Steven Huprich

Steven Huprich

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Clinical Psychology, 1999

Current Positions

Professor of Psychology, Eastern Michigan University. Part-Time, Private Practice. Associate Editor - Journal of Personality Disorders

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

This really evolved over my graduate training and internship. I was not much of a fan of testing and assessment in graduate school, and thought my interests would take me more toward becoming a student of how to conduct effective and meaningful psychotherapy. In fact, as a graduate student, I became particularly unhappy with self-report instruments of personality disorders (e.g., SCID-II). Having administered over 100 of these, it seemed highly unrealistic to me that people could have 4-5 personality disorders, while others could have none and yet seemed to have significant issues with personality pathology. However, during my internship at the SUNY Health Science Center- Syracuse (now Upstate Medical University), I had several excellent assessment supervisors - Michael Gordon, Dennis Bogin, John Harkulich, and Anthony Blumetti. I was especially amazed how Drs. Bogin and Blumetti were able to come to highly informative, well-deduced conclusions about patients based upon their evaluation of the Rorschach profiles and histories. (And in the case of Dr. Blumetti, how he integrated neuropsychological and personality assessment!) These experiences led me to become particularly fascinated in the value of performance-based personality assessment. Thus, seeing excellent clinicians apply their skills of personality assessment, I became quite interested in how to do the same with my patients -- And, as a new faculty member, how to teach students to do the same thing. After my first SPA meeting, I was convinced that personality assessment was something I would study for some time to come.

What are the most interesting and/or meaningful aspects of your experiences as the editor for the society's journal?

Being selected as JPA Editor is a very deeply gratifying professional accomplishment. To be recognized by my peers as someone who has the knowledge and skill set to lead the journal and shape its contents over the next several years is a humbling and immensely satisfying opportunity. Succeeding Greg Meyer's editorship is no small task, and as I told the search committee in my application, I do not see myself as filling the "big shoes" that Greg leaves behind; rather, I would say mine are a different set of shoes and will make a different impression. I hope that the society will like the work that we do in the years to come. Having served in many editorial capacities already, one of the most interesting things about this role is how much I have learned as an editor and reviewer. I frequently find my intellectual curiosity being stimulated and my insight into this discipline ever expanding in these roles, which makes it especially enjoyable.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I met Dr. Sharon Jenkins my first year in Texas, as a new professor at Baylor University. Sharon started the North Texas Society for Personality Assessment, and I attended some of the workshops they sponsored. She invited me to join SPA, and the first meeting I attended was in San Antonio, Texas. However, a year earlier, I attended a Rorschach workshop put on by Tony Sciara and Barry Ritzler. That was a great experience that paved the way toward me settling into a professional, life-journey with SPA.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

I do not think I can fully articulate this. Most importantly, the supportive and collegial relationships that I developed through SPA have been crucial. The professional collaboration and friendships with Bob Bornstein and John Porcerelli have shaped my critical thinking and interests in this field. Sharon Jenkins did so much to encourage and support my work as a new faculty member, and quickly involved me in North Texas SPA. This allowed me to be immersed in the assessment field very rapidly and get to meet and learn from some exceptional personality assessors - Irving Weiner, Barry Ritzler, Ron Ganellen, Les Morey, and Drew Westen. SPA has also been a terrific organization where I could present my research to supportive and friendly crowds. I've come to know many of the members through our SPA meetings, and I have tremendous respect for their wisdom and expertise. Likewise, JPA has been an important outlet in which I could publish my work. I especially appreciate the support and efforts of Greg Meyer and his editorial staff in shaping my work---they have clearly made me a better researcher and scholar.

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?

I think we absolutely must demonstrate our clinical utility and the "value added" aspect of our skill set in the professional community for us to thrive in 2038. Most unfortunately, we live in a professional world where expediency and efficiency is valued over deliberation and integration. These values are cloaked in terms like "evidence-based" and "empirically supported." What is problematic about this is not the necessity of evidence-we must provide this; rather, it is that many discount portions of the evidence to create a reality that fits their world view, which in this case, is a reductionistic model of what it means to be a person. The unfortunate irony of this is that professional psychology does not seem particularly evidence-based in certain ways. Personality assessors tend to know better, and we must help renew our field's interest in the utility of personality assessment and the complex person behind our methods. While diagnostic efficiency is desired with our tools, we must help fellow professionals and the public at large to recognize that personality is both a meaningful and complex phenomenon, and assessing it expands our knowledge of the patient and his/her functioning. This is no small task and, in my mind, is the challenge of our specific discipline sustaining itself in the decades to come.

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