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Radhika Krishnamurthy

Radhika Krishnamurthy

Clinical Psychology, Virginia Consortium for Professional Psychology, 1994


Current Positions

Professor of Psychology, Florida Institute of Technology


How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

My conscious interest in personality and individual differences initially developed within my broader interest in psychology when I was in college, although the seeds were likely sown earlier in childhood and adolescent life experiences. However, there were two main shaping experiences that came later. My post-master's employment during the 1980s as a staff psychologist in a state hospital was at a time when we conducted routine personality testing, in fact, we administered test batteries for all patients admitted into the unit. I began to recognize the unique information obtained from testing and its relevance for the patients prognosis and treatment direction, and this awareness grew as my assessment skills sharpened with repeated practice. That work experience provided an excellent context for advanced learning when I returned to graduate school a few years later, enabling me to grasp the nuances and depths of personality with a new understanding and perspective through my personality assessment courses. I was fortunate to be selected by Dr. Robert Archer as his research assistant, which drew me into MMPI-A research and paved the way for conducting assessment-centered dissertation research with his guidance. These clinical and research experiences in personality assessment were the backdrop to my assessment-focused professional career.

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.

My academic position is centered on teaching, training, and research in personality assessment within the PsyD program at Florida Institute of Technology. I teach our programs sequence of three assessment courses - Intellectual Assessment, "Objective" (self-report) and "Projective" (performance-based) Personality Assessment courses, and oversee associated assessment labs designed for students to learn and practice standardized testing methods. Over these years I have also been a clinical supervisor for practicum students at our university-based outpatient community clinic, where I've emphasized the development of assessment skills; my practicum teams get to learn and apply therapeutic assessment methods. Students who work with me on their doctoral research projects conduct assessment-centered research, ranging from psychometric studies involving the MMPI-2 and MMPI-2-RF, Rorschach, PAI and PAI-A, MCMI-III, etc. to clinical applications with diverse adolescent and adult clinical samples. Outside of my academic position, I occasionally provide assessment-centered consultations to attorneys, and I participate on the editorial boards of three assessment journals including the Journal of Personality Assessment.

What are the most memorable aspects of your time as SPA President?

This has been an immensely fulfilling and gratifying role in such a broad-sweeping way that it's not easy to pick out specific instances that have stood out. I relish the bird's eye perspective it provides of the diverse assessment activities of our members and our shared goals and priorities. I felt the vibrancy of our 2012 annual meeting in a completely different way than before, an intensified attunement to the high quality of our colleagues' assessment work and to the laughter and fun shared during the social events; I'm sure I'll experience it again in 2013 and expect it'll be especially sweet in my later memories due to being the final meeting of my presidential term. I appreciate the dedicated work and collaborative spirit of the SPA board; we always seem to find a way to blend various perspectives into meaningful decisions and support each other in tackling difficult tasks. I have learned a lot about leadership and decision-making from this experience and I am proud of what we have jointly accomplished over these two years. In thinking over the preceding year and a half of my presidency, one experience that was especially pleasurable for me was my dinner in Chicago with past presidents Irv Weiner, Barry Ritzler, Sandy Russ, Len Handler, Virginia Brabender, Bob Erard and president-elect Ron Ganellen. That evening was replete with warmth and delightful conversation including reflections by past presidents on their presidencies, sharing of institutional memories and wisdom accrued from their experiences, and rueful look-backs with the power of hindsight of things that might have been done differently. I loved this coming together of past, present and future presidents! I was deeply moved and impressed by my predecessors' humility, perspective-taking, and encouragement. Now I have a picture of how I want to be in the future.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I came to know of SPA through Bob Archer when I was in graduate school. When I was working as his research assistant, Bob involved me in a paper he was developing on assessing adolescents with the MMPI and Rorschach, which was presented at the 1992 SPA conference in Washington DC. I came to that annual meeting, instantly 'found a home' at SPA, and have remained involved ever since.

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?

I am more convinced than ever that personality assessment should occupy a central position in clinical psychology. It represents the unique expertise we have compared to other mental health professionals and deserves such acknowledgment within our professional community and in the public sphere. I think our task over the next 25 years is to increase the visibility and relevance of personality assessment, both to clinical psychology and to society at large, through broadening the scope and depth of our work. We should help modify our professional culture by bringing the focus back from the symptom to the person by demonstrating the importance of personal risk and resilience factors in behavioral outcomes. We should take an active role in applying personality assessment toward the welfare of society, for example, in improving prediction, early detection, and prevention of mass violence. We can play a key role in the understanding of similarities and differences between people in the ever-changing ethnic demographic profile of our nation, thus promoting greater harmony and cooperation. Our future looks bright with exciting opportunities ahead.

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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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