March 1, 2013

Proficiency in Personality Assessment: A Student-Friendly Guide

By Christy Denckla, M.A.

Derner graduates are early career psychologists who enter the job market with a rich background in psychological and personality assessment. This is an area of expertise that the APA has recently acknowledged as a specialty, which exceeds general training in assessment because it formally recognized personality assessment as a proficiency in 2010. This means that personality assessment is now identified as a professional specialty defined by a core set of psychological knowledge and skills, much like neuropsychological or forensic assessment.

As students, we can be aware that the path to proficiency begins in our graduate training with our formal coursework and practicum experiences. We continue to develop the skills that will leave us eligible to apply for proficiency during internship and postdoctoraltraining. Among the core skills expected to demonstrate proficiency include the ability to integrate assessment data from three different domains (self-report, clinical interview, and performance-based data). 

The Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) has taken a leadership role in developing the application process and standards for proficiency. According to Dr. Mark Blais, Chair of the Proficiency Committee at SPA, the most important thing that students should know about the proficiency process is that we should track all testing hours acquired during our graduate training to include our coursework, tests administered, the type of test, client characteristics, and who our supervisor was. For those students interested in ultimately applying for proficiency in personality assessment, the path begins right now! If you would like to learn more, please refer to Dr. Blais’s column in the The Exchange, SPA’s biannual newsletter. Also, the Graduate Student Association of SPA (SPAGS) will be an ongoing resource for students.

Published Spring 2013 in Day Residue the Derner Institute Doctoral Student Newsletter
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