Most young people entering the mental health professions soon have to sit down and draw from textbooks a list of personality dimensions or areas to look into when doing their personality assessment work. As this outline is memorized and used repeatedly it drops away from the conscious concerns and becomes an automatic, preconscious, guide to personality assessment and report writing. The outstanding economy of this is that then only the categories that stand out in the patient are brought to the level of conscious description. In other words, as the assessment procedure becomes automated we clinicians do not need to sort tediously down the long list of trait dimensions but only select out for comment the ones that are presented by the patient.
But with matters of research the procedure must be different. It is a basic dictum of science that in order to understand anything there must be careful
Shipman WG. An Ego-Psychological Approach to Character Assessment. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(6):675–676. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720300105012
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