Explore BrainMass

The use of personality tests in counseling settings

This solution offers a description of a situation in the field of counseling, that is not related to school or career counseling, in which a personality test would be appropriate to use during a counseling session. An explanation of a projective personality test that could be used will also be discussed as well as a rationale for using such tests. Finally, this solution will include an explanation of ethical, legal, and sociocultural issues that may arise when personality tests are used in the field of counseling.

Solution Preview

If a young client, for example between the ages of 3 to 6 years, is referred for counseling because of behavioral or emotional problems, it may be easier for a counselor to gain an accurate impression of a child's personality traits through the use of projective tests. While objective tests offer advantages such as straight forward scoring and interpretation procedures that are typically based on empirical research as well as factor analytic strategies, they are usually in the form of self-report questionnaires or inventories, which very young children may struggle with (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2009). In addition to account for a number of issues that can occur due to item response styles, counselors who use objective tests have to become well-versed in interpreting validity scales. Projective tests on the other hand, use a testing strategy that involves presenting test takers with an ambiguous stimulus and making inferences about their emotions, needs, experiences, etc., based on their responses (Kaplan & Saccuzzo, 2009).

The Children's Apperception Test (CAT), a parallel form of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a projective assessment that can be administered to children between the ages of 3 to 10. This test involves presenting examinees with 10-20 black and white picture cards and asking the test takers to create a verbal or written (pictorial) story about the scene that is depicted on each card. One of the benefits of the CAT and the TAT is its story-telling strategy which aims at revealing subconscious emotions children may not feel comfortable enough to discuss if they are directly asked about their feelings. The picture cards are designed to encourage children to construct stories that are related to illness, sibling rivalry, body image, and familial, teacher, and ...

Solution Summary

This solution will describe a situation in the counseling field in which the use of a personality test may be appropriate as well as a projective personality test that can be used in such settings.