Sunday, November 21, 2004

Some evaluator quacks use inkblots

I thought that my child custody evaluator was a total fruitcake, but I am now learning that the entire field is overrun with quacks. There are a bunch of them who use the Rorschach Inkblot Test! That is, they show the parents some meaningless-looking inkblots, ask them what it looks like to them, and try to use the answers to decide who is a better parent. It is about as scientific as using horoscopes.

If you happen to get one of those quacks using inkblots, be sure and check out the classic inkblots, so you'll know what answers give a favorable response.


Meg said...


You should be careful here... They are trained to look for "pat" answers - and likely will not look very highly on those...

The best course of action, in my opinion, is to tell your psychologist that you are familiar with the Rorschach test. They are supposed to ask your prior to administering the test if you have seen them before. They will probably ask how - schools do not let students see the inkblots or learn about the responses until they are far, far advanced into their psychology degree - so don't try and say you saw them in college during an intro to Psy class. In my psychology undergrad I never saw the inkblots, nor was the test discussed in other than a passing fashion.

If you have seen the inkblots and/or are familiar with expected responses - they are not supposed to administer the test and the results would be corrupted. If you can give a passable answer as to why you have seen them, I believe this is the best course to take. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous test - contingent far too much on the discretion, education and leanings of the test administrator. At the same time, with a good evaluator a "sane parent" should have nothing to fear. All too often, however, the gamut of psychological tests can be "interpreted" in whatever manner the administrator desires.

Further, I realize this is still new to you and you are very outraged at having to prove yourself to any of these evaluators, lawyers, etc… And you should be outraged – this is a horribly fractured and unjust system. However, at this point your case is ongoing – for your children, you need to play the game with these people – without visible contempt. Just my advice. It’s not fair and down the road you could join a variety of organizations aimed at reforming this system.

The best thing we did was to hide out outrage and present the best positive and accurate picture of the situation we could. The people you are dealing with are in the system – they know how it works and are obviously okay with it.

Sorry this is so long – I just remember where you are and trying to pass on the things I wished I’d known then.


George said...

I don't think that we have any good evaluators in my county. I wouldn't mind a competently done evaluation, but I see no likelihood that any court-ordered evaluation will even meet the minimal standards for fairness and competence.