Tag Archives: psychological assessment

Strengths profile

I’m advising one of our DMin students on his dissertation. He is researching how the use of Gallup’s Strengthfinders assessments and some training materials from World Harvest Mission might help build better functioning ministry teams.

This is my first time getting to see how the Strengthfinders works. So, Drew, the student, gave me the assessment. This tool returns the top five strengths themes (out of 34) based on my answers to the questions on the test. Here is my Gallup profile (in order of strength) with a few descriptive sentences:


Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people—in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends—but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine.


Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalizations or “types” because you don’t want to obscure what is special and distinct about each person. Instead, you focus on the differences between individuals. You instinctively observe each person’s style, each person’s motivation, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships. You hear the one-of-a-kind stories in each person’s life. Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person. This Individualization theme also helps you build productive teams. While some search around for the perfect team “structure” or “process,” you know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.


The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner. There you can evaluate accurately the potential obstacles. Guided by where you see each path leading, you start to make selections. You discard the paths that lead nowhere. You discard the paths that lead straight into resistance. You discard the paths that lead into a fog of confusion. You cull and make selections until you arrive at the chosen path—your strategy. Armed with your strategy, you strike forward. This is your Strategic theme at work: “What if?” Select. Strike.


You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions. This need for mental activity may be focused; for example, you may be trying to solve a problem or develop an idea or understand another person’s feelings. The exact focus will depend on your other strengths. On the other hand, this mental activity may very well lack focus. The theme of Intellection does not dictate what you are thinking about; it simply describes that you like to think. You are the kind of person who enjoys your time alone because it is your time for musing and reflection. You are introspective. In a sense you are your own best companion, as you pose yourself questions and try out answers on yourself to see how they sound. This introspection may lead you to a slight sense of discontent as you compare what you are actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that your mind conceives. Or this introspection may tend toward more pragmatic matters such as the events of the day or a conversation that you plan to have later. Wherever it leads you, this mental hum is one of the constants of your life.


You love to learn. The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences, but whatever the subject, you will always be drawn to the process of learning. The process, more than the content or the result, is especially exciting for you. You are energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. The thrill of the first few facts, the early efforts to recite or practice what you have learned, the growing confidence of a skill mastered—this is the process that entices you. Your excitement leads you to engage in adult learning experiences—yoga or piano lessons or graduate classes. It enables you to thrive in dynamic work environments where you are asked to take on short project assignments and are expected to learn a lot about the new subject matter in a short period of time and then move on to the next one. This Learner theme does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert, or that you are striving for the respect that accompanies a professional or academic credential. The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there.”

Pretty good description I think…I like to relate to a small group of people. I like getting deep with a few. I enjoy the work of seeing the individual differences of friends, staff, clients, etc. I’m pretty good at getting a plan of action going right away. I’m not so good at carrying it out because I love to think and learn and so new information is always available and since I like to think about a wide diversity of things, it can be hard to stay focused on any one thing for too long. 

What I like about this particular tool is that it looks at a variety of strengths rather than personality traits.

Anybody have experience with this tool?

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Filed under counseling, counseling science, personality, Psychology, Uncategorized

Psych assessment and the new semester

And so we begin the new semester today. I’m teaching Psychological Assessment tonight to our advanced professional counseling students (recent grads looking to complete licensure courses). Psych assessment covers a wide variety of formal and informal assessment techniques for counselors. Among them are the use and interpretation of psychological tests. It is my experience that most people with superficial exposure to psychological tests have one of two responses

1. Inordinate value of testing and what it can do

2. Inordinate suspicion of testing and what it can do

Most of these responses come from quick reactions to some personal exposure to tests. Those who give too much value to tests may have taken a test and had it “nail” them. For instance, someone takes the Myers-Briggs (MBTI), finds out they are an INTJ and that it explains why they nearly lose their mind around their boss who is an ESFP. Those who are suspicious of testing often have had a bad experience of testing (test mis-use, a negative evaluation or they have had a course that exposes them to the weaknesses of some test construction and research.

The truth is that tests do have both limits (some way more than others) and value. Never underestimate the power to abuse a test or the data that comes from one. A relative of mine once was turned down from a job because some wacko decided he had repressed issues from a simple drawing.

However, those who say that they can get all they need from a clinical interview fail to recognize the value of learning how one functions in comparison to a large sample of peers. And several data points like that can really flesh out a personality or learning profile.

I’d be curious to hear reader’s experiences with testing (their administration and/or interpretation). Did you have a positive or negative experience and why?


Filed under christian psychology, counseling, counseling science, Psychology