During the medieval era, it was easier to become a nun, monk, or fellow worker in religious settings. All one needed to do was possess faith, hold onto a set of virtues, have dedication, and display the hard work required to be such a worker. Though such tasks weren’t a piece of cake, they still didn’t require to fill out a written test and obtain the set criteria preferred by religious settings like the current scenarios seem to propose.
So How This Did Began?
Looking back into 2005, Britain has proposed to use stringent of psychometric tests for screening of religious applicants based on fulfilling religious guides and holy orders. They proposed many reasons for conducting such tests.
One of the most common reasons was to screen out potential abusers according to Rev Dr Gerard Fieldhouse-Byrne. According to him this idea stems from a broader vision to select the individuals who are fit to handle the pressures of the life of service and celibacy. Another reason for such tests is to screen for even the sturdiest mental constitution caused by this life of celibate solitude and prayer.
Yet a few other causes can be suggested for promoting such tests in religious settings. For instance, since 14th century self-help guides or monastic rules were issued for monks. These guides provide the conduct that is expected from the monk for every hour of their day and night with precision and great sense of wisdom. Such guides provided help with rigors of intellectual work and exercise that was to be practiced by the monks.
But such monastic rules had their drawbacks. After careful analysis of these rules, you would find glimpses of behavior which are deviant from societal norms. Thus, such rules can cause great confusion between the fine lines of extreme religiosity and psychopathology which can be identified with the help of psychometric testing.
Unveiling the Drawbacks
According to psychologist, the mental state of our mind can be affected by immortal visions.
For example, James once had recorded encountering a man under the influence of laughing gas who believed he knew the secrets of the universe. On his intoxicated state he wrote about how the smell of petrol prevails throughout. He later forgot about this incident after he became sober. This, like previously stated, may cause difficulty in distinguishing between religious visions and delusions caused by a disorder.
On January 2018, religious news published its article about the growing concern in England, among Anglican leaders who were considering expanding the existing assessments into more rigorous psychological testing. This concern was rooted from the series of child abuse scandals which had been emerging over the past few decades among the Churches of England. Thus, leading to the implementation of not only skill-based tests but also aptitude tests. Aptitudetests such as assessment of dark triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) with special focuses on narcissism were highlighted in the article.
Psychological Assessment Procedures
Though the psychological assessment practices may vary among religious settings. The 2017 research study among clerics may give you some idea about such assessment procedures.
Stage 1: Case Documentation and Medical Record Review
Typically, the referring party starts the assessment process by drafting a letter of instruction that outlines the forthcoming procedure in detail and identifies the areas that will be assessed. If at all possible, the referred person’s medical records should be sent with the instructions together with all pertinent findings and supporting documents. The best evaluation outcomes, emerge from a thorough examination of all pertinent background data such as reports of forensic legal or statutory investigations.
Stage 2: A Personal History Interview
The purpose of the semi-structured personal history interview is to learn about the person’s background, including their family history, educational background, work experiences, significant life events, and any previous engagement with the law enforcement community.
Stage 3: Mental Status Screening
A crucial component of the assessment is the mental status examination, which enables the evaluating psychologist to better comprehend the subject’s current functioning and “state of mind.” The client’s appearance and interpersonal style, hygiene and self-care, as well as the use of maladaptive coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol use, illegal drug use, heightened emotional reactivity, social withdrawal, etc., are all examined within the context of this interview.
Stage 4: Employment of Psychometric Tests
The final step is to employ the use of psychometric tests to deliver a comprehensive psychological report about the individual. A skilled psychologist experienced in this field will use a variety of standardized psychometric tests that can provide supplement data from other sources or perhaps offer new perspectives on pertinent issues surrounding the individual. A polygraph test may also be used in such risk assessments.