Educational Psychological Examination to Foster Self-Understanding
Conducted by Dr. L. Schwartzburd
Prior to WW II clinical psychologists were pretty much limited to doing psychological testing and some clinical research. Psychological testing has emerged from its roots and had continued to develop in itself and into being a part of what is now a practice across a broad spectrum of clinical functions.
The evaluation process has developed greatly over the years, however it has not often been used as a clinical tool just between a psychologist and a person who has sought consultation not necessarily as a patient seeking relief from symptoms and to change underlying patterns that are causing them unhappiness but rather simply to enhance their self understanding. I have come to use it in that way, not to diagnose for the purpose of proffering diagnostic labels of questionable validity but rather to gain and explain an understanding in depth of an individual’s unique functional dynamics.
I use 9 clinical instruments, or 10 depending on whether physical pain is a part of the picture.
Five instruments are administered by myself face to face in a process that can take 4 to 5 hours. Unless pain is an issue 4 instruments are administered, analyzed and a report generated by computer. This can take 3 hours or more.
Any medical or other records the person seeking consultation wants to have considered are reviewed.
The face to face instruments used are the classical tests Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) the Weschsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-R) and two tests not as known to the general public. In my opinion the Rorschach is the gold standard and I studied it with Professor Samuel Beck at the University of Chicago. It was Professor Beck who brought the Rorschach to the United States in 1929 and who was the developer of the approach that all of the subsequent developers are based on. The WAIS IQ test is not used merely to get an IQ score but more to understand how the 11 areas of cognitive functioning measured interact with one another and the other levels of psychological functioning, (emotions, defense mechanisms, etc.)
The Computerized instruments are the MMPI, the MCMI, the Quick View Social History, the SCL 90-R (a symptom check list) and if pain is a factor the P-3, a very useful instrument because it’s normed on pain patients.
After all of this examination I sit with the consultee and explain the findings and how they are derived. Sometimes it develops that additional time is desired to deepen the understanding of the person seeking to increase their self understanding.
Depending on the consultee’s choice this can be a stand-alone process or evolve into a psychotherapy, in which case the process can be shortened significantly by the accelerated understanding initially generated.