Deborah J Tharinger

Deborah J Tharinger

School Psychology/Developmental Psychology/Educational Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, 1981

Current Positions

Professor, University of Texas at Austin. Independent Practitioner of Psychological Assessment and Psychotherapy

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

I enjoyed the training in graduate school and the practice with children; I began teaching a graduate course in Social/Emotional Assessment of Children and Adolescents, which encompassed personality assessment to some degree; I was introduced to Therapeutic Assessment through Dr. Stephen Finn; the interest has grown.

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 professor at the Univeristy of Texas within the School Psyhology Program--which, at the doctoral level, functions as a child/school/family program with broad theoretical integration. Within the program I teach Child Psychopathology, Social/Emotional Assessment (which includes aspects of Therapeutic Assessment), and Interpersonal Therapy. My research for the past 10 years has focused on the methods and efficacy of Therapeutic Assessment with chiIdren, adolescents and families. I also have a small private practice where I work with children, adolescents, families and adults. I also am a founding member of the Institute for Therapeutic Assessment in Austin, and through that group, provide training in TA with children and adolescents.

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

Helping graduate students integrate and practice a therapeutic model of assessment. Helping graduate students develop as interpersonal therapists. Guiding graduate students in creative research endeavors. Writing meaningful and useful articles and chapters that inspire.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I was introduced to APA through Dr. Stephen Finn.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

SPA has provided a national/international community of dedicated assessment psychologists and provided a welcome home for the exploration of therapeutic models of assessment. My career has been impacted by the colleagiality, shared interest, and opportunities to present and publish.

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?

To continue to develop and research assessment practices and models that meet the needs of consumers and improves their mental health and health needs. To continue to have an international focus.

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