Chapter 8 Text Notes.docx

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CHAPTER 8
PSYCHODYNAMIC APPLICATIONS AND PROCESSES
APPLICATIONS TO PERSONALITY ASSESSMENT
Goal of psychotherapy is to help the person reveal unconscious motives
The core beneath the mask
A person's overt actions across seemingly similar situations often seem inconsistent - these inconsistencies are superficial though because there are underlying
motives that drove the person consistently over years
Basic motives are consistent, but their overt behaviours are disguised across situations
Relying on the clinician
Psychodynamic interpretation of a person's behaviour depend more on the clinician's intuitions than on tests
The merit of such assessments depends on two things:
1. The evidence supporting the techniques upon which the psychologist relies
2. The value of clinical judgement itself
Projective methods
Main characteristic is the open-ended way in which the testing situation is usually structured
The purpose of the test is usually disguised and the person is given freedom to respond in any way that he or she likes
Psychoanalytically oriented assessors favour projective techniques because they assume that the "unconscious inner life" is at least partially "projected" and revealed
in responses to the ambiguous projective test situation
Two projective techniques: Rorschach and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
Still remain the most commonly used personality assessment procedures, even though they have problems:
Both the reliability and the validity of the Rorschach have been heavily disputed
No evidence that the findings reflected the person's unconscious mental states
The Rorschach
Consists of a series of inkblots on 10 separate cards
The individual is instructed to look at it and say everything that the inkblot could resemble or look like
Examiner inquires into the details of the person's interpretation of each blot
Thematic apperception test (TAT)
Examined the person's fantasies as revealed by stories told to a set of pictures
Consists of a series of pictures and one blank card
Asked to describe what is happening in each picture
Recurring themes are believed to underlie that person's underlying needs
Applying psychodynamic clinical inferences to Gary W.:
The psychological report done on Gary -- now, most clinicians would choose to integrate theories from all levels of analysis to understand an individual
MURRAY, THE HARVARD PERSONOLOGISTS, AND HIGHER MOTIVES
Harvard personologists -
provided a new model called
personology
for the intensive psychodynamic study of individual lives, and devoted itself to the portrayal of persons in
depth
Murray, White, and their other Harvard colleagues
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Influenced by Freud
Their students went on to study human motives that are useful for understanding the goals that different people enduringly pursue with varying degrees of
intensity
Studying lives in depth
They focused on intensive long-term studies of relatively small samples of people
Exploration in Personality
Examples of topics included in the study of lives by the Harvard psychologists:
Personal history
Family relations and childhood memories
Sexual development
Present dilemmas
Abilities and interests
Aesthetic preferences
Level of aspiration
Ethical standards
Imaginal productivity
Musical reveries
Dramatic productions
Assessment strategy: Diagnostic council
The assessors formed their impressions of the person from performance on various projective and objective tests, the autobiography and total personal history, and
reactions to thorough interviews
They pooled their individual impressions at a "diagnostic council" -- a case conference
They inferred basic needs, motives, conflicts, and dynamics; attitudes and values; and main character strengths and liabilities
Global psychodynamic assessment
: personality --> test behaviour (rorschach, TAT, interview) --> clinician's inferences regarding personality --> prediction of
person's future behaviour
Higher-order motives
The motives that the Murray group identified are called
higher-order motives
-- they don't involve specific physiological changes
Instead, they are psychological desires for particular goals or outcomes that the person values
Murray believes that motives do not operate regardless of the context or situation and its pressures, which he called
environmental presses
He developed observational techniques to asses these presses and take them into account
IN FOCUS 8.2 -
Selecting U.S. Spies: The OSS Assessment Project
Situational test -
participants were required to perform stressful, lifelike tasks under extremely difficult conditions
Clinicians made deep inferences, based on the behaviour observed during the task, about each person's underlying personality
Competence motivation
Competence motivation -
a desire for mastery of a task for its own sake and may apply to such diverse tasks as running, piano playing, juggling, chess, or
the mastery of a new surgical procedure
Not derived from biological drives -- do it for the sake of the activity, not for any external award
Need for achievement
Need for achievement -
competition with a standard of excellence
Examined fantasies from stories told on the TAT by systematically scoring the occurrence of achievement imagery in the stories
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