Professional Practice Guidelines for Personality Assessment

The Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) Practice Guidelines Task Force has created Professional Practice Guidelines to serve as an aid for "best practices" in personality assessment based upon established professional ethics and contemporary research evidence. Before the guidelines are submitted to the SPA Board of Trustees, the Task Force would like to receive comments from the assessment community. 

Comments and commenter names will be public, while email addresses used in the submission process will be kept confidential. Please revisit this webpage to see the current comments, which are updated on a weekly basis. 

All comments must be submitted by November 5, 11:59 p.m. (ET). Please fill out this form through this link or submit below to share you public comments. The task force will consider all comments received and make appropriate revisions, should they be deemed necessary prior to approval of the final version.



Comments as of 10/27/20

Filippo Aschieri: Great job in putting together such a useful and informative material on personality assessment. With the aim of providing a complete information about personality assessment, I suggest the task force to include a section on the use of personality assessment as a therapeutic intervention. Hence, I propose to add a paragraph on Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment. I guess that it could fit best in the section 4. SCOPE AND CONTEXTS.

Wilbur Nelson Jr.:  All comments pertain to Scope and Contexts section.

Paragraph on neuropsych evaluations makes it sound as if personality assessment is always one component of a full neuropsych evaluation; this is misleading, as I get many child/teen referrals for behavioral, emotional, and/or social issues, for which a stand alone personality assessment is indicated.

Many personality assessment requests are from colleagues treating outpatients and asking for diagnostic clarification and treatment recommendations; section makes it sound as if most referrals are from inpatient or medical settings.

I work with children and adolescents and get many referrals from school systems or parents of school age kids/teens.  Guidelines say nothing about these contexts and about role of personality assessment in helping with issues inside of and outside of school.

Most of all, I want to be sure that future readers and funders do not think that personality assessment is limited to medical, inpatient, and medical settings, and thus deny funding or not even consider personality assessment as an option.

Thank you for your hard work and consideration.

Justin Barry: First, I want to express appreciation for this effort, as well as the thoroughness of the document itself.  I also appreciate the emphasis that personality assessment is not a generalist ability; I believe it is essential we carve ourselves out to be specialists, both to protect quality and preserve reimbursement.  

Finally, most pressing on my mind in recent years has been how guidelines such as these intersect with real-life practice.  I believe many of these essential components require more quantification, as to prevent insurers from determining necessity on our behalf.  Records review is a prime example.  The APA guidelines (which focus on neuropsych examples) suggest 5 minutes; some insurers seem to think 0 time is needed.  How essential is this process?  What is the duration on average?  Should insurers be paying attention to years in treatment as a variable for medical necessity?  Do more thorough records reviews affect outcomes?  Interactive feedback sessions: APA guidelines suggest 60 minutes, which I believe is solid, and are we doing research about how single versus multiple (typically billed psychotherapy) feedback sessions impact outcomes?  Or what constitutes "interactive" to begin with?  Insofar as psychosocial backgrounds, what is the difference between 2 paragraphs versus 2 pages?  What is the standard and why?  Is a consolidated history of use to consumers/does it affect outcomes?  

These are probably somewhat grand and expansive curiosities, and perhaps may be beyond the intent of this document.  Still, they feel increasingly relevant insofar as preserving ethical and quality services in a world of managed care.  Once again, kudos on a robust and impressive document.

Join SPA!

Membership in SPA offers many benefits - Subscription to the Journal of Personality Assessment, Research, Advocacy, Interest Groups, Exchange Newsletter, Annual Convention and more!

Learn more

JPA Journal

Receive 6 Issues of the prestigious JPA Journal each year.

Interest Groups

Would you like to be more involved? Join an SPA Interest Group today - six groups to choose from!

Click Here to Learn More

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!.

More Information >>

Each April, candidates statements and a Ballot for electing new members to the Board of Trustees is made available to Members, Fellows, Life Members or Life Fellows by the Nominations and Elections Committee. The persons elected to the Board take office in September.

Vote now >>

Membership in SPA offers a great many benefits including a subscription to Journal of Personality Assessment, discounts to an energetic and information-rich Annual Convention, professional advocacy efforts, outstanding research efforts and the ability to demonstrate credibility. Pay your Annual Dues prior to December 31st.

Pay now >>

The Society for Personality Assessment YouTube channel offers full-length lectures from past annual conventions and expert speakers in the field of personality assessment. A great resource to expand your knowledge.

Watch now >>