Objectives

• Is assessment a useful prelude to therapeutic planning?

• Distinguish between nomothetic and idiographic approaches.

• What different types of sources can be used to assess personality?

• List some biasing and distorting factors in the measurement of personality.

• What are the different levels of interpretation for information obtained in psychological tests?

• Describe the two major self-report inventories (MMPI and MCMI) in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

• Describe the two widely used clinical interviews.

• Describe and evaluate contemporary trends in psychotherapy.

• Define synergistic psychotherapy.

• Describe potentiated pairings and catalytic sequences.

The first three chapters of this text were concerned with the nature of personality, classical and contemporary perspectives on the field, and ideas related to the development of personality characteristics and disorders. This chapter turns from theoretical to practical concerns: the process of psychological assessment and therapy. Unfortunately, theory, assessment, and intervention have developed along nearly independent pathways. Cognitive therapy, for example, has developed alongside cognitive psychology. Uncoordinated to some larger conceptual framework, the field is littered with hundreds of assessment instruments and psychotherapies. In some cases, instruments constructed decades ago remain in widespread use, their structure and content minimally revised, if at all, in the light of more recent advances. The theme of this chapter is that assessment and therapy should be continuous with personality as an integrative construct. If we were astronomers looking through telescopes designed without regard for the principles of optics, our view of the universe would be highly distorted. Similarly, assessment should be constructed and psychotherapy practiced with an appreciation for the nature of personality as the patterning of variables across the entire matrix of the person.

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