Measures in Psychoanalytics

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Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic approach. To test the psychoanalytic approach, several therapeutic tests should be used. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which is a projective psychological test, contains these tests. It assesses the thinking processes, behaviors, and emotional reaction of a person to vague research tools (Teglasi & Teglasi, 2010). The responses to the enigmatic images in the participants’ accounts reveal the fundamental intentions, apprehensions, and their outlook. TAT’s proponents are believed to be Henry Murray and Christina Morgan who first developed the concept in 1935 (Teglasi & Teglasi, 2010). In TAT, the ambiguous test materials entail a set of cards that depict figures of humans in diverse situations and settings. The subject is required to tell a story about the nature of each card including what is happening in the picture, the circumstances that led to it, the feelings and thoughts of the characters in the picture and the outcome of the event from the picture analysis. The TAT technique is an example of a projective instrument as it seeks to get a narrative from the subject concerning the set of cards containing the ambiguous materials which are to be analyzed. The TAT is usually administered as part of a group of tests that are used to evaluate personality. It elicits information regarding the individual’s attitudes and thoughts towards others and their worldview. The narratives that an individual tells about the pictures on the cards reveal their relationship expectations. The person administering the TAT technique can also analyze the tone, posture, hesitations, and manner in which the subject is telling the story (Teglasi & Teglasi, 2010). This technique can also be used to evaluate an individual’s progress during psychotherapy as it reveals the unconscious. Therefore, it enables the practitioner to assess the reasons why the specific treatment is not working and how best to address the issue.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological measure for personality and can also be used to assess the psychoanalytic approach. It was designed to enable the identification of personal, social, and behavioral problems in individuals under psychiatric care. It helps in problem identification, diagnosis, and planning of treatment for a client. The founders of the MMPI were Starke R. Hathaway and J.C McKinley in 1989 (Pick, 2015). The current version of the MMPI being used is MMPI 2. It is used for persons aged 18 and above. It has ten subtests and a total of 567 items in the format requiring true or false answers and takes about 60 to 90 minutes to finish (Nichols, 2011). It contains seven validity scales and ten clinical scales that are used in the score for measuring personality. To ensure the validity of a test the protocol of MMPI is not to interpret a test that includes 30 items which are missing (Pick, 2015). The test enables the researcher to establish neurobehavioral functions of the behavior that is under analysis. The high reliability and validity scored of approximately 0.86 affirm the choice of using it as a psychological measure in examining the patients under analysis (Nichols, 2011). The tests also have the potential to measure both the cognitive and behavior of the patients under analysis. The criticism that one may tend to have against the test is its dependency on a licensed psychiatrist or clinical psychologist to issue the test and the long list of items that a patient has to fill. Additionally, measuring and reporting on the psychological state of an individual may take about 2 hours 30 minutes, thus, relatively long (Nichols, 2011).


Nichols, D. S. (2011). Essentials of MMPI-2 Assessment. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

Pick, D. (2015). Psychoanalysis: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Teglasi, H., & Teglasi, H. (2010). Essentials of TAT and other storytelling assessments. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

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