client seems to use humor or responds well to humor, it would be especially beneficial for the clinician to use humor in therapy not only to positively influence the effectiveness of therapy, but it can really strengthen the therapeutic relationship. Being able to connect to clients and make them feel comfortable are both heavily influenced by reading the individual’s personality and conducting therapy and presenting information in a way that the client will take in and respond well to. If an individual’s personality tends to be more serious, it is very likely that using humor in your approach can be off-putting and it can negatively impact the therapeutic relationship. Assessing personality accurately can also be a very crucial part of effective treatment. For example, let’s say we have an individual who is sarcastic and doesn’t seem to respond well to the seriousness that some homework assignments may bring forth. The homework can still be given, but the manner in which it is presented (using the clients’ terminology, acknowledging that “ugh it’s homework” feeling they may have, etc.) can be helpful in expressing why the homework is being given to them and how it can be helpful. It is also very common for clinicians (and us as normal humans) to have first impressions of personalities. Obtaining results from accurate personality assessments can confirm and/or disprove the initial assumption of personality which can positively impact therapy.
    (2) Projectives are something that I just can’t wrap my mind around the sense it makes for some people. I understand that it allows for the authenticity of responses and can ~maybe~ tap into an individual’s unconscious, but there is no evidence supporting them and it involves subjective interpretation of the answer responses. This leaves room for the risk of designing the therapeutic plan based on what the clinician (who is making the interpretations) wants to see. We have talked a lot in classes this semester about being self-aware of our own biases and not letting those play a part in therapy, and I know with these projective techniques, clinicians are letting their own unresolved conflicts direct their interpretations which can lead to so many issues, misdiagnoses, and unreliable information for clients. Not to mention how bad this makes the mental health field looks when people read about these projectives and it seems to be all made up. I know this program focuses on evidence-based practices, so I am biased but there are clearly so many negative impacts the continued use of these projective techniques can have on not only all clients, but clients who are a part of a minority group. Having someone interpret your response to a blob of nothing who has not had the same (or close to the same) experiences as a minority can either undermine the situation or completely get the real issues that are present wrong.

    Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 23:19:14

      Hi Selene,
      Your answer to question two really made me think about the implications of the subjectivity. I think you are completely right in saying that the counselor should be very cautious about their unresolved inner conflicts when interpreting these projections. Although, just like everyone else counselors are humans and tend to make mistakes. This can be dangerous because as much as someone would like to say they are being as objective as they can, there will still be some lingering subjectivity. There also will be plenty of times in which some counselors may not be aware of some of those unresolved conflicts and fall into countertransference. I believe this adds on to the number of false positives and that of minorities. The counselor can have good intentions, but it might be hard for them since there is no right or wrong answer and it is all up for interpretation.

      Reply

    • Dawn Seiple
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 11:48:35

      Hi Selene,

      I found your discussion of subjectivity and biases when using the projective assessments very thought-provoking. As you pointed out, when results are subjective, clinicians are prone to seeing what they want to see. Their own biases and unresolved conflicts come in to play and can lead to misdiagnoses. Subjective assessments really do not seem appropriate in the mental health field. When someone’s life experiences are so completely different from your own, especially if due to racial, cultural or socio-economic differences, it can be very difficult to fully understand or relate to them and to interpret their responses on a subjective assessment. Recent discussions related to the Black Lives Matter movement has really brought to my attention how unaware we can all be of our personal biases. Even when we think we have no biases, we usually do. Francesca’s response to your post was also really interesting and I think she is so right in noting that we are all just human, even when working as clinicians. When I think about practicing as a therapist, this is one of my big concerns. What can feel like personal intuition, can actually reflect stereotypical views. I really want to be sure that I find a good balance of providing some of the personal insight I have gained in my life with being open to a client’s unique personal experiences.

      Reply

    • Brigitte Manseau
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 22:43:30

      Hi Selene,
      I completely agree with both your responses. Your examples throughout your first response allowed me to gain a better understanding of how exactly a clinician can respond to a client with a particular personality. The homework example got me thinking about how clinicians are able to encourage clients to “do the work” such as rehearsing a behavior or partaking in a mindfulness exercise by tapping into the client’s personality. Clinicians who have the ability to tailor their approach to different personalities of clients are more likely to better help their client. I, too, found it difficult to comprehend that some professionals primarily use projective techniques. I like that you brought up biases and how that plays a part in misinterpretation. In the textbook for counseling principals and practices, it was communicated that professionals who take the proper steps to work on their biases will still be slightly biased. It really explains how those who aren’t aware of their biases can potentially cause a lot of damage.

      Reply

  7. Michelle McClure
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 21:22:48

    1. Personality assessments when they are accurate can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment by increasing the rapport between the clinician and the client. It is important to know the personality of your client as the clinician so that you know the best way to interact with your client. Different clients respond to different clinical approaches better then others for example a client may prefer more humor or alternatively a more serious approach to therapy. It is important to relay information to the client in the best way for the client to receive the information taking their personality, education and background into consideration. It is important to match a clinicians approach to therapy to the individuals personality so that you can choose interventions that will appeal to the client and will keep the client engaged. It also gives the clinician more information about the client’s problems and how the clients personality is effecting the clients problems.
    2. Projective techniques are when clients are asked to describe or tell a story to relatively unstructured stimuli and the intent of the projective is less obvious then with structured instruments. Projective techniques are used to measure the clients subconscious and are very psychoanalytic in nature. Intensive training is needed, typically a phd, to administer these techniques. Clinicians continue to use projectives in some cases because their own psychodynamic background and training they have the skills to use those assessments and therefore they want to take advantage of their previous training. The continued use of projective techniques today is particularly controversial because of the norming group used when certain projectives were created. Another problem with this technique is that the reliability is very low because there are no correct answers and based on the administers interpretations.

    Reply

    • Haley Scola
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 16:13:31

      Hi Michelle,
      I thought your example of humor was very insightful in discussing personality assessments. Our goal as clinicians is to portray our information in the most optimal form that our client will receive it. I also thought your point that personality assessments help us in choosing interventions that appeal to our client and will keep them engaged was extremely insightful. We always want to keep our client as invested in treatment as we are for the best outcome possible so I thought the way you explained this was perfect. When talking about projective techniques I agreed with your point that they are used in measuring the clients subconscious and how they are psychoanalytic in nature. I think the longer psychology is around, the more empirical and science-based it gets so I think this is a very outdated technique.

      Reply

  8. Dawn Seiple
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 21:51:51

    How can accurate personality assessment help the therapeutic relationship & treatment?

    It is helpful to understand your client’s personality when establishing a therapeutic relationship. Each client is unique in the way they best receive information and utilize it. If a patient is very serious, it would be a mistake to use humor in discussing their diagnosis and treatment. However, if a client is someone who uses humor and has a lighter personality, they might really appreciate humor being used and respond well to it. The important point is that you need to connect with your client if you want them to respond to your recommendations. They want to feel like you understand them and can relate to what they are going through. By adapting to your client’s personality, you are more likely to establish a good rapport. Unfortunately, this can be a difficult skill to teach. Much of the process of matching to a client is intuitive. Some of it comes from experience. Because so much of what the client is communicating is non-verbal, you need to be able to interpret these cues along with what the client says. If you can come to understand your client’s personality, you are more likely to develop a positive therapeutic relationship.

    Discuss your concerns about the continued use of projectives – impact on clients and/or mental health field?

    It seems that the use of projectives for psychological assessment can lead to very negative outcomes. There is significant subjectivity in projectives which makes them unreliable and invalid. For example, when scoring the Rorschach, 50% of the clinicians disagree on the score for a given individual. Obviously, if scores vary by clinician, the score cannot be reliable. The Rorschach also does not measure what it is supposed to measure. It does not effectively diagnose the disorders it claims to diagnose. Having been designed back in the 20’s and 30’s, the projectives are simply not current. They reflect racist and sexist ideas and can lead to many false positive diagnoses for non-white individuals. The tests were not normed with people of color and many non-whites are falsely diagnosed when projectives are used. This is a very unfortunate outcome. It also reflects poorly on the entire mental health field. Because these tests are not supported by scientific evidence, it can suggest that psychology is not a true science or the other assessments that are used are not reliable and valid.

    Coincidentally, my daughter is finishing her first year of a PsyD program and this morning was scoring some practice tests she had completed. She was telling me how biased the tests were both racially and socio-economically. The “proper” results usually reflect middle to upper middle-class white culture. Even though her program teaches how to score the Rorschach and other projectives, my daughter and her classmates seem clear that this is not the kind of assessment they will use.

    Reply

    • Francesca DePergola
      Jul 09, 2020 @ 23:12:14

      Hi Dawn,
      I appreciate the different examples you used in your answer to number one. Understanding the client at their core can help the counselor know what will work with sessions and what won’t. Gaining this insight to the client, the counselor can gauge how to communicate with them in a way that will allow their client to be the most comfortable. The client will probably open up more, be more honest, and try to move to that action needed to change their situation if they know they can truly be comfortable and have this stable relationship with their counselor.

      I also enjoyed your answers to number two as you did a great job re-iterating what the article had mentioned about the Rorschach. You also did a better job of getting to what I was inferring about the damage it can cause to the mental health field. I think it makes the field looked as less than what it truly is since it is not supported scientifically.

      Reply

    • Madi
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 10:05:50

      Hi Dawn,
      I especially enjoyed your response to the first question. I liked how you brought in the fact that the therapist adapts a communication style that fits the client. Every person’s communication style stems from their personality. I had not thought about this aspect when I was answering the question but I find it to be a very important point. I also agree with completely on the negative stance on projective assessment.

      Reply

    • Casey Cosky
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 19:23:10

      Hi Dawn,
      I really like that you included the input from your daughter in your response! It is important to point out the racial and socio-economic bias not only in this particular part of psychology but in other aspects, as well. I agree that they can lead to negative outcomes and that there is too much subjectivity for them to be reliable. They are outdated and not appropriate to rely on these days but for the purpose of history and understanding earlier psychology influences they should definitely still be taught in psychology courses.

      Reply

  9. Francesca DePergola
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 23:01:58

    1) How can accurate personality assessment help the therapeutic relationship and treatment?
    Accurate personality assessment helped the therapeutic relationship and treatment. Personality assessments can give further information that the counselor can use to get a better idea about what kind of person their client is. More information about a client never hurts the relationship or the treatment process, instead it contributes to a more accurate treatment and a deeper relationship between client and counselor. Personality assessment can provide clarity in identifying a client’s problems and strengths. Since a client’s personality is intertwined into all sorts of aspects of their lives, it certainly has its place in the problems they are experiencing as well. Since this information is now available to the counselor it helps to better select interventions by assisting in treatment decisions. Getting this deeper understanding of clients and being able to help them appropriately, it also deepens the rapport. The counselor learns what the client is like and then can alter his or her way of counseling that meets the client’s needs. This can contribute to the structure of the relationship and help the client through the therapeutic process.

    2) Discuss your concerns about the continued use of projectives – impact on clients and/or the mental health field
    The continued use of projectives is sort of mind-blowing with all the evidence that does not support it being reliable. Since there is little to no reliability, it makes it hard for me to imagine a setting in which these projective techniques are still used and seriously considered. I do think, in some cases, it may be a good starting point, like the ways Dr. V has pointed out. The lack of data, the emphasis on the unconscious, seems to be a very old school. I think the most alarming is the fact that it is known false positives can result in using these techniques, especially for minority groups. To consider a client as having a mental disorder when they do not is very dangerous for many reasons and should be the main reason these techniques should not be used. I think this adds to some of that old stigma about the mental health field. This does not paint a good picture of what the mental health field should be focusing on or concerning themselves with due to the high false positives against minorities, misinterpretations of the unconscious, and very low reliability in some cases.

    Reply

    • Madi
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 10:15:45

      Hi Francesca,
      I liked your point that the more information a clinician can gather about the client the better off the clinician is. Additionally I like how yo brough in how personality is intertwined in all parts of the clients life. I believe this point truly shows how important personality assessment Is to the treatment process. For the second question is great complete with you about the fact that it is mind-blowing that projective tests are still used.

      Reply

    • Brigitte Manseau
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 22:32:36

      Hi Francesca,
      I agree personality assessments allow the clinician to better understand and help their client. I like how you mentioned that personality is interwoven into various parts of a person’s life. Understanding a client’s personality can give insight into how the client copes with their issues. Therefore, it may help determine what interventions fit better for that particular client. In terms of projectives, I agree it is mind boggling that they are still used somewhat often. I like how you pointed out that it may be a good starting point to get a better understanding of the client. It could give a glance into how the client thinks and how he or she views the world. Also, I agree It is wild how the techniques are still used even though there are high rates of false positives especially with clients of color. It is infuriating to think about how many individuals have been negatively impacted by a false diagnosis. I cannot see mental health professionals continuing to use an ADHD or depression assessment that would have a high likelihood of false positives.

      Reply

  10. Casey Cosky
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 23:44:38

    An accurate personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment because understanding a client’s personality can help the therapist know more about what approach they will be most receptive to. Some people may be more comfortable with a more upbeat, humorous approach while others who are more reserved might need to be approached in a gentler, calmer way. I have clients in my job who I know I can joke and play games with and they feed off of that energy and open up more in session but I also have clients who I need to be calm and gentle and patient with because they take longer to come out of their shell. If I talked to the clients who are quiet and shy the way I talk to my clients who are louder and like to joke around, the treatment for the shy client may not work and could even make them feel worse because their experience wasn’t validated. Understanding their personality is also important because certain aspects of their personality that really stand out can shed some light on the reasoning behind some of their problems/coping skills/etc.

    Projective techniques are problematic in the mental health field because they’re too ambiguous. I understand that the theory behind it is that feelings and beliefs one may not be aware of in their conscious can come through with this technique. However, I just feel like it’s way too open ended. There are so many reasons behind why a person may choose a certain answer and with responses not necessarily being tied to anything with concrete, objective information, it really gives the clinician the freedom to interpret the results however they would like to. This becomes an issue because the clinician’s own subjective, personal interpretation should not have that much power in determining what their client is thinking.

    Reply

    • Michelle McClure
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 22:49:12

      Hi Casey! I thought your insight on projective techniques being too ambiguous was interesting. Projective techniques are very open ended and you are so right that there are so many variables about why someone may respond the way they do. Then there is the problem that clinicians are human and therefor can never completely erase their own personal experience from their personal interpretations, it would be impossible and in most cases undesirable because our experiences much of the time improve our abilities. Working with clients we use our experience to help them come to their own personal conclusions, not ours.

      Reply

  11. Brigitte Manseau
    Jul 09, 2020 @ 23:58:45

    1. There are several ways personality assessment helps the therapeutic relationship and treatment. Personality assessments help build rapport with clients. Knowing the personality of a client allows the clinician to tailor how he or she interacts with the client. For instance, a clinician may tone down his or her lively personality with a client who is more quiet and reserved. That client may be more comfortable and willing to open up with a clinician who isn’t too extroverted. Tailoring your approach based on each client’s personality helps nurture the connection between client and clinician. Also, personality results give the clinician more information to work with and may lead to a better understanding of the client. Personality may influence people’s coping styles, desires, and needs. Understanding the client’s personality gives the clinician insight on what motivates the client. Therefore, it helps the clinician choose the most successful intervention for the client.

    2. There are several issues with the continued use of projectives. For starters, I do not understand how any mental health professional can 100% back up the use of projectives. It boggles my mind that there are still graduate programs that focus heavily on the use of projective techniques. There is little evidence that actually support these techniques. Projectives have low reliability which means they are inconsistent tests. One of the most important aspects of assessment is reliability because without it the results of the assessment are useless. Can you imagine using a suicide ideation assessment or depression instrument that has low reliability? That would not be allowed. Unreliable assessments can lead to false diagnoses. Going off that point, people of color are often falsely diagnosed when projective techniques are used. Most projective tests were created in the early 1900s and only included whites in their norming group. If the use of projective tests continue to be encouraged that means there will continue to be high false diagnoses for people of color. In class today Dr. V alluded that projectives are unethical. I have to agree especially when client’s lives are being heavily impacted by false diagnoses.

    Reply

    • Dawn Seiple
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 12:19:45

      Hi Brigitte,

      It was helpful the way you compared using suicide ideation or depression instruments with low reliability to the use of projectives. When you point out that clinicians would not use other assessments with low reliability, it really drives home the point that it simply does not make sense to use projective assessments that have low reliability. As noted, it may even border on unethical. It does make me wonder why some graduate programs continue to invest in the training and use of such tests. I am curious if some number of clinicians who use them, use them more in the fashion that Dr. V discussed on Thursday. I could see using sentence completion or play techniques as tools to get information, but not as ways to actually diagnose.

      Even before we consider the fact that these projectives were normed back in the early 1900’s with all white populations, it seems crazy that subjective assessments would be accurate tools for diagnosing psychological disorders. It would not be acceptable for an individual to receive completely different diagnoses from different clinicians due to their subjective interpretations of what was seen in an inkblot. It seems inevitable that the field will continue to migrate away from these tools.

      Reply

    • Casey Cosky
      Jul 11, 2020 @ 19:26:16

      Hi Brigitte,
      I agree with you that it’s important for an extroverted clinician to know how to interact with an introverted client and also important for an introverted clinician to know how to interact with an extroverted client. I have clients in my job who I know would not be receptive to me being animated and making jokes with them to build rapport but I have other clients who would prefer that approach because it makes them feel more comfortable. Personality is incredibly important when determining what treatment works best for the client because their personality influences a lot of their strengths, needs, and decision making.

      Reply

  12. Trey Powers
    Jul 12, 2020 @ 15:05:39

    1.
    When assessing personality, it is important to understand that doing so correctly and accurately has important implications for both the therapeutic relationship and the ultimate treatment outcome. For one, it is necessary to correctly identify personality in order to gain an accurate and complete picture of the client as a whole. If you do not understand who your client is, you may either hold false assumptions about them, or interact with them in ways that are not appropriate for who they are. Additionally, should you believe that you need to go in a certain direction with a client based on an inaccurate assessment, the client may believe that you either do not understand them, or are not listening to them. What can add to this is when you begin a line of questioning that has no relevance to what the client is experiencing. This can harm the therapeutic relationship, or may extend the therapy process longer than is necessary because you wasted valuable time pursuing an incorrect line of treatment, and now need to reassess and generate a correct treatment plan.

    2.
    Projective techniques raise certain concerns in terms of their continued use in counseling today. For one, there is limited research regarding outcomes of these techniques. Information regarding the efficacy and validity of these techniques is scant, which indicates that they may not be the best form of assessment for professional settings offering clinical interpretation and intervention. Combined with this lack of data is the highly subjective nature of these assessments. These instruments are highly unstructured, which leaves the interpretation of the client’s responses largely in the hands of the clinician. This lack of standardization opens the door for a great deal of error should the clinician misinterpret certain results, or choose to systematically apply an interpretation for all responses given. This highly variable interpretation can lead to two clients with the same disorder, but giving different responses to the stimuli, to receive different diagnoses, which is not ethical. I liked what the book said in that many view these techniques not as tests, but rather clinical tools that can be used to supplement structured, valid assessments. Projective assessments can fill some of the holes that exist with other standardized instruments, but in no way should they be used exclusively for the evaluation of personality.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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