Psychological Evaluation 101: What Are Projective Tests?

(If you want me to write about more types of psychological evaluations, please let me know!)

Projective tests are a type of personality assessment that uses ambiguous stimuli to get information about things you might not be consciously aware of. They can involve having you respond to images, create drawings, or say the first response that comes to your mind in response to a prompt.

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Some, like the Rorschach, have a scoring system that gives the evaluator norm-referenced information about you, but others involve interpreting patterns in your responses. There are websites that try to coach people to get certain results, but these tests have measures to identify if you are doing this, so it’s best to just be honest.

I like using projective drawing tasks with kids because it can give me insight into a child’s feelings about their family and the world around them that the child might not have the skills to tell me another way. I might have a child do a projective drawing as a therapeutic activity, but typically if I am completing a psychological evaluation, I will not rely only on projective tests.

Because they are ambiguous, projective tests can seem intimidating, but if you give honest answers, you can get some interesting insight into your personality and your mental health.

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. She completed her internship at the National Psychology Training Consortium with specializations in assessment and rural mental health. Currently, she specializes in trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming care, and she is certified in telemental health. Dr. Marschall runs a private practice, RMH Therapy, where she provides individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments across the lifespan. Dr. Amy Marschall is an author and professional speaker.

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