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Meersand, P. (2011). Psychological Testing and the Analytically Trained Child Psychologist. Psychoanal. Psychol., 28(1):117-131.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(1):117-131

Children and Adolescents

Psychological Testing and the Analytically Trained Child Psychologist

Pamela Meersand, Ph.D.

The author reviews some of the unique contributions that psychoanalytic theory brings to the testing of children and adolescents. Although demand for child evaluations has burgeoned in recent decades, the trend is toward atheoretical assessment; test findings are rarely linked to a coherent theory of personality and a developmental framework. The author delineates skills that analytically trained child psychologists bring to the testing situation, allowing them to place clinical observations and results within the context of the child's ongoing development and emerging sense of self. These include recognizing characteristic modes of thinking, relating, and fantasizing during different developmental phases; making meaningful use of transference and countertransference reactions; examining the quality of children's play and narratives; and using the feedback process to help parents contemplate their child's inner life. In conclusion, the author suggests that the testing tradition of Rappaport, Gil, and Schafer is highly relevant for contemporary child evaluation.

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