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. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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