Shame as a Cultural Artifact: A Call for Self-Awareness and Reflexivity in Personality Assessment

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8 Citations (Scopus)


It has become common for assessors to face therapeutic impasses and dilemmas when practicing within the Therapeutic Assessment (TA) model. This is due to the explicit goal of producing therapeutic changes in clients. In this article the author discusses the importance of assessors being aware of how their clinical practices relate to their assessment outcomes. To enhance such awareness, the author reviews the characteristics of psychological assessment practices as derived from 3 paradigms developed almost 1.5 centuries ago in Europe by the forefathers of psychology as a scientific discipline. Current assessment practices are deeply ingrained in specific cultural, social, and political frameworks originating in these paradigms. Being aware of such a historical and cultural background might help the assessor avoid blindly reenacting the values, norms, and latent relational schemas implied by different assessment methods, and instead use assessment tools as potent aids in the service of clients’ change. Finally, the author illustrates how the experience of clients’ shame in psychological assessment might also be understood as a by- product of the specific cultural and historical background of certain common assessment practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-75-575
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • ethics

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