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What is "About Assessment?"

August 2011

Psychologists have been developing means of assessing individuals since the beginning of the profession. Although psychological testing (which is only a part of assessment) began with attempts to evaluate and categorize intelligence and the capacity to learn, today's psychologists assess a wide range of human functioning to assist psychotherapists and psychiatrists better plan treatment interventions, courts to make determinations about matters such as child custody, criminal responsibility, or psychological damage as a result of harassment or discrimination, schools and other institutions plan for the most effective learning or rehabilitation programs. In recent years, there has been developed a procedure known as Therapeutic Assessment, in which personality assessment coupled with structured feedback is used as a mode of psychological treatment in and of itself.

Psychologists have developed structured, test-based methods of assessment, because we have found that these are more objective and efficient ways of gathering and integrating information and, thus, answering clinical questions, then relying upon interviews alone. At the same time, the process of assessment can appear mysterious-even occult-to the general public, and there is considerable misinformation abroad. In the coming months, this blog will be offering information about assessment for both mental health professionals and interested non-professionals. We urge you to check back often. Please, also, feel free to leave a comment about what kind of information you would like us to cover.

The Society for Personality Assessment is an international learned society dedicated to the advancement of research and practice in the area of personality assessment. We view it as our mission to advance the field for the benefit of mental health professionals and the public at large.