Non-Test Appraisal Techniques: Biographies and Autobiographies

John Sedofia


In counselling, information regarding the personality assets and liabilities of the counselee plays a very significant role in the counsellor’s work. Guidance is said to be for individuals who want to understand themselves and their world. Indeed, the client cannot understand himself if there is no data regarding his interests, personality characteristics, mental ability, achievement, and special aptitudes. Information is required about clients at every stage of the counselling process. Psychological tests provide a very useful source of this information. But the truth is that psychological tests are not infallible, and the information they provide is inadequate most of the time. Herein comes the need to supplement information from psychological tests with information from other sources such as biographies, autobiographies, observations, cumulative records, and so forth. These sources of information are known as non-test appraisal techniques. This paper discusses biographies and autobiographies as two of the non-test techniques of gathering appraisal data on counselees. The discussion is done under the sub-themes: basic assumptions, nature, types, uses and limitations of biographies and autobiographies.

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