Re: Assessment inventories

Thu, 21 Sep 1995 09:42:30 -0600 (CST)

Devi develops some very thoughtful arguments re:not prematurely ruling
out the use of MMPI and Rorschach when it comes to assessment. He notes
that the way in which it is introduced and used is important in terms of
how it will influence the therapeutic relationship. With the Rorschach,
for example, I can see ways to use it that might indeed be less in the
mold of "expert-subject." Of course, this would involve doing away
with the Exner scoring system and simply talking with the client about
what his or her responses might mean. That way, the therapist is no
longer "Oz."

I have a harder time construing how to soften the expert-subject issue
when it comes to the MMPI. It is a normed test, with pathology based
on how different one's responses are from the "norm" on a series of scales.
Usually, MMPI's are used for diagnostic purposes. One could sit down with
a subject and talk to him/her about the underlying constructions behind the
500+ true-false responses he or she has given. But this seems unrealistic.
With an MMPI, my concern is that it does not take the CLIENT'S
EXPERIENCE AND CONSTRUCTIONS into account. This is not so with a
rep grid or other construct elicitation technique. There the examiner
is simply helping the client elicit his or her own constructs. If the
therapist then talks openly with the client about how these constructs
are used in the client's everyday interactions, then the therapist is
not assuming to know whether these constructs are "pathological." For
me, I can construe no way around the preoccupation with identifying
pathology found in the MMPI and the Exner Rorschach system. And
personally, I want to be a counselor who helps clients elaborate and make
choices about their own constructions and behaviors. I do not wish to
be a magician who, with a wave of my assessment measures, can tell the
client what I now "know" about him/her. While I agree in principal with
s notion not to preemptively eliminate tools from our repertoire, I see
some major conflicts between my construction of psychotherapy and the
underlying premises behind psychological assessment using Rorschach's
and MMPIs.

What do others think? I realize I've presented my view strongly, and
I do not wish this to come across as not being open to alternative
constructions in this area. Thoughts, anyone?


Jonathan D. Raskin
Dept. of Psychology
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
(615) 963-5158
e-mail: raskinj@HARPO.TNSTATE.EDU