Sandra Russ

Sandra Russ

Clinical Child Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 1970

Current Positions

Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

I became interested in personality assessment when I was working at the Arapahoe Community Mental Health Center in Denver. I discovered Exner's system and found it very useful in evaluating children. Then I spent 4 years at Washington University Child Guidance Center where I received excellent supervison on projective tests from Loretta Cass.

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 teach projective methods of assessment to graduate students. I also carry-out research with the Affect in Play Scale- a method of assessing pretend play in children. I teach undergraduate courses in the area of creativity. And I do a lot of writing articles and books that focus on play, therapy, and creativity.

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

I loved the Board meetings and the people on the Board. A great memory is co-leading discussion forums - kind of Town Meetings - with Steve Finn at SPA meetings. We wanted to hear the issues that were important to the members and be more responsive to the membership. We also had some talent shows at the meetings- which were fun while they lasted. One of the most important things that happened on my watch was the editor search for JPA. That was an important process. Len Handler headed the selection committee. It was essential to have a successful search and we did. Greg Meyer was appointed editor. My memories of the time I was President really flow back to the earlier years that I was on the Board. Working with people like Mary Cerney and Paul Lerner was such a meaningful experience for me. Dinner with Connie Fischer was always memorable. There is a whole stream of wonderful people whose leadership kept SPA moving forward and growing.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I learned about SPA from Irv Weiner. He was chair of the department of Psychology when I joined the faculty at Case. I was teaching personality assessment and was interested in developing a research program on the Rorschach and creativity. My first SPA meeting in Phoenix in 1977 was a wonderful introduction to the people and research in the field.

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?

Keep the journal strong. Find ways to make personality assessment crucial for treatment planning and for evaluating treatment effectiveness. Keep the mid-winter meetings a place where students and early career psychologists feel welcomed to the profession and mentored. Foster cross-cultural studies of personality assessment.

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