About Dr. Bruce Eimer

Dr. Bruce EimerDr. Eimer is a Pennsylvania Licensed Psychologist, NRA Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Pennsylvania Certified Lethal Weapons Training Instructor, and an Act 235 Certified Agent.

In addition to practicing clinical psychology, Dr. Eimer provides professional firearms training to everyday people as well as to police and security personnel. He is the co-author of the Essential Guide to Handguns, as well as the author of a monthly column in Concealed Carry Magazine. Dr. Eimer understands lethal weapons and the people who carry them.

How Act 235 Security Officer Applicants Can Pass the MMPI-2

The MMPI-2 is a personality test that is scored on a computer. It has been around for over 75 years. It is THE standard test given to law enforcement and security candidates, as well as to applicants for other highly sensitive and responsible jobs. The Pennsylvania State Police Lethal Weapons Unit, that administers Pennsylvania’s Act 235 Armed Security Program, and The Pennsylvania State Police Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) require the MMPI-2 test to be part of the required psychological examination.

BACKGROUND

No applicant for either the Act 235 or Act 120 certification can pass their psychological exam if they do not pass the MMPI-2. It is THE test. So, why is it used? It is used because it is a highly validated, objective, self-report psychological inventory that has been proven to be an effective “wacko detector”. That means that it can be effectively used to determine whether or not an individual who took the test is psychologically stable.

This test has been given to hundereds of thousands of adult patients, sane and insane, with various psychiatric and medical disorders in different clinical settings (psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, etc.) over the past 75 plus years. It has also been administered to hundreds of thousands of "normal" adult individuals applying for responsible or sensitive jobs, and to "normal" adult indivuals as part of research studies. Thus, gigantic data bases exist that validate the validity and reliability of the MMPI test and MMPI-2 test (revised version) for a variety of clinical and job selection purposes.

The MMPI-2 test is very good at differentiating people with severe mental illness from people without severe mental illness. It is also very good at identifying the presence of different types of psychiatric disorders. The test has been proven to have good predictive validity and to correlate with other measures of mental health and mental illness. However, the value of the test is only as good as the clinical acumen and skill of the psychologist who interprets it.

Ph.D. level Psychologists go to school for many years to study psychological testing. Then, once a psychologist completes his or her graduate school training and internships, he or she must acquire many years of experience on the job. So, shoddy interpretations of the MMPI-2 will yield shoddy and invalid results.

WHY THE TEST IS REQUIRED

Understandably, the agencies that administrate these programs, and the general public, do not want unstable individuals carrying firearms as part of their job. People who carry firearms, especially as part of their job, must have the ability to exercise good judgment under pressure. The results of this test can identify people, based on their responses to the test, who can and who cannot exercise such good judgment.

TEST DESCRIPTION

There are 567 TRUE or FALSE items on the MMPI-2. They are actually NOT questions. The are statements. You must read each statement and mark each statement as either TRUE or FALSE. There are no RIGHT or WRONG answers. That is because what is true for you may be false for me. So, you cannot copy anyone's answers. You cannot study for this test. However, you can prepare to take it so that you can pass it.

READING ABILITY AND LANGUAGE COMPETENCE

The results of an MMPI-2 test administration MUST BE interpreted based on the context in which the test is administered and the purpose for which it is being given. One must take into account the test taker's level of education, reading and language competence and cultural background. The MMPI test items are written on approximately a 10th to 11th grade reading level. For purposes of Act 235 security officer evaluations and Act 120 police cadet evaluations, we are not doing deep psychoanalysis or personality analysis.

If a person takes the MMPI or MMPI-2 in English, but English is his or her second language, or he or she dropped out of school before the 10th grade, or had learning or reading problems, and as a result, he or she does not read and understand English very well (at least at an 11th grade level), then that person may misread and mis-interpret the meaning of the items--the result will be an invalid profile and the person could be marked as failing the test. This means that if a person has to take the test, he or she either needs to be competent at reading and comprehending English, OR, he or she should have someone to translate the items for the test taker into the test taker's native or primary language, OR intepret the meaning of each of the items for him or her.

The point is that many of the items on the test are worded in a complex or tricky manner. Thus, the items can be easily misunderstood, given their fine nuances of meaning, and that can cause a person to fail the test even if he or she is not "psychiatrically crazy".

HOW TO PASS THE MMPI-2

In order to pass this test:

1. You must be able to comprehend written English at ideally the 11th grade level.

2. If you cannot, you need to have someone interpret each statement to you so you understand each statement.

3. If English is your second language, unless you read and understand English well, you should have someone translate the items to you in your native or primary language.

4. The test has built in LIE DETECTORS. So, you cannot fool the test or a savvy psychologist examiner. If you try to appear too normal, you may come out as lying and then you may fail the MMPI test. After all there was only one Mother Theresa!

5. You must answer every item. Do not skip any items! If you skip items, you will not pass the test.

6. The answer to each item is either TRUE or FALSE! There is NO in between, or shades of gray here. So, if you read an item and you feel undecided--meaning you can go either way, you must FORCE A CHOICE. It is either MORE TRUE or MORE FALSE! It must be either TRUE or FALSE.

7. So, do NOT overthink the items. Go with your gut. Do NOT spend too much time on each item.

The MMPI is the hard part of the psychological exam. The easy part is the clinical psychological interview. All that I will say about passing the clinical interview portion of the psychological exam is:

1. BE HONEST, AND....

2. PASS THE ATTITUDE TEST. AND THE WAY YOU DO THAT IS BY DISPLAYING A GOOD AND APPROPRIATE AND POSITIVE ATTITUDE.


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