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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This book is a layperson's guide to the MMPI-2. It is written in nontechnical language to help those who need to use the findings of the test (e.g., lawyers) but have not had psychological training. This is the second edition, the first being published in 1999.
Purpose: In the words of the author, "the second edition, [takes] a fresh look at new interpretive information and incorporate pertinent changes to this MMPI-2 textbook. Several types of development have occurred since the first edition—new scales have been added, some existing scales have had additional interpretive nuances provided, and research has clarified test use in several new areas of application. In this revised volume, I provides an updated perspective on contemporary MMPI-2 use and also incorporate additional case information to illustrate test usage. My goals include keeping this introduction to the MMPI-2 abreast of new developments and providing a sound introduction to the use of the MMPI-2 in a variety of settings"(p. vii). Those are very worthy objectives and the book definitely met the author's objectives.
Audience: According to the author, "as I began to see the task more clearly, as one of simply introducing the MMPI-2 to a nonprofessional audience, the idea began to have great appeal—why not an overview for nonpsychologists (physicians, attorneys, etc.) who want an easy and quick introduction and do not have time to invest in one of the available full texts on the topic? This book is different from others in that it assumes little in the way of a psychology background and presents all that is needed for a basic understanding of how the MMPI-2 works". I agree with the author regarding the target audience. However, I would add that graduate students in clinical psychology would benefit greatly from this volume in a course like objective personality assessment. Dr. Butcher presents the MMPI-2 in such an understandable way, which is needed when a student is just learning about the test. The author is a nationally renown expert in the MMPI-2. He has taught it for over 40 years. He is currently a professor emeritus in psychology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Butcher served on the committee which revised and re-standardized the MMPI. He has written many books and journal articles.
Features: The book begins with a history of the MMPI and tells how the second edition of the test evolved. Dr. Butcher then describes all the basics of the test including validity scales, basic clinical scales, content scales, and supplementary scales. He provides code-type interpretations and has a chapter on how to properly analyze the test. I really enjoyed the clinical case examples given in Chapter 8. However, there are many case examples scattered throughout the book. And finally, Chapter 9 explains how to document and communicate the results to clients. The book should be required reading for all students who are learning about diagnostics. I wish I had read this book while in graduate school because it is so easy to understand and contains all the basics to have a good initial grasp on the MMPI-2 test, one of the most widely researched psychological tests in the world.
Assessment: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It really delivers what it promises, a beginners guide to the MMPI-2. It has lots of information and Dr. Butcher has a keen ability to walk you through this complex material without getting lost. He is a master educator. I appreciated all the clinical examples, which helped enhance the learning process. There are certainly other good MMPI-2 books on the market but this one is probably one of the best in introducing the topic. The second edition justifies replacing the first because of all the research since 1999.