Odile Husain

Odile Husain

Clinical Psychology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 1992

Current Positions

Psychologist in Private Practice

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

Luckily, the professor of projective methods retired as I ended my third year of studies and her replacement (Frieda Rossel) came, with her cigarettes, her Rorschach cards, her videos and her protocols. No two protocols were the same, the diversity was just amazing.

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 private practice combines both psychodynamic psychotherapy and assessment. I also spend much of my time supervising assessments and teaching projective methods. In the last 18 years, my endeavour has been to ensure that the field of assessment with projective methods stays alive and well, in spite of all the threats (both at the academic and the institutional level). Today the Institute of Projective Psychology offers the only specialized programme in projective methods in the Province of Quebec, Canada.

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

Psychotherapy is always interesting but assessment is truly exciting. For me, the most meaningful aspects of assessment are: to work with patients towards new ways of understanding their complaints, to work with students and professionals towards the discovery of the unique richness of these tools.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I joined SPA because of some very special people I met. At the Barcelona Congress of the International Society for the Rorschach and Projective Methods, in 1984, I met the late Dr. Paul Lerner who introduced me to some of his most interesting work on borderlines (by the way, I will never forget his laughter!) and in 1990, at the Paris Congress, I met Dr. Bruce Smith, who strongly encouraged me to join SPA since I was now a North-American resident. I had moved to Canada in 1989. I attended my first SPA meeting in New Orleans in 1991.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

SPA has been and still is the ideal setting for furthering my knowledge in the field. Apart from the continuing education goal it fulfills, it also represents a unique "family" of passionate professionals. Our yearly meeting is an absolute must!

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?

Although the family of personality assessment specialists keeps on expanding, the field itself is constantly under attack. In many countries, training in projective methods at the university is quasi disappearing and students have no knowledge of the field or they are armed to the teeth with prejudices and falsehoods. In addition, many institutions have relentlessly discouraged their professionals from using assessment methods such as projective tests. National societies centered around personality assessment need to constantly create opportunities for professionals to discover the field, train then defend a fundamental expertise which must never fall into oblivion.

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