Corresponding Author Information: Katherine M. Thomas

Session Abstract: A growing body of research identifies how between-person and within-person approaches to assessment ask and answer different types of questions. Clinically, we are often interested in knowing both how clients compare to others, and also how clients compare to themselves over time and across contexts. Despite the rise of clinically relevant research on within-person processes, fairly few bridges have been built between this research and clinical practice. In this symposium we highlight how within-person therapeutic assessment can be used to better understand our clients and intervene on their problems in living.

Dr. Thomas will discuss a therapy patient, Amy, she saw for two and half years. Mid therapy they conducted a targeted assessment to better understand the interplay between some of her behaviors, urges, and emotions, with a particular focus on assessing emotions related to self-harm and thoughts of suicide. After completing a daily diary for over 100 days, they learned more about the emotional cues that corresponded to Amy's urges to self-harm, which helped them better intervene when these emotions arose.

Dr. Finn will discuss a client, Maria, aged 44, who suffered from chronic pelvic pain for 4 years, and had found no relief after many medical interventions. Maria angrily asserted that emotional and psychological factors played no role at all in her pain. However, during her Therapeutic Assessment she agreed to do daily ratings of her pain and other emotional variables she helped select. These ratings helped Maria and Dr. Finn understand her pain better, which led to eventual effective interventions.

Dr. Lewis will present on a young man, David, who enrolled in long-term residential treatment following years of chronic depression and multiple near-lethal suicide attempts. David observed in treatment that he most frequently felt suicidal on days that seemed totally ordinary, which often amplified persistent feelings of hopelessness and nihilism. In the context of a multimethod assessment that included daily experience sampling ratings of interpersonal perceptions and affect, situational features related to emotional intimacy and burdensomeness were found to relate to David's momentary suicidal thoughts, highlighting a specific risk dynamic that was otherwise difficult for him to articulate in treatment.

Our discussant, Dr. Hopwood, will talk about how repeated measurement is a natural fit for a technique designed to use psychological assessment to help people change relatively quickly. As the availability of clinically friendly approaches increases, incorporating them into Therapeutic Assessment is a natural and productive direction to take.

Chair Information: Katherine M. Thomas | Center for Therapeutic Assessment, Austin, TX

Discussant Information: Christopher J. Hopwood | University of California, Davis; Davis, CA

Presentation 1 Title: Assessing a Client's Urges to Self-Harm Using Repeated Daily Ratings


Katherine M. Thomas | Center for Therapeutic Assessment, Austin, TX

Presentation 2 Title: When Hurt Becomes Suffering: Using Repeated Measures to Understand Chronic Physical and Emotional Pain


Stephen E. Finn | Center for Therapeutic Assessment, Austin, TX

Presentation 3 Title: Dynamic Relational Factors Affecting Self-Destructive Impulses in Daily Life


Katie C. Lewis | Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, MA

Dr. ThomasDr. Katherine M. Thomas

Dr. Thomas is a clinical psychologist practicing at the Center for Therapeutic Assessment in Austin, TX. She has published over 50 articles and chapters, focusing most of her research on assessing the structure and dynamics of personality, especially in relationships, and ascertaining clinical applications of personality assessment. She is a former Associated Editor of the Journal of Personality Assessment. In 2015, she was named a Rising Star by the Association for Research in Personality.

Headshot of Dr. Hopwood

Dr. Christopher Hopwood

Dr. Hopwood is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, Associate Editor at the Journal of Personality Assessment, former Board Member for the Society for Personality Assessment, and editor (with Mark Waugh and Abby Mulay) of The DSM-5 Alternative Model for Personality Disorders: Integrating Multiple Paradigms of Personality Assessment, and (with Mark Waugh) Personality Assessment Paradigms and Methods: A collaborative reassessment of Madeline G.

Dr. FinnDr. Stephen E. Finn

Stephen E. Finn, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Therapeutic Assessment, is a licensed clinical psychologist in practice in Austin, Texas, USA, a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, Senior Researcher and Director of Training at the European Center for Therapeutic Assessment at Catholic University of Milan, Italy, and Director of Training at the Asian-Pacific Center for Therapeutic Assessment in Tokyo, Japan. He has published 90+ articles and chapters on psychological assessment, psychotherapy, and other topics in clinical psychology, and is the author of In Our Clients’ Shoes: Theory and Techniques of Therapeutic Assessment (Erlbaum, 2007) and A Manual for Using the MMPI-2 as a Therapeutic Intervention (1996, University of Minnesota Press). Dr. Finn also co-edited, with Constance Fischer and Leonard Handler, Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment: A Casebook and Guide (Wiley, 2012). In 2011 Dr. Finn was awarded the Bruno Klopfer Award from SPA for distinguished lifetime contributions to the field of personality assessment. In August 2017 he received the award for Distinguished Contributions to Assessment Psychology from Section IX (Assessment) of the Society for Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of APA). In 2018 he received the Carl Rogers Award for an outstanding contribution to theory and practice of humanistic psychology from the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of APA).

Dr. LewisDr. Katie C. Lewis

Katie C. Lewis, PhD is a staff research psychologist and medical staff member at the Austen Riggs Center. Her research examines personality processes in adults diagnosed with complex psychopathology through a psychoanalytic lens using experience sampling methodology. Dr. Lewis received a doctorate in clinical psychology (PhD) from the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. She is a former graduate student representative on the Ethics Board of Division 39 and former Fellow of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). Her research has received funding support from the Robert Wallerstein Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Research, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Division 39 Fund for Psychoanalysis, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She has published and presented on a wide range of topics including suicide and self-harming behaviors, personality psychopathology and assessment, and the ethics of confidentiality in clinical writing. She currently serves as a Consulting Editor and Special Section Editor (Clinical Applications and Case Studies) for the Journal of Personality Assessment, and as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

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