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Jim Kleiger

Jim Kleiger

Clinical Psychology, University of Denver School of Professional Psychology, 1980


Current Positions

President, James Kleiger, PC. Private Practice of Clinical Psychology


How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

One of my fondest memories was learning about personality assessment from Dr. Nelson Jones, my Program Director and clinical supervisor at DU. I was lucky enough to have had a field placement at a setting that valued personality assessment. There, I learned about a broad range of testing instruments and was eventually mentored on a major research project to derive an alexithymic scale from the MMPI. It was Nelson Jones who introduced me to SPA in the early 1980's. I also had the exceptionally good fortune to do an internship with Dr. Donald Viglione, whose passion for the Rorschach helped ignite my own and served as the basis for 30 years of laughter and friendship. However, the event that most shaped my identity as a psychodiagnostician was my fellowship at the Menninger Clinic and my subsequent role there as Director of Postdoctoral Training. There, I was exposed to the rich tradition of psychological assessment that had evolved at Menninger over the past 50 years. I had many wonderful teachers and later students, who served as role models. Here, I include Marty Leichtman, Lisa Lewis, Bob Athey, Mary Jo Peebles, Sid Frieswyk, Arnold Schneider, and the dear Mary Cerney. Many others served as my teachers in absentia, as I have continued to read and studied their classical works

Tell us about your current job. We are interested in hearing about the different things that people do who work in the area of personality assessment.

I am most fortunate that in this day of managed mental health care, I enjoy a rich and diverse assessment practice. I have an independent practice with a mix of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and psychological testing. My assessment work involves children, adolescents, and young adults who are referred by other clinicians, school, educational consultants, or by word of mouth from former patients. I enjoy the ever surprising, never boring challenges that assessment brings. Each case deepens and stretches my understanding of how to capture the whole person and to use the data to help weave together a narrative about the interaction of cognitive processing, learning, emotional functioning, thinking, self experience, and relational capacities.

What are the most interesting and/or meaningful aspects of your job?

I enjoy, and sometimes feel imprisoned by, the process of carefully analyzing testing data, looking for meaningful patterns that capture something unique about a person, and finding ways to express this understanding in clear language. Meeting with patients or parents to talk about the testing and explain my findings in ways that they can understand is often an energizing experience that I value greatly.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

As mentioned above, I learned about SPA from my graduate school mentor Nelson Jones. I cemented my involvement during my fellowship years at Menninger, where several supervisors went on to serve as officers in SPA.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

First, are the people. Second, are the people. This is an organization filled with kindred spirits who love teaching and learning about testing. They view assessment as an intergral part of the psychologist's identity. SPA is a broad tent that encourages those with similar interest to come together to work on joint projects. I have met many who I have learned from, as I have attended their workshops and paper presentations. Invitations to write or present have also come my way as a result of my personal contacts with members of SPA.

As we look forward to SPA's 100th anniversary in 2038, what do you think is important in order for the field of personality assessment to thrive and to benefit others?

First, we should all encourage our students and colleagues to learn about SPA and better yet, to experience what it is like to attend a Midwinter meeting. Infecting others with a passion about testing is the best way to preserve the field. Secondly, we should continue to teach, write, do research, and mentor younger psychologists. If present trends continue, less will taught about assessment in graduate programs and more will be learned through an apprenticeship model.

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Membership in SPA offers many benefits - Subscription to the Journal of Personality Assessment, Research, Advocacy, Interest Groups, Exchange Newsletter, Annual Convention and more!

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JPA Journal

Receive 6 Issues of the prestigious JPA Journal each year.

Proficiency

The American Psychological Association (APA) officially recognizes Personality Assessment as a Proficiency in Professional Psychology. SPA has taken lead role in developing and implementing Personality Assessment Proficiency

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Ask your favorite personality assessor what the biggest personality assessment convention is, and he/she will tell you it's the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment. Ask him/her what the best personality assessment convention is, and he/she will tell you it's the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment, held every March in a different city.

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Each April, candidates statements and a Ballot for electing new members to the Board of Trustees is made available to Members, Fellows, Life Members or Life Fellows by the Nominations and Elections Committee. The persons elected to the Board take office in September.

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The Society for Personality Assessment YouTube channel offers full-length lectures from past annual conventions and expert speakers in the field of personality assessment. A great resource to expand your knowledge.

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How Therapeutic Assessment Works: Theory and Techniques - Presented by Stephen E. Finn, PhD. In this webinar, Dr. Stephen Finn, the main developer of Therapeutic Assessment, will explain the techniques of TA and how they relate to TA’s underlying theory of client change. This session is particularly suited to those who are new to TA, including graduate students, or who wish to deepen their understanding of its therapeutic mechanisms.

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