Tests & Systems

Here you will find resources that help couples (and their coaches and therapists) understand the relationship itself more thoroughly. There are also many personality and preference tests for individuals which, when shared with a partner, can foster understanding and connection. Look for those in section 2. 

Uniting Strengths - Multidimensional Ability Profile (Us-Map)

How can this help couples?

By Rekindle

The Us-Map helps couples identify their relational strengths and opportunities for growth in the six categories (Dimensions) of healthy relationships. It is based on the Multidimensional Theory of Relationships, which uses the research findings of relationship experts to answer the question, "What skills can a couple use to build a meaningful, actualizing, strong, long-lasting, original, wholehearted relationship?" The Us-Map is designed to help couples see which of these skills they are currently using in their relationship and identify skills they would like to learn more about.

How can this help therapists and coaches?

The Us-Map is meant to create a picture of the relational landscape, so to speak, which allows couples (and their therapist or coach) to see their relational strengths and skills, making it much easier to decide how they want to move forward. Many couples are unaware of how their lack of skill in one area may be influencing their main relationship concerns or acting as a roadblock to relationship growth. They have also, generally, not seen how skills they have already mastered can be used to enhance the relationship and overcome those roadblocks. By highlighting strengths, the Us-Map allows couples to see that they have powerful tools in their relational toolbox, and can shift their mentality toward being builders of their own relationship rather than victims of circumstances.

Details

There are multiple formats which range from very simple and quick (used for a fun activity or part of intake procedures) to a highly detailed assessment of skill level in 137 separate Elements of the six Dimensions.

The Gottman Relationship Checkup

How can this help couples?

The Gottman Institute

This assessment can only be used with a therapist who has been approved by the Gottman Institute. It is not available for couples to purchase independently.

How can this help therapists?

The Gottman Relationship Checkup is often used at intake to give the therapist a broad picture of a couple’s areas of distress and the overall health of the relationship.

Details

There are 480 questions in the online format, arranged in multiple categories which cover everything from communication to family history. The results are NOT meant to be shared with the couple, they are specifically written for a trained therapist who can then interpret them in a therapy session.

Attachment Styles

How can this help couples?

by Diane Poole Heller

Knowing your personal combination of attachment styles can help you see the roots of your reactions to your partner and patterns in seeking/avoiding closeness. Taking this test is a quick way to get a sense of what you tend to do, so that when learning more about attachment styles and how they develop and change you have a bit of personal context.

How can this help therapists?

The Attachment Styles Test is short enough to be completed in the office and used as the basis of discussion in session. The instructions encourage people to highlight any items that stick out to them, and this is an excellent way to identify specific questions about attachment and tie the ideas to their personal experience.

Details

There are 45 questions with “never/sometimes/always” answers. The results are presented as a pie chart with percentages, not as a simple label.

The Sternberg Triangular Love Test

How can this help couples?

Robert Sternberg

Sternberg’s research showed that relationships tend to thrive on intimacy, passion, and commitment. This test can help couples see how they are doing in each of these areas. It may be more helpful for couples to discuss their individual answers to specific questions rather than just comparing the results.

How can this help therapists?

This can be used as an overall relationship assessment. Sternberg’s theory can also be used to identify what kind of relationship a couple has, and what they can do to develop the kind of relationship they want. The questions are specific enough to be helpful in facilitating goal setting.

Details

There are 45 multiple choice questions, so it only takes a few minutes to complete. Each partner completes the questionnaire individually, so comparisons need to be done by hand. Note: There are printable PDF versions available online as well. For an explanation of the theory behind this test and various types, the Wikipedia article is a good introduction.

Psych Central Relationship Tests

How can this help couples?

John M. Grohol

Each test highlights one particular aspect of a healthy relationship. They can be a fun way to consider relationship strengths and areas of potential growth. Note: Some are meant to highlight potential problems and encourage couples to seek counseling (Psych Central’s business is connecting therapists with potential clients).

How can this help coaches and therapists?

If a couple is struggling or wishes to improve in a particular area, one of these tests might be a good way to help them find specific actions to take or areas of disagreement about the problem itself.

Details

These tests are based on social science research BUT they are not meant to diagnose a problem or cover a topic thoroughly. Some of them are better than others. All of the tests are short and easy to complete.

Understanding Each Other

It can be useful for the individuals within a partnership to take preference, aptitude, or personality tests and discuss the results in order to understand each other better. Here are some of the most useful.

VIA Character Strengths Survey

VIA Institute

How can this help couples?

The VIA Survey is a personality test that helps people identify which of the 24 character strengths are their own greatest strengths. The report provides information about each of these strengths and how they can be used in daily life, work, etc. An individual can use it to identify personal strengths and think through how those strengths can be used as they interact with their partner. Couples can also share their results as a way to increase mutual understanding.

How can this help coaches and therapists?

Having a couple identify their personal strengths can help them see what unique assets each brings to the relationship. It can also be helpful if one or the other partner has trouble seeing or valuing their own or the other person’s strengths and contributions.

Details

The initial VIA Inventory of Strengths was created as part of an attempt to define human strengths in a way that would allow researchers to study them. For 3 years, 55 scientists led by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman worked to classify strengths and create a valid assessment for individuals to identify their own strengths. Taking the 96-question test and a basic report of results are free, but more in-depth reports are also available.

Enneagram (Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, RHETIⓇ)

The Enneagram Institute

How can this help couples?

The RHETIⓇ is a personality test. The Enneagram is a matrix of nine personality types and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. When someone takes this test they are provided with a profile based on which of the types are best matches for their own personality. A person can then learn more about the specific desires and tendencies that are common for their type(s) and what tasks might lead them toward flourishing vs. unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. Couples can share their individual results to facilitate deeper understanding and help them manage conflict and move toward healthy interactions.

How can this help therapists and coaches?

When working with a professional it can take time to build an understanding of what each person’s tendencies and motivations are. Using a personality framework like the Enneagram can speed up that process and help individuals know how to work with (rather than against) each other. This only applies if both partners feel like their type is a good fit and the descriptions and suggestions are helpful.

Details

The RHETIⓇ itself is a series of 144 paired statements that an individual chooses between. It is available online and comes with a detailed personality profile that shares both results and detailed descriptions of an individual’s top three types. Some practitioners recommend starting by simply reading through descriptions of the nine types to see which one (or more) cause an emotional reaction.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®)

The Myers & Briggs Foundation

How can this help couples?

The Myers-Briggs is a measure of how an individual tends to understand things and people and how they make sense of the world. It is a simple way for each partner to share this aspect of their personality with the other. The inventory uses clear language (like introvert vs. extrovert or thinking vs. feeling) and has a lot of support and literature available to interpret the results and make them useful.

How can this help coaches and therapists?

It is possible to become trained in administering and interpreting the MBTI, but formal training is not necessary. Many professionals encourage couples to share and discuss their results in session as a way of looking at issues and possibilities differently and deepening acceptance and understanding of the other partner.

Details

The MBTI is based on Carl Jung’s work on different ways people have of perceiving the world and interpreting what they perceive. Myers and Briggs took his ideas and created a valid and reliable measure of 16 different personality types and then did research using that framework. The MBTI is slightly less than 100 multiple choice questions. It is possible to take it online or in-person with a certified MBTI practitioner.

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