Irving B. Weiner

Irving B. Weiner

Clinical Psychology, University of Michigan, 1959

Current Positions

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, University of South Florida

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

When I received my education and training, assessment was what most clinical psychologists did most of the time. I had a required three-semester sequence of assessment courses; I used the TAT in my dissertation research; my first publication (in 1959) was on the role of assessment in a university counseling center; and my first research publication (in 1961) was a cross-validation of Rorschach indicators of suicidal tendencies. Although I have become interested in and written about many other areas (psychotherapy, adolescence, developmental psychopathology, forensics), my interest in personality assessment has never waned. Personality assessment provides valuable insights into the nature of people and psychological disorders, and providing diagnostic consultation in the applied practice of personality assessment never ceases to be interesting, challenging, and professionally rewarding.

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 have been a retired faculty member but still a full-time psychologist since 1994. As a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences in the University of South Florida College of Medicine, I continue as an attending staff person to provide psychotherapy supervision and an occasional seminar in the psychiatry residency training program. I continue to give an occasional Rorschach workshop and provide case consultation to colleagues, devote much of my time to editing and writing, and participate actively in APA Division 5 and Division 12, in which I am on the Board of Directors as a Clinical Psychology representative on the APA Council of Representatives.

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

In March of 1976, when I was President-Elect, the Board met in New York and included some scientific presentations with its business. Based on the success of this arrangement, the Board decided to schedule a 2-day conference for the following year, with invited speakers, symposia and paper presentations, with the Society President serving as program chair. The first regular SPA meeting was held in March, 1977, in San Diego, and the second one followed in 1978, in Tampa. Planning and organizing these first two annual Society meetings was for me the highlight of my first term as President in 1976-1978. From my second term as President, 2005-2007, three memorable events come to mind. First, we changed our committee structure to increase membership involvement in Society governance. Previously, only Board members could serve on our committees. With the change, all Society members became eligible to serve on most committees, which many have done since then. Second, we established our student association, and SPAGS has become an integral and vibrant part of our Society. Third, the Rorschach White Paper, prepared by the Board and documenting the psychometric soundness of Rorschach assessment, was published in the October, 2005 issue of the Journal of Personality Assessment.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

It's 1971. I had published my first book, Psychodiagnosis in Schizophrenia, in 1966, and John Exner had published his first book, The Rorschach Systems, in 1969, and both of us had published articles in what was then the Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment. However, neither of us belonged to or had any particular interest in the Society at that time, nor did the Society have any apparent interest in us. Then in 1971 John and I gave our first Rorschach Workshop, and shortly after that the Society invited both us to join as Fellows. We each thought this would be a good thing to do and became active members in 1972. John became President in 1974, and I became President in 1976. The 1975 President was Carl Zimet, who recommended making the presidency a 2-year term. I then became the first 2-year President and served 1976-1978.

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?

Continued pursuit of a constructive balance between self-report and performance-based methods of assessment and between empirical and conceptual approaches to advancing knowledge.

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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 them what the best personality assessment convention is, and they will tell you it's the Annual Convention of the Society for Personality Assessment. In 2021, the convention is being brought to you. Make sure to register today!.

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