SPA Foundation - Charitable Contributions Categories

The Society for Personality Assessment Foundation has been designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Therefore, donations can be deducted as a charitable contribution on tax returns. Please consider donating to one or more of the options listed below.

Student Travel Grants: The Board of Trustees has established the Student Travel Grants to help students attend the SPA Annual Convention to present their work. The SPA Board considers this to be a very important activity in a student’s development. A copy of the Student Travel Grant Guidelines and Application can be found under the SPAGS tab.

Mary Cerney Award: This Award is given to the best personality assessment research paper prepared by a student over the previous year. The student is expected to be present at the SPA Annual Meeting to receive the award. The student receives a certificate, $500 towards their transportation to the Annual Convention, one night’s lodging, and his or her registration fee for the convention is waived. A copy of the Mary Cerney Award Guidelines can be found under the SPAGS tab.

Dissertation Grant Awards: The SPA Dissertation Fund has been established to assist graduate students to cover the costs of conducting dissertation research in the field of personality assessment. A contribution to this award will help a deserving graduate student to better conduct his or her dissertation research,contribute to the development of knowledge in our field, and help insure that new psychologists continue to manifest an interest in assessment. A copy of the Dissertation Grant Guidelines can be found under the SPAGS tab.

Exner Research Scholar Award: Earnings from the Exner Research Fund will be used to defray the research costs of a deserving young investigator at the beginning of their career. Accordingly, nominees must be no more than 5 (five) years past the receipt of their doctoral degree. Nominees will be selected annually to be the Exner Scholar. Follow the link Exner Research Scholar Criteria to read the submission requirements.

Utility of Assessment Research Project: The Board of Trustees feels there is no more important task that SPA Foundation could address at this time than the funding of research in this area.


The 2009-2010 UAR-funded project is An Investigation of Personality Assessment with Challenging Psychotherapies, by Steven R. Smith, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara. A brief description follows.

There are times in all forms of psychotherapy when patients and therapists feel “stuck,” challenged, and that the work is not progressing as well as might be hoped. Such challenges may be due to patient factors, therapist factors, or the match between them. The purpose of this study is to investigate the utility of a therapeutic model of assessment (TMA; Finn, 2007; Finn & Tonsager, 1992, 1997; Fischer, 1994; Hilsenroth & Cromer, 2007) to inform challenging psychotherapies. Given the empirical evidence that TMA aids in the formation of working alliance in early psychotherapy (Ackerman, Hilsenroth, Baity, & Blagys, 2000; Hilsenroth & Cromer, 2007; Hilsenroth, Peters, & Ackerman, 2004), it is expected that a therapeutic assessment intervention will help inform both patients and therapists who are challenged by the work of psychotherapy. This study will rely on a randomized experimental design. Patients seen for psychotherapy in private practice settings, community outpatient clinics, and a college counseling center will be randomly assigned to a TMA condition or a consultation (CON) condition. In both conditions, clinicians will provide a collaborative feedback session with both patient and therapist present. Dependent variables will include assessments of alliance, session evaluation, psychotherapy process, psychological symptoms, feelings of well-being, self-esteem, and therapist activity. It is hypothesized that patients and therapists in both the TMA and CON conditions will find the interventions useful and informative, but that TMA will result in greater improvements in alliance, changes in therapeutic technique, and improvements in patients’ feelings of well-being and self-esteem.

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Ask your favorite personality assessor what the biggest personality assessment convention is, and he/she will tell you it's the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment. Ask him/her what the best personality assessment convention is, and he/she will tell you it's the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment, held every March in a different city.

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Each April, candidates statements and a Ballot for electing new members to the Board of Trustees is made available to Members, Fellows, Life Members or Life Fellows by the Nominations and Elections Committee. The persons elected to the Board take office in September.

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The Society for Personality Assessment YouTube channel offers full-length lectures from past annual conventions and expert speakers in the field of personality assessment. A great resource to expand your knowledge.

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How Therapeutic Assessment Works: Theory and Techniques - Presented by Stephen E. Finn, PhD. In this webinar, Dr. Stephen Finn, the main developer of Therapeutic Assessment, will explain the techniques of TA and how they relate to TA’s underlying theory of client change. This session is particularly suited to those who are new to TA, including graduate students, or who wish to deepen their understanding of its therapeutic mechanisms.

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