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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This discussion of the various elements involved in psychological assessments emphasizes the analysis of personality, especially anxiety. Previous editions were published in 1997, 1991, and 1981.
Purpose: According to the authors, "this handbook is designed to offer psychology students, as well as professional psychologists, a central resource for the construction and organization of psychological test reports." Its aim is "to help the reader conceptualize the theory of psychological report development by carefully examining the analysis of personality and the logic of effectively communicating such psychological phenomena in the report."
Audience: Psychology students and professional psychologists are the intended audience.
Features: The book presents a step-by-step approach to organizing and writing psychological reports, beginning with the referral question. The authors continue with the clinical interview and give some insight on intellectual functioning. However, as the subtitle suggests, the book emphasizes personality functioning, especially how anxiety influences personality structure, emotional control, and behavior. It deals extensively with defensive functioning and interpersonal behavior and ends with diagnosis and prognosis. The authors teach readers how to incorporate the most important elements of human functioning so the report can communicate clearly and effectively. The chapters are arranged fairly uniformly with summary tables and a summary narrative at the end of each. These tables are very informative and help to bring the material together. The CODA at the end of the book is helpful in providing tips for overcoming difficulties in report writing. In addition, numerous listings of recommended readings refer to specific sections of the report. This book encourages assessing client strengths as well as pathology. It is written from a psychodynamic and/or psychoanalytic standpoint, especially the role of anxiety in personality, and readers from other theoretical persuasions may be slightly disappointed. By design, there are no sample reports, but sample reports would be of great benefit to graduate students or young professionals in the field. Discussion of psychological reports without any examples of narrative is a significant drawback. The lack of references seems odd.
Assessment: This book is helpful for graduate psychology students and young professionals learning how to write good psychological reports, especially the personality section which always is the most difficult to formulate. It is appealing to those who embrace a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic theoretical persuasion. The authors note the need for this update because it "covers the newer elements in the development of nomenclature, including the emerging interest in borderline and narcissistic pathologies, the latest revision of the DSM, and references to the latest versions of the classic intelligence tests for children and adults." Since so many things have transpired since 1997 in terms of research and clinical practice, the fourth edition is justified.