"We understand certain criteria and standards of incardination or those of college age petitioning for seminary training and ordination. A psychological evaluation and numerous reference letters cannot apply to just anyone, lest one would adhere to a one-size-fits-all mentality. Additionally, it is common that data be collected at the discretion and expense of the respective ecclesial or employment entity, not that of the candidate. – As an example, when petitioning for incardination by an older, well-credentialed, experienced and highly qualified clergy person, with a well vetted employment record, being then required to undergo a psychological evaluation could be perceived rather as an insult, to say the least.
While we realize that such evaluations have now entered the fashionable arena of some church circles, they render themselves ultimately as useless, since they can be easily manipulated and quickly become outdated, as so many cases have shown. Supplying “reference letters” may sound traditional, but they are a mere collection of favorites by buddies covering for a good friend.
We understand and support the reasons for wanting to screen possible new candidates, ministries and congregations. We equally realize that quality must supersede quantity in any credible jurisdiction or setting. However, we hold that “psychological evaluations” and “reference letters”, due to their flawed nature, are not the answer, since they can do more harm than good — or at least not yield the results one may hope for.
The screening of candidates is indeed a meticulous task, but it must be based on real, tangible criteria, not that of dubious testing and campaign letter collection. Additionally and most importantly, there is a demonic side to mixing psychology with theology. While psychological testing is valid for mental patients in order to determine their most beneficial treatment, it has no place in the church, whatsoever."
A short Article by Michael G. Conner, PsD
Clinical & Medical Psychologist
“Each year, more than four million Americans are pressured or forced to take a psychological evaluation. Doctors in the professions of psychiatry and psychology perform these evaluations for disability and fitness determinations, child custody disputes, worker compensation, injury and stress claims, job applications, denying of medical services and for law suits initiated by individuals against employers, business or government.
So many evaluations are conducted and for so many reasons, that virtually anyone can find him- or herself in the position of being evaluated. Unless you have been evaluated, you probably don’t realize that a psychological evaluation can profoundly affect your rights, your financial status and your future.
There are psychological evaluation procedures that are designed to be therapeutic and extremely helpful. These Therapeutic Assessments are distinctly different from evaluations implemented for the purpose of determining your rights, damages or considerations under the law. Another evaluation procedure that is designed to be helpful are Assessment Based Intervention (ABI). An ABI is an assessment protocol that combines crisis intervention and mediation with an objective psychological evaluation focused on solutions to problems, objective data and motivation for self-directed change.
This paper has been written to educate and support people who are asked, pressured or forced to take a psychological evaluation. No book has ever been written for the public that clearly reveals the questionable and unethical behavior of a growing number of doctors in psychology and psychiatry. If you are involved with psychological evaluations you need to know what you can expect to happen, how to expose the misuse of an evaluation, how to protect yourself, as well as advise others. Read more at www.oregoncounseling.org/ArticlesPapers/Documents/CorruptEvals.htm