Session Abstract: When Bruce Smith passed away in September 2020, we lost a friend and colleague as well as a worthy and influential elder in the personality assessment community. Since his passing, much has been said about Bruce as a teacher, mentor, and consummate contributor to advancement of personality assessment and the Rorschach. In this symposium, we honor another area of his notable contributions- his scholarly and research work. Among his over 60 publications, Bruce authored a book on Winnicott as well as many book chapters and journal articles on diverse subjects and with a diverse group of international collaborators. Bruce was a valued symposium discussant who regularly brought intellectual clarity and lively, and novel perspective to others’ work. In his collaborations with others, he brought a deep understanding and realness to the potential space in these relationships. To keep Bruce alive within us all, 4 close friends and colleagues will each discuss one of Bruce’s articles that has had special meaning to them, both to honor Bruce and further his intellectual work.
Chair and Discussant Information: F Barton Evans, PhD | East Tennessee State University
Presentation 1 Title: Inspirations from the classics for contemporary teaching and learning: Reaching new generations in personality assessment training
Presentation 1 Abstract: This presentation will discuss Bruce’s reach in teaching and training graduate students in personality assessment, derived from his 1993 paper, “Psychological tests don’t think: An appreciation of Schafer’s psychoanalytic interpretation in Rorschach testing.” I will describe how I used this paper in a directed readings seminar on psychodynamic theories and applications with advanced graduate students to spark their interest in Schafer’s writings and strengthen their attunement to well-rounded assessment and conceptualization.
Radhika Krishnamurthy, PsyD, ABAP | Florida Institute of Technology
Presentation 2 Title: Psychologist’s Think. Tests Don’t: A Tribute to the Conceptual & Theoretical Underpinnings of Psychological Assessment
Presentation 2 Abstract: Throughout his career, Bruce Smith recognized the conceptual underpinnings of psychodiagnostic inference-making. In his 1993 tribute to Roy Schafer (“”Psychological Tests Don’t Think: An Appreciation of Schafer’s Psychoanalytic Interpretation in Rorschach Testing), as well as in Bruce's many other contributions to the assessment literature, he laid out his beliefs about a psychoanalytically-informed approach to assessment, which treats empirically-based conclusions as data to be thought about from conceptual and theoretical perspectives.
James H. Kleiger, PsyD, ABPP, ABAP Private Practice- Bethesda
Presentation 3 Title: From the terror of empty space to potential space
Presentation 3 Abstract: Bruce Smith conveyed a complex understanding of the space responses. He argued that the responses to the white space do no not necessarily reflect negativism as Exner argued, but rather these responses reflect the encounter with the void. I will address the space response as a starting point for creativity.
Ety Berant PhD | Reichman University
Presentation 4 Title: Paranoia or Persecution?: Cross-Cultural Conversations with Bruce Smith
Presentation 4 Abstract: Bruce Smith had a mind that was always at work. Those who had the pleasure to know the depth of his mind can tell many stories about conversations with Bruce covering all his interests and intellectual pursuits, including those in the equity and inclusion sphere. A month before COVID hit, he asked me to do an early review of a chapter he contributed to Weiner & Kleiger’s (2021) book, “Psychological Assessment of Disordered Thinking and Perception.” I sent him a few general thoughts/revisions and then we debated and philosophized about them in a two-hour phone call. We had many conversations after, but I never saw the final version of this chapter before he died. I read it for the first time in preparation for this symposium to share with all of you. This paper represents a side of Bruce only some know but one that was just as much a part of his personal life as it was his professional. As assessors should know, every person comes with a context. The importance of the context of persecution in racialized/racist experiences is an element that deserves careful weight in the assessment of Disorders of Thinking and Perception. Bruce’s 2021 chapter highlights this issue.
Ksera Dyette, PsyD | Cup of Tea Counselling, LLC and William James College Juvenile Court Clinic Operations