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John Kurtz

John Kurtz

Clinical Psychology, Vanderbilt University, 1994


Current Positions

Professor of Psychology, Villanova University


How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

I realized my interest when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley. I took a course on measurement with Bill Meredith. We were required to write a term paper on some psychological test. I chose Gough's California Psychological Inventory (CPI) and somewhere deep into the assignment, I thought to myself "this isn't work; this is fun".

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 a university professor. I teach courses in introductory psychology, personality theory, and clinical psychology. I also teach a course in psychological testing and supervise theses in our Master's program. I direct a research program with much help from a team of graduate and undergraduate students. There is a great deal of advising and other service to the department and university. I have done some clinical and consulting work, but academia leaves very little spare time.

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

I like working with young adults. It is fun to see students get excited about psychology. The most basic principles can be very eye-opening the first time they are encountered. The most gratifying thing is knowing I was part of someone's path to discovering that he or she wants to become a psychologist.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

During my first year of graduate school, my advisor Les Morey talked about SPA and then attended the annual meeting. By that point, joining SPA seemed like the logical thing for me to do. I did not join APA until five years later.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

I have had the opportunity to meet and work with so many great psychologists. Their impact on my ideas and viewpoint would be impossible to estimate. The greatest benefit is the warmth, collegiality, and support of this community of smart and sensitive people.

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?

We must resist being content with the status quo, with the popular or familiar, and with what we were taught or trained in during our formative years. We have to keep striving to make better tests and do better research. I am sure personality assessment can benefit society, but it must remain progressive to realize its potential and answer to its detractors.

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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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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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