Topic 8: Appraisal of Personality {by 7/7}

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

32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia Ortiz
    Jul 01, 2022 @ 19:20:57

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

    Personality assessments are tools that allow the evaluation of the psychological and personality traits (feelings and attitudes) of a specific individual, in order to identify the usual way of reacting to certain circumstances. These tests can help determine an individual’s specific traits and characteristics to understand them better. Better communication, discussions, and better therapeutic relationships are possible when a counselor has an insight into the client’s personality. I believe that an accurate personality assessment helps the therapeutic relationship and treatment because understanding the personality traits of a person allows the counselor to know how to proceed with the client, handle every situation in session and develop a successful treatment plan.

    For instance, if a counselor administers a 16 Personality Factors Questionnaire to the client they can evaluate the individual in different areas, some of the 16PF scales are independence, emotional stability, warmth, reasoning, dominance, sensitivity, vigilance, privateness, perfectionism, tension, extraversion, anxiety, and tough-mindedness. Those scales give us a broad understanding of the person we are working with. If the results say that this person is not so independent and does not have good emotional stability and is sensible, we should know that we should proceed differently with them than if we had another client that is more independent, not so sensitive, and has more emotional stability. Also, if a client is more extroverted and tough-minded then we know that we could use humor, for example in our therapy session, something that we should do with care obviously if the client is more reserved and private.

    (2) Discuss your concerns about the continued use of projectives impact on clients and/or the mental health field.

    I think that projective techniques have the disadvantage that the professional who uses them might not follow the instructions, indications, or interpretations proposed by the test, involving their subjectivity in the results. If a person’s answers reveal something significant, the results are open to the examiner’s judgment.

    Projective tests have shown that interpretations of the same data vary widely, and thus these tests yield different results depending on who is interpreting them. They lack score reliability and validity because there is no right or wrong answer. This is a serious issue because we cannot throw any valid conclusions since there is no scientific evidence to back them up. In addition, they do not predict behavior.

    Also, projective tests are very widespread and many times those evaluated study how to perform them or how to respond in the best possible way. That can lead to false positives and false negatives and this can be a great problem in the mental health field. In this field, we need to be certain of the assessment results because mental health is a serious issue. It is certainly a problem if a person is not diagnosed when in reality they have the disorder. Projective techniques should only be used as a complement to a client’s assessment or just to confirm some results of other tests.

    Reply

    • Ashley Torres
      Jul 07, 2022 @ 11:20:30

      Hi Patricia, I enjoyed reading your response and how you broke down the limitations with projective instruments. My biggest concern is the lack of reliability and validity. Since there is no scientific evidence to back up these techniques, clinicians cannot make full interpretations to their client about their findings. Reliability is a strong area and in projective tests, bias and other environmental factors can influence a professional’s interpretation of the client’s response. As we know, interpretations are a big part of projective instruments, and this can influence the client’s mental health or the field because it may label some individuals. For example, a client who tells a story to the fixed images may use anger and violence in each one. We can infer he may have intermittent explosive disorder, but does not necessity mean that is true and that they need the label.

      Reply

    • Tuyen Phung
      Jul 09, 2022 @ 12:52:55

      Hi Patricia,
      Your explanation about the concern about the continued use of projectives in the mental health field. I like the idea of the interference of subjective perspectives in interpreting the tests. When thinking of the projectives, I think that people speak based mostly on their own experience. It can cause misunderstanding when people come from a different culture. For example, if I had not seen an elephant but was given a picture with an inkpot looking similar to an elephant, I would not have spoken that was an elephant. However, the picture of an elephant has some meanings to the interpreter. That can cause significant misunderstanding. Advantageously, I think that the completion of sentences is a good way to use to understand undermined thoughts of people, especially children.

      Reply

  2. NikkiAnn Ryan
    Jul 05, 2022 @ 08:43:25

    A client’s personality characteristics are often connected to their problems; therefore, accurate personality assessment can aid the therapeutic relationship and treatment of their issues. Although the theoretical views of personality vary, it is possible that personality may influence coping styles, responses to environmental stressors, and interpersonal patterns (Whiston, 2016). Information about a client’s personality can help counselors select interventions and develop treatment plans. A counselor can gain insight into a client’s personality by administering structured personality instruments such as the NEO Personality Inventory-3 (NEO-PI-3) which describes personality based on five factors including Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. For example, a client’s level of Openness to Experience can assist a counselor in better understanding the client and can inform intervention selection because the counselor may know that the client may not be comfortable with certain types of interventions or may need more encouragement to try different interventions if they score lower for Openness because they may prefer familiarity rather than variety. Likewise, information regarding Neuroticism, which measures adjustment or emotional stability, may help counselors understand their clients as higher scores indicate a tendency toward experiencing negative feelings, coping poorly with stress, difficulty controlling impulses, and a proclivity toward irrational thoughts. An awareness of these tendencies may influence intervention selection. Additionally, a greater understanding of the client and their personality may allow counselors to empathize more with their clients and build rapport. It is important to note that the NEO-PI-3 was not designed for diagnosing psychopathology, however, its assessment of personality may still provide valuable information for counselors to better understand their clients and structure their sessions. Furthermore, information about one’s personality cannot be viewed in isolation, rather, it should be used as a tool to better understand the client so counselors should view it in connection with the other information they know about their client to have a more complete understanding of the client and their problem.

    Projective techniques provide clients with a relatively unstructured stimulus to respond to and it is believed that they will project their personality characteristics in their responses. The examiner is expected to take the responses and interpret the meaning which is difficult to do given the subjectivity of the interpretation of these techniques. As previously stated, accurate personality assessment can be beneficial to the therapeutic relationship and treatment, however, projective techniques have low reliability evidence and, therefore, there are higher proportions of error with these techniques. It is concerning that projective techniques, such as the Rorschach Inkblot Test are not accurate and do not measure what they intend to measure. Another concern is that there are racial and ethnic biases associated with these techniques and a large number of false positives, which means that the assessment results indicate that the client has a mental health issue when they in fact do not. Given that there is low reliability evidence and a higher likelihood of making a mistake it is concerning projective techniques continue to be used. It is also concerning for the entire mental health field because the mental health field is rooted in science and projective techniques deviate from this scientific foundation. This may lead to a loss of trust in the scientific nature of the field and in assessments that are reliable.

    Reply

    • Rachel Marsh
      Jul 09, 2022 @ 17:12:43

      Hello NikkiAnn,

      I loved reading your post! I appreciate how you discussed the impact of personality on things such as coping, stress, and social interactions. Moreover, I
      like how you used the NEO-PI-3 as an example to illustrate your points. Different personality characteristics will definitely influence how you approach treatment with different individuals. For instance, with your examples regarding openness to experience and neuroticism, individuals who exhibit greater openness to experience may be more willing to engage in treatment whereas individuals who score lower in this area may need more encouragement. Likewise, individuals who exhibit increased neuroticism scores may benefit from a different treatment approach than those who score lower.
      Overall, you made some thought-provoking points! Great post!

      Reply

    • Luz Rodriguez
      Jul 09, 2022 @ 17:31:58

      A client’s personality characteristics are often connected to their problems or even an alert to the clinician bring a concern in many ways. I agree with knowing the personality of person can help clinicians a great deal in knowing how the treatment plan may work out for clients. I also agree with the loss of trust in the scientific nature of the field and in assessments that are reliable in order to help clients.

      Reply

  3. Sarah Kendrick
    Jul 05, 2022 @ 22:30:43

    Accurate personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment as individuals’ personalities are often intertwined with their concerns. Accurate assessments can provide further understanding of identifying individuals’ problems. As for treatment, accurate assessments help to better select interventions general decisions about treatment. Understanding individuals’ personalities may also further structure the therapeutic relationship. An individual scoring high in psychopathy who generally struggles with authority figures and is defensive may provide an understanding of why it is difficult to establish a relationship with the individual (if perhaps they see the helper as an authority figure), allowing the helper to focus on building trust and rapport to then be better able to help the individual with their concerns. In accurately assessing personality, helpers can better identify how individuals’ environments influence them, what their patterns are, and what coping looks like for them, etc. This allows helpers to better develop more specific, realistic, and hopefully more effective treatments/interventions as well as an overall better understanding of individuals’ concerns/problems (essentially having more context).

    Unlike structured or formalized assessments, projective techniques refer to informally asking a client to describe, tell a story, or respond in some way to relatively unstructured stimuli, overall “projecting” the not-so-obvious characteristics of their personality. While more difficult to fake or be prone to influence by clients’ responses, projectives typically have lower reliability than structured assessments as well as lack in validity and may result in flawed or biased interpretations. Regarding observation, helpers tend to have biased and selective subjective interpretations of their observations of their clients. This poses a problem due to the chance of random error and lack of generalizability. In only remembering certain aspects or themes of observations and not necessarily being able to accurately or consistently interpret the observations, the helper may not have a full understanding of individuals’ personalities. As for interviews, poorly developed questions, questions that do not directly assess personality, as well as the general issue of reliability and validity also present concern with understanding an individual’s personality. It is up to the helper to ask the appropriate, direct questions relating to personality as well as to again, withhold biases and try to account for validity/reliability of their observations.

    Reply

    • Ashley Torres
      Jul 07, 2022 @ 11:37:28

      Hi Sarah, I like how you gave specific examples of how a personality assessment can aid a therapeutic relationship and how the environment influences them. If a therapist is not aware of the client’s personality it can be detrimental because the two may not connect. For example, someone who is struggling making friends and is an introvert may need assistance. This client will not benefit by being told to just socialize at a gathering. If the therapist knows the client is an introvert, they understand why they are struggling and work around the obstacles together. This will also build the therapeutic relationship because the therapist has a better understanding of the client and can develop empathy.

      Reply

    • Luz Rodriguez
      Jul 09, 2022 @ 17:37:21

      The way you described accurate personality assessment in the way they help the therapeutic relationship and treatment of individuals’ personalities are often intertwined with their concerns is very true and I agree with this. The observation testing I could also agree and see it has many flaws in helpers tending to be bias in the interpretations of their observations of their clients depending on there own beliefs sometimes and mix in the observations I feel.

      Reply

  4. Amanda Bara
    Jul 06, 2022 @ 10:19:58

    1. An accurate personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment in various ways. It can help us as counselors to get a better picture of who the client is and why they are struggling with specific problems. Understanding an individual personality wise will help to facilitate deeper discussions and insight into their struggles. When knowing the traits of a client there may be specific treatment goals that will be more beneficial for them making substantial progress. Knowing the attitudes and traits of a person can determine how they react to stimuli. Just like with their issues in more meaningful ways. Personality assessments can be helpful when a counselor is not understanding why an individual is not making progress in therapy or they appear to be “stuck”. The assessment can help develop insight on why the client may be lacking progress in certain areas. Having the insight to further challenge the client on these traits that could be preventing them from excelling is important.
    2. The use of projectives raises a lot of concerns for the mental health field and can impact a client tremendously. Because of the large amount of interpretation that can come from projectives, a counselor could make conclusions about situations that are not correct. For instance, if a counselor believes a child is being sexually abused based off of a drawing and reports it the client could be taken away from their family. If this interpretation is wrong the counselor has ruined the therapeutic relationship with the client and caused more distress. These inaccurate conclusions can create bigger problems for the client in the long run. Using projective techniques may be a good addition to other assessments that have established reliability and validity. Because projectives do not show reliability and validity they can produce negative views on therapy and may deter individuals away from wanting to get services. They are unstructured and unformalized therefore therefore results can not be generalized to other people. The bias and subjectivity that comes with projectives can permit treatment options for clients that are not particularly helpful.

    Reply

    • Sarah Kendrick
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 17:37:19

      Hi Amanda! I really liked how you included that personality assessments can be helpful towards understanding why an individual is not making progress in therapy or they appear to be “stuck.” These assessments certainly would help to provide context as to why individuals are not making as good of progress as would be expected. I also really liked your explanation on how projective techniques should be used in combination with other assessments and not necessarily alone, as well as your really good example of how incorrect interpretations can be detrimental to the therapeutic relationship.

      Reply

    • Tuyen Phung
      Jul 09, 2022 @ 12:40:11

      Hi Amanda,
      You provided clear points about why accurate personality assessment is helpful in therapeutic relationships. I like the idea that an accurate assessment of personality helps therapists understand why individuals do not make any progress in treatment or why they get “stuck.” I also see that a client’s personality can significantly influence their attempt to practice therapeutic treatment between sessions. Some types of personality are impacted by the environment more than others. Therefore, understanding accurately personality of clients can help them with coping skills and prevention of risks.

      Reply

  5. Kiara Mark
    Jul 06, 2022 @ 10:59:39

    Personality assessments can provide a description of both normal and abnormal personality features in individuals. Accurate personality assessments help counselors to have a better understanding of the client’s feelings and attitudes. Counselors can use the client’s personality traits to help them structure the counseling relationship with the client and in selecting specific interventions. For example, if a counselor administered a structured personality assessment like the NEO Personality Inventory-3 to a client and the results showed they scored high in Neuroticism the counselor will have to adjust how they speak to client because they generally experience negative feelings. The counselor has to be wary of how they communicate with the client because they do not want them to take what they are saying the wrong way. Additionally, if a client scored high in this domain then the counselor might think about screening them for anxiety, depression, and anger due to the tendency to cope poorly with stress and inclination toward irrational thoughts.
    However, counselors must remember standardized personality inventories are self-report instruments. If an individual wants to distort the results of the inventory they can. It is important for counselors to remind the client of the inventory’s purpose and how the results will be used.

    Projective techniques address some of the limitations shown in standardized instruments by providing an unstructured stimulus so the client has an increased difficulty in faking their responses because they are not sure what is being measured. Projective techniques also encourage the client to project their personality rather than their drives, desires, and conflicts (Whiston, 2016). The results may show complex themes and multidimensional aspects of their personality. Additionally, this technique can be helpful for clinicians to have a better understanding of children and nonverbal clients’ point of view. On the other hand, this technique is more subjective than objective in terms of scoring because there are no right or wrong answers. It is up to the examiner to interpret the meaning of the results. This is worrisome because counselors can have racial and ethnic biases which can impact treatment plans and diagnoses. Additionally, the reliability evidence for these techniques are low, therefore there are higher rates of error in comparison to other measures. It is important that clinicians remember these techniques are not test but rather clinical tools to create a hypothesis. The hypothesis should then be explored and investigated with other structured forms of assessments.

    Reply

    • Sarah Kendrick
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 17:43:04

      Hi Kiara! I really liked your neuroticism example, especially in how an individual scoring high on this would be an indicator for the clinician to further explore and assess other variables (such as anxiety, as you mentioned) associated with the high neuroticism score. I also liked how you stated that the hypothesis developed in using projective techniques should then be explored and investigated with other structured forms of assessments. This is similar to what I also appreciated in Amanda’s response in that projective techniques should be used together with more structured assessments as they provide more of a background.

      Reply

  6. Rachel Marsh
    Jul 06, 2022 @ 13:20:05

    1-Personality assessments can optimize treatment outcomes and build the therapeutic relationship. With treatment, a personality assessment may be beneficial to find areas of strength and opportunities of growth for the client. By understanding a client’s strengths, a clinician can use those to help build on client’s areas of growth. Another way that a personality assessment may benefit treatment outcomes is by helping choose the right treatment.
    Some personality characteristics can be correlated with poor treatment outcomes and lower treatment engagement. Understanding how these play a role in the client can help the therapist know the best ways to engage the client in treatment and set the right treatment goals.
    In building the therapeutic relationship, personality assessments can help the counselor gain more insight into who the client is. This may help facilitate empathy and compassion for the client by understanding more about who they are as a person instead of making assumptions about them based on superficial characteristics. While most therapists tend to assess personality based on observation, the time spent with clients is so short, that we can’t always gain an accurate picture of who they are outside of treatment. How they present themselves in therapy may not truly reflect the way they are outside of therapy. Taking the extra step to administer a personality assessment can help minimize those biases that therapist’s may hold about clients and judgements they make.

    2- As counseling moves toward an evidence-based practice, I would argue that it is an ethical imperative to ensure that the instruments you use are of adequate reliability and validity. My concern with the continued use of projective techniques alone to assess personality is that the evidence of reliability and validity is so low for projective techniques that using them as the sole assessment becomes an ethical concern. It does clients a monumental disservice when they don’t acquire an accurate understanding of themselves. Given that assessment often informs treatment decision-making, using an inaccurate assessment will not benefit the client in choosing relevant and effective treatments. Additionally, the use of projective techniques requires extensive training, which many counselors lack. Another concern that I would have is that there are clinicians using projective methods when they lack the training, which would further contribute to inaccuracies from projective techniques. They are subjective and extremely vulnerable to bias. Another barrier with projective techniques is the lack of normative data. This is concerning because it indicates that there is limited information on the use of projective techniques. The existing information is not representative, thus has limited generalizability.
    In my own experience with talking about projective techniques in other courses, they may be beneficial in terms of the process and building the client-therapist relationship. If clinicians were to continue to use projective techniques in therapy, it may be beneficial to do so as an opportunity to build therapeutic rapport, but should be supplemented with standardized methods that are objective and have greater reliability, validity, and normative information available.

    Reply

    • Kiara Mark
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 08:30:20

      Hi Rachel, in your response to your concerns about the continued use of projective impact on client and/or the mental health field you I liked that you put a possible benefit to using projective techniques. If the client was younger, a counselor might want to use these techniques to help foster the therapeutic relationship with the client. For example, by using the Rorschach inkblot test a counselor might make it into a game where the client and counselor try to have the most guesses based upon the image. The client might become more comfortable and open to the counselor.

      Reply

    • Patricia Ortiz
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 19:13:26

      Hello Rachel! I like how you said that a personality assessment may be beneficial to find areas of strength and opportunities for growth for the client and that a clinician can use those to help build on the client’s areas of growth. I appreciate how you focus on the good part too. Sometimes focusing on the strengths of the client helps them be motivated and thus recover or heal quickly. While knowing what your weaknesses are help to know yourself and what your limitations are, concentrating on one’s strengths brings a better sense of fulfillment and forward progress. Also, by assessing the client’s personality a counselor can determine if they have low-self esteem, poor confidence, or poor self-image and it can be very beneficial to them to focus on their strengths in therapy.

      Reply

  7. Tuyen Phung
    Jul 06, 2022 @ 21:59:35

    Assessment of personality is important not only in helping self-understanding but also in the therapeutic relationship. Accurate personality assessment is helpful in the therapeutic relationship in several ways. First, an accurate assessment can help counselors have a big picture of their client’s problems based on their personalities. Also, personality can partly contribute to how people perceive and deal with their issues. Second, an accurate assessment can help the counselors select interventions and make decisions that match the clients’ personality since personality influences the clients’ coping skills, desires, and responses to the environment. Third, a deep understanding of the client’s personality can help the counselors structure therapeutic relationships by anticipating the client’s reactions to the therapeutic techniques. For example, if a counselor understands well that their client has a personality with a high degree of narcissism, they can anticipate the tendency of denying or accepting failure in the client, leading to appropriate reactions and intervention. Finally, if the counselors understand the accurate personality of their clients, they can provide a better explanation of the clients’ personalities and the way they cope with their issues in their real lives.

    The most important concern in the use of projectives is the validity and reliability of the instrument which is low. Therefore, if its use is continued, it can cause several impacts on clients and the mental health field. Specifically, the label from the result of the projective techniques can cause misperception in clients under the circumstances of using the results in crucial living conditions. In addition, people tend to use it to diagnose clients while the techniques depend significantly on the subjective judgment of examiners. Finally, the use of projectives cannot provide a proper assessment of personality since the mental health field is open to a variety of races and ethnicity.

    Reply

    • Sam Keller
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 16:01:30

      Hi Tuyen! I liked how you tied personality patterns into how individuals cope with different difficulties in life. People who are highly ‘neurotic’ might be more prone to rumination and excessive worry. Because we administered the personality test we can say that instances of over-worry are part of a larger personality pattern. I also think that it is really important to highlight the main reason why we shouldn’t rely solely on these measures: they aren’t proven to be accurate. We don’t want to use tools that cannot function how we want them to, especially when there are better and more time effective ways of getting that information.

      Reply

  8. Rylee L Ferguson
    Jul 07, 2022 @ 08:49:57

    (1) When the personality assessment is accurate it can help the therapist quickly identify client problems. For instance, if a client appears high in trait neuroticism it means they are going to tend toward negative emotions. Personality assessment can also help therapists decide which treatments to move forward with. In the example above, the therapist might decide that learning some general coping skills like relation techniques might be helpful because of the client’s neuroticism. The personality assessment may also affect how the therapist approaches the client throughout the sessions. If the client is heavy in agreeableness, then the therapist should worry about pushing their own agenda on the client. They should encourage assertiveness in the sessions so that the client’s voice is not muted. Some interventions may be better for certain clients based on personality as well. A very extraverted client may benefit from engaging in group therapy sessions whereas this may be unhelpful to an introverted client. If a therapist can accurately assess their client’s personality, it can work to influence how they move going forward in all these ways, however it should just be considered one factor among many in these decisions.

    (2)The fact that there is no consensus on how to specifically interpret any of the projective techniques can be concerning. Without structure or even guidelines this leaves enormous room for subjectivity. This introduces bias and judgment from each therapist who interprets their client’s results. Even with extensive training, I think the use of these techniques is sketchy. Considering how complex and variable people are, there seems to be no way to have good interrater reliability when it comes to interpreting someone’s answer to say an ink blot test. A therapist could use someone’s responses on a test like this to inform their focus in therapy sessions or to even inform a diagnosis. If the interpretations are so variable and not standardized then this means that two different therapists would be taking the same client in two different directions. I do not think it is fair to the client to let such a subjective measure affect the course of treatment significantly. Projection techniques may be a good jumping off point to explore themes that the client keeps returning too, for instance if they keep drawing pictures depicting death. However I think any interpretations should be taken lightly and that no real conclusions should be made until more standardized and validated measures are used to assess the client. Championing any projective techniques would be damaging to the field of mental health as it would ignore the more empirical methods that should be the foundation of good psychological measurement.

    Reply

    • Kiara Mark
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 08:32:07

      Hi Rylee, your response to how accurate personality assessments help the therapeutic relationship brings up a great point. In each example you provided the therapist is not only making a treatment plan based upon the results but also readjusting themselves and how they interact with the client. This is an important factor in implementing the best treatment plan because the therapist has a better understanding of how a client might reacts to certain information and responses. The client might also have an easier time during session and accepting the treatment provided.

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    • NikkiAnn Ryan
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 21:49:04

      Hi Rylee, this is a great description of the concerns about using projective techniques. I think it is notable that even with extensive training, there is still so much room for subjectivity and variability in interpretations. I like that you recognized that a positive aspect is that this type of technique may provide a good jumping-off point to explore certain themes the client brings up with the caveat that no real conclusions should be made solely based on the results of a projective technique like an ink blot.

      Reply

  9. Ashley Torres
    Jul 07, 2022 @ 11:19:07

    Personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship because the clinician becomes aware of the client’s personality style and can understand their approach to relationships and coping methods. A structured personality instruments a client is instructive to respond to a fixed set of items. In a projective technique assessment, it is expected to respond to unscripted stimuli. This can be beneficial in building rapport with children and nonverbal clients because they are given a different approach to express themselves. Assessments can help us identify the problem, select interventions, and make treatment decisions. These tools give us an interpretation of the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and genuine reaction to situations. Personality assessments help the clinician understand the client’s style and front there, the professional adapts his treatment methods. These assessments can also be beneficial because it informs us of responses to environmental stressors, interpersonal patterns, and intrapersonal sensitivity. For example, if the client is an introvert then that may affect the ways they approach social situations that could affect their mental health. If a clinician is aware of these specifics, they can use interventions that best empathize with the client.

    Projective techniques can be described as performance-based measures which is a broader term that includes all types of indirect measures of personality. Even though projective techniques have great strengths like making it difficult for the clients to fake their response, the techniques come with limitations. In projective techniques an individual is presented with unstructured stimuli and the examiner examines their responses and interprets the meaning. Appropriate examples include drawings, sentence completion, and storytelling. Not every professional will interpret the results the same which can cause issues with low reliability. For example, a client can draw a picture of a boy crying, many interpretations can be drawn out like they feel sad, scared or might even be tears of joy. These instruments also don’t have a prefix right or wrong answer therefore it does not have validity. Another limitation is time. Techniques like the thematic apperception test use qualitative scoring systems that yield interrater reliability coefficients and take a lot of time to score. Even when a clinician has administered and scored the instrument, they must be really careful with interpreting results because there is a lack of normative data. Their responses to these tools should not be used as key findings to diagnose a client.

    Reply

    • Sam Keller
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 14:44:06

      Hi Ashley! I really liked the point that you made about projectives being useful for gaining rapport with children and non-verbal clients. I also wonder how this might work with individuals who have had a traumatic brain injury and have more trouble communicating. I also liked the idea of increased sensitivity to environmental stressors, which are aspects of the person’s life that they sometimes don’t have control over. Having not administered projective tests I can imagine that they are definitely not time effective, and especially if you only have a limited number of sessions it seems like a waste when you could use something better.

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    • Rachel Marsh
      Jul 09, 2022 @ 17:00:56

      Hello Ashley,

      I enjoyed reading your post! Specifically, I like the points you made in discussing how to use personality assessment as an opportunity to build therapeutic rapport. t
      You make a great point when you talk about how it can be used as a tool to help facilitate empathy and inform treatment decision making. Personality assessments may reveal more about a client than things they may present in therapy. Using results and discussing them with the client may help them address things that haven’t been brought up or things they may not have realized about themselves. In this way, a clinician can help choose the best treatments for their clients. Moreover, it gives the therapist a better understanding of the client. Overall, great post!

      Reply

  10. luz Rodriguez
    Jul 07, 2022 @ 11:44:21

    1. The accurate personality assessment can help the therapeutic relationship and treatment by helping to determine the structure of the persons identity or problems that the client may have. With the assessment it will help you to see the way the client socializes and responses to others, also where are there strengths and weaknesses. By assessing their personality, we can learn more about them personally as well as the way the client handles certain situations. As well as what could be triggers to alter the client’s personality triggers. This way you can have better understanding in way to approach the client to better treat them in counseling. In which can build the relationship between you and the client so there is a better understanding of the client troubles and strengths. As counselor we can work on those weaknesses to improve where the client is having difficulty with the environment around him /her in there everyday living situations. With this it helps the rapport in the client for building better effects ways in overcoming weaknesses that they may have.
    2. Projective techniques have had some limitations of standardized instruments by giving clients unstructured stimulus to how they respond. In which makes the responses to some clients harder to fake the responses. When the client shows the action, the counselor will respond with there interpretation of the action the client shows. These projective techniques can show an inaccurate measurement of what they intend to measure giving a low reliability projection. The interpretations of theses assessments show a wide range of varieties that can speculate different results can lead to giving false positive and false negative presumptions that can be an interruptions to the care of the client in treatment.

    Reply

    • NikkiAnn Ryan
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 21:47:22

      Hi Luz, I like that you pointed out that accurate personality assessments can be used to understand a client’s limitations as well as their strengths. As you described, by understanding and processing certain weaknesses counselors can help clients to cope with difficulties in their environment and everyday life. Counselors can also use information about an individual’s strengths to guide treatment plans accordingly. I like that you indicated that understanding both the strengths and limitations can help build the relationship because it is an essential part of the counseling process.

      Reply

  11. Sam Keller
    Jul 07, 2022 @ 21:49:13

    Accurate personality assessment can give you information about how to tailor your therapy to each individual client. Someone who is very goal-oriented, for example, might like homework assignments more than someone who perpetually has difficulty making decisions. It can also identify some areas of concern for the client, such as neuroticism and a strong need to be liked. Personality traits taken to their extremes can be very problematic for clients and reduce quality of life. For example a person who keeps too rigid control over their own emotions might find it difficult to express themselves. Personality assessments give you a broad view of specific traits of the client and can provide a good entry point into talking about some of these issues.

    Projective assessments have a couple of big flaws. One is they are, by nature, less empirical than something like a true/false questionnaire. It involves a lot of interpretation, and often interrater reliability isn’t high. A test where you are asked to interpret an image in any way you want has an infinite possibility for different answers. You will get some answers that are more common than others, but you aren’t choosing from a selection of predetermined options. You might think that something has happened to you client that isn’t true, like child abuse. The meaning of each answer is highly subjective. Scientific reviews of projective tests show that they are not as reliable as other measures. However clients and even some clinicians still believe that they work. Additionally the analysis is sometimes based on Freudian theory, which not every clinician fully believes in.

    Reply

    • Amanda Bara
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 12:23:18

      Hi Sam, I enjoyed reading your discussion post. I like how you pointed out how personality assessments can pinpoint strengths and weaknesses for a client. You made an important point about personality traits being extreme and how that poses difficulties for clients. Your explain of being rigid was particularly interesting to me. It made me reflect on one of my clients in my ABA center who is extremely rigid and because of this personality trait he has difficult making friendships and decisions. Great discussion post!

      Reply

    • Patricia Ortiz
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 18:52:32

      Hey Sam! I agree with you that with projective techniques a counselor might think that something has happened to their client when it isn’t true. This is indeed a big problem in this field. And not only in the mental health field. Also for example, if a competent person with a lot of potential for a job position applied for the job and is administered some projective test and it shows that the person has or could have some pathology without having it, or some personality traits that they are not looking for, then they could be at risk of losing their possibility of getting the job. Projective techniques are still used by some companies in human resources. Projective techniques observe ‘unconscious’ facets of personality that are not observable or quantifiable; so their results are very difficult to measure.

      Reply

  12. Jonas Horan
    Jul 07, 2022 @ 21:52:30

    Personality assessment may come in the form of a formal instrument, or it may simply involve observing and getting to know a client. While it may not always be necessary to administer a formal assessment, getting a good read on the individual tendencies of a client is essential for effective treatment. Accurate personality assessment is important for understanding the individual client and their unique case presentation. Even if you know that an individual is suffering from depression, understanding their individual traits and tendencies may further specify how they experience their condition. Their individual traits may also inform us about the best way to approach treatment. For example an extroverted individual may suffer more from limited social contact than an introvert with only two or three friends. Certain things may indicate or precipitate distress and impairment in one individual, but not another.

    Projective tests represent the lingering influence of psychoanalysis in the field of psychology. Like psychoanalysis in general, projective assessments are unreliable and outdated. They tend to have a certain mysticism about them, and imply that “expert interpretation” will yield results. However, “experts” rarely agree with any consistency on the interpretation. Unreliable methods such as these are ultimately unethical if used as serious diagnostic tools. While they may function as conversation starters, especially with younger clients, projective tests do not typically serve the function that they were designed for. Many significant conditions such as antisocial personality disorder, are rarely picked up by projective tests, and the disorders that it does reliably detect – such as serious schizophrenia – could be detected by almost any interaction.

    Reply

    • Amanda Bara
      Jul 08, 2022 @ 12:20:29

      Hi Jonas! I think you did a great job at explaining why personality assessment is important in clinical settings. Especially for understanding a client’s case presentation. It is crucial to understand client’s as a whole when deciding and implementing treatment options. I like how you explained the example of introverts and extroverts. I also liked your explanation of projective tests and the certain mysticism about them. Great discussion post!

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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