Steven Smith, an associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, was chosen as one of the Society for Personality Assessment’s (SPA) 75th Anniversary Interviews. The 25 members were chosen to illustrate the diverse nature of the SPA membership for two purposes (a) to illustrate the nature of the membership for potential SPA members and (b) to provide students examples of the types of careers that are possible in assessment. The interviews can be found on line.
The Society for Personality Assessment (SPA) was founded in Essex County, New Jersey by Bruno Klopfer and a group of his students. The Society is a collegial organization dedicated to the advancement of professional personality assessment, to the development of procedures and concepts for personality assessment and to the ethical and responsible use of these techniques. Initially incorporated as the Rorschach Institute, Inc. in 1938, the Society was renamed in 1971 to reflect its interest in the entire spectrum of issues present in contemporary personality assessment and to focus the Society as a special interest group, concerned with promoting exchange of ideas and information about personality assessment in research and in practice.
Smith seeks to conduct research that is clinically informative and will aid treatment and assessment, particularly with children and adolescents. His primary work currently is in clinical sport psychology, particularly performance enhancement among elite athletes. Smith has an appointment with the UCSB Division I Department of Athletics and works with a number of teams and individual student-athletes, seeking to understand issues of mindfulness, present-moment awareness, and acceptance of discomfort as mechanisms for advancing athletic performance and team cohesion.
Smith also maintains his interest in psychological assessment. In both personality assessment and neuropsychological assessment, he is primarily interested in the clinical exchange between a test taker and a clinician. He has been influenced by the Therapeutic Assessment model and is currently conducting research on the best ways to engage clients and therapists in the assessment process. He is also interested in diversity issues in assessment and how tests and measures can be best used with underrepresented groups.