This is a term used among clinical and counseling psychologists to refer to the administration of a series of psychological tests designed to assess multiple facets of a person's psychological functioning. A typical battery may contain a combination of projective measures
and rating scale measures that asses both personality and intelligence. The data gathered would be obtained both from the measurement instruments and the nature of the interpersonal relationship between the examiner and examinee. Information provided from such an assessment is helpful in answering diagnostic questions and in developing effective treatment strategies.
A standard assessment battery, for example, may include an MCMI-III, Rorschach, TAT and Sentence Completion Test to assess personality, and a WAIS-III to assess intelligence. The MCMI-III, which is a rating scale personality measure, would provide information about the patient’s Axis I and Axis II functioning. The Rorschach would provide information at a different level of analysis, such as how the person manages affect, stress, and the quality of his or her thought processes. The TAT and, less so, the Sentence Completion Test, would allow the examiner to help bring the individual's narrative structures to life, that is, would assist in developing a more phenomenological understanding of the person being tested and his or her internal representations. The WAIS-III is a means toward understanding how the person functions in a structured situation (with clear task demands as opposed to the relatively less structured situation provided by the ambiguous free response measures), as well, of course, providing information about the person's verbal and nonverbal intellectual functioning. The relationship between the examiner and examinee (e.g., the quality of rapport developed, the nature of the resistances, etc.) provides valuable information for understanding transference paradigms.
This battery would take about four hours to administer, and about an equal amount of time would be needed to score the tests, interpret them, and write a psychological assessment report. Twenty years ago, a test battery similar to this would be administered to most patients that were admitted to a psychiatric hospital. At present, in the United States, the movement is toward briefer and more focused assessments; however, full battery assessment may still be employed by supervised predoctoral interns or by psychologists in teaching hospitals, private psychiatric hospitals, or clinics.
Patients should be given clear feedback about the results of their testing. Of course, one must keep in mind how the patient will interpret the information given to him or her. Some information will be clear and obvious to the patient because it will confirm how the person already views him or herself. Other information may be much more difficult for the patient to hear, understand, or agree with; which does not necessary mean that it is inaccurate. How the patient listens to and responds to feedback can be diagnostic in understanding how he or she may respond in a future treatment process.