J. Reid Meloy

J. Reid Meloy

Clinical Psychology, U.S. International University (now Alliant International University), 1981

Current Positions

Psychologist in Private Practice

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

My interest began in graduate training and courses taught by stellar people in the field. I was taught the Rorschach initially by Sid Smith, who was the chief psychologist at Menninger's, and the MMPI by attending trainings with Jim Butcher. Also attended trainings led by Ted Millon. My Rorschach interest intensified when I met Phil Erdberg, and began to train with him and John Exner in the relatively early days of the CS at private workshops. Trainings led by Irv Weiner also greatly influenced me. My psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic training also heavily influenced my understanding of personality and gave deeper meaning to empirical data.

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 corporation is all forensic consultation. I am retained by various legal entities (prosecutors, defense attorneys, courts, gov) to evaluate individuals and render psycholegal opinions. Most of my cases are complex and unusual criminal matters, and testing is either done directly, or we work to develop methods of indirect personality assessment. I also consult with the counterintelligence division of the FBI, and we utilize various measures of personality in our work. I do not do treatment, but also enjoy close work with the psychiatry department at UCSD and also psychoanalytic candidates at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute who are focused upon treatment.

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

Virtually every case is intriguing and different, often a true psychological investigation wherein the evidence (including testing) will take me down paths I never expected. I also enjoy consulting with my colleagues in the field and related disciplines.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I think SPA was mentioned at one of the Comprehensive System workshops years ago, and I was intrigued.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

It has been a great source of sustained relationships for many years.

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?

There must be strong advocacy for reimbursement for personality assessment, strong research to support such advocacy, and constant reminders to our colleagues that any one person we are evaluating is not just Axis I, but is a complex and whole person. We also need to invite David Brooks of the NY Times to one of our meetings as a guest speaker since he is quite interested in our discipline(s) and those related in the field of clinical psychology. Maybe he will mention us in a column.

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