Psychological Exam

Psychological tests are given by default in many custody evaluations.  This is done in order to assess each parent’s mental and emotional health, as well as to identify any possible abnormal psychological conditions such as personality disorders (like Anti-Social, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic to name a few).  The most common test by far is the MMPI-2 (which I took in addition to the Rorshach Ink-Blot test).  Sometimes, the MMPI-2 is used in conjunction with others such as the MCMI-III and the Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank tests.  These are used to confirm the MMPI-2 results.

Despite the wide variety of psychological tests available to clinicians, ALL are subject to “interpretation” by the individual professional.  Along with those interpretations comes the individual’s biases and, of course, the results will be the combination of your answers to questions (or situations) combined with an individual’s “interpretation” of your answers.

The following is a list of summaries of other psychological testing that may be used in conjunction with a custody evaluation (in no particular order):

HTP (House – Tree – Person Projective Drawing Technique) – Designed to aid clinician in obtaining information concerning an individual’s sensitivity, maturity, flexibility, efficiency, degree of personality integration, and interaction with the environment. Subject is asked to draw pictures of a house, a tree, and a person. Subject is given an opportunity to explain the drawings.

MCMI-III™ (Millon™ Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III) – The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III instrument is a self-report instrument designed to help the clinician assess DSM-IV-related personality disorders and clinical syndromes. A significant revision of the MCMI-IITM instrument, this instrument incorporates new items, a new item-weighting system, and new scales to provide insight into 14 personality disorders and 10 clinical syndromes.

PPCP (Parent Perception of Child Profile) – The PPCP elicits an extensive portrait of a parent’s knowledge and understanding of a specific child. It helps the Evaluator assess the degree to which a parent’s perception: (1) are accurate; (2) compare to other sources; (3) reflect genuine interest in a child. The PPCP also assesses the irritability potential of a parent towards a specific child. The Parent Perception of Child Profile offers a parent an opportunity to express what he or she knows about a particular child in a wide variety of important life areas.

MACI™ (Millon™ Adolescent Clinical Inventory) – The Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory instrument is a brief self-report personality inventory with a strong clinical focus. Evolving from the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (MAPI™) instrument, the MACI instrument was designed with a more focused normative sample consisting of adolescents in various clinical treatment settings. Through a series of contemporary questions, it helps the clinician assess an adolescent’s personality, along with self-reported concerns and clinical syndromes.

PASS (Parent Awareness Skills Survey) – The Parent Awareness Skills Survey reflects the sensitivity and effectiveness with which a parent responds to typical childcare situations.

MAPI™ (Millon™ Adolescent Personality Inventory) – The Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (MAPI) instrument is a brief self-report inventory designed specifically for assessing adolescent personality characteristics including coping styles, expressed concerns, and behavioral patterns. The MAPI instrument was normed on both normal adolescents and adolescent patients.

PORT (Perception-of-Relationships Test) – The Perception-of-Relationships Test measures how close a child feels to each parent, and the positive and negative impacts of each relationship. Typically used on children age 3 years, 2 months and up.

MBHI™ (Millon™ Behavioral Health Inventory) – The Millon Behavioral Health Inventory instrument is a brief self-report personality inventory designed to help the clinician assess the psychological coping factors related to the physical health care of adult medical patients. The MBHI instrument provides valuable information about the patient’s style of coping and the patient’s perceptions of the kinds of stress that may be affecting his or her medical condition.

BPS (Bricklin Perceptual Scales) – A research-based custody test which measures a child’s perceptions of each parent in four critical areas: competency, supportiveness, consistency, and admirable traits. Typically used on children age 6 and up.

DPRS® (Derogatis Psychiatric Rating Scale) – The Derogatis Psychiatric Rating Scale (DPRS) instrument, formerly known as the Hopkins Psychiatric Rating Scale, is a multidimensional psychiatric rating scale provided by NCS. The DPRS was designed for use with the SCL-90-R® instrument or BSI® self-report instruments. It is often used to validate patients’ self-reports.

CPI (California Personality Inventory) – CPI (California Personality Inventory) was designed to assess normal characteristics in healthy individuals and personality characteristcs important in daily living. The CPI looks like the MMPI (many multiple choice items), but the scales are quite different (Masculinity/Femininity, Dominance, Introverted/Extroverted, etc.). Like the MMPI, the CPI produces a personality profile of the individual on each of the scales in the test.

MMPI-2TM (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2TM) – The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) instrument, the restandardized version of the original MMPI® instrument, is an empirically-based assessment of adult psychopathology. The MMPI-2 instrument, provided by NCS, is the standard that mental health professionals use to help measure psychopathology across a broad range of client settings. The MMPI-2 instrument is used by clinicians in hospitals, clinics, counseling programs, and private practice to assist with the diagnosis of mental disorders and the selection of an appropriate treatment method.

TAT (Thematic Aperception Test) – The Thematic Aperception Test assesses personality through projective technique focusing on dominant drives, emotions, sentiments, complexes, attitudes and conflicts. The subject is shown pictures one at a time and asked to make up a story about each picture.

QOLI® (Quality of Life Inventory) – The QOLI assessment can help clinicians assess problems in living in 16 areas of life for an individual and the degree to which the individual is satisfied or dissatisfied with each area in his or her own life. The assessment also includes an overall score. Assessment Areas: health, self-esteem, goals and values, money, work, play, learning, creativity, helping, love, friends, children, relatives, home, neighborhood, community.

The Rorshcach Inkblot Test – A very controversial test used to try to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. The Rorschach is currently the second most commonly used test in forensic assessment, after the MMPI, and has been employed in diagnosing underlying thought disorder and differentiating psychotic from non-psychotic thinking in cases where the patient is reluctant to openly admit to psychotic thinking.  After reading a lot about all of these tests – this one is at the top of the list of controversial ones and, from everything I’ve read, on you should refuse to take as part of any custody evaluation.

A simple search of the internet on any one of these tests will yield much more detail and additional information regarding the application of each.

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