Updated: Sep 27, 2020
In this post, I'm going to discuss the psychological assessments that I took before I left the Air Force Academy. After I was accused of fraternization, my Air Officer Commanding (AOC) strongly instructed me that if I did not "voluntarily submit" myself to a psychological evaluation, he would force me to go to a Command Directed Medical Review Board to have me discharged. I spoke with my victim advocate counselor, Major Troy Todd, and he agreed that I should "voluntarily" take the test. If the results were favorable, he would instruct my AOC that he needed to stop harassing me. After consulting with Major Todd, I told my AOC, Lt Col Christiansen that I would "voluntarily" take the test. The medical records that we received in 2020 state the following as the justification for completing the assessments:
His AOC, Lt Col Christiansen, expressed concerns for patient's risk to other based on information provided by other cadets, disciplinary issues, and personal presentation. Patient profusely denied harboring any intention to to harm himself or others. He denies threatening anyone or being physically aggressive or violent towards others. However, he admits to an interest in the US Marines and wanting to be part of an infantry unit trained to kill people; he also portrayed his inappropriate drawings, comments, and actions as being "common" among cadets and "joking".
Apparently wanting to cross commission into the Marines, and apparently be assigned in to the infantry, is cause for concern. This is an interesting statement however, because I never once expressed my interest for being an infantry officer because I had an Air Contract to fly with the Marines. It was past "100's Night" (the time when you receive your first duty assignment) and he was well aware of my assignment in the Marines, and my desire to fly as a Naval Aviator. This is highly indicative that my AOC was willing lie to justify an unnecessary evaluation, and I was never made aware of these "speculations" until over a decade after the fact. I believe that the "inappropriate drawings" were memes that were being emailed around amongst the cadets. With less than one hundred days until graduation, I figured taking the test "voluntarily" was my best option. I've never had any history of mental illness, or disorders and there have not been any in my family history that I know of. I thought it would be no big deal.
The assessments that I took were the MMPI-2, MCMI-III, and the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Test. On this, I'm just going based off of what the records say. It was ten years ago that took the assessments and I am was not at all familiar with them. For all I know, they could have giving me different tests, but for this purpose of this post, I'm going to assume this is correct and I did take these assessments.
The MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) is a very popular assessment that's been around for decades. The "2" stands for the second edition of the test. The original test was published in 1943 and then it was updated in 1989. From the American Psychological Association:
It has broad applications across a range of mental health, medical, substance abuse, forensic, and personnel screening settings as a measure of psychological maladjustment. The original inventory consisted of 550 true–false items grouped into nine scales reflecting common clinical problems: hypochondria, depression, hysteria, psychopathic deviate, masculine–feminine interest, paranoia, psychasthenia (i.e., anxiety), schizophrenia, and hypomania.
I've struggled to find good information on how this test is administered and used for making a psychological diagnosis. From what I've found though, it is not intended as the way you diagnose patients, but rather a tool for psychologists to aid them in diagnosing their patients. Farlex has an online medical dictionary and they say this about the MMPI-2:
The MMPI is only one element of psychological assessment, and should never be used alone as the sole basis for a diagnosis. A detailed history of the test subject and a review of psychological, medical, educational, or other relevant records are required to lay the groundwork for interpreting the results of any psychological measurement.
This is the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory assessment. It is a collection of true/false questions which measures for 24 personality disorders and clinical syndromes. Like the MMPI-2, it is intended to be a tool in evaluating patients. The makers of the assessment, The Millon Personality Group, say this about it's report:
The PROFILE REPORT presents the patient's MCMI scores and profile, and is useful as a screening device to identify patients that may require more intensive evaluation or professional attention.
This image shows the scales and what the assessment is used to help diagnose.
I think the axis', I, II, III, IV, and V are what is being referenced in my medical records. I'm no medical professional, so I'm not sure how to interpret these results. Originally, this is what the report had:
It was later updated to show this:
Rotter Incomplete Sentences Test
Compared to the other two assessments that I took, the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Test seems to be the most basic. It is a screening instrument that helps assess overall adjustment in adolescents and adults. The patient reads the first part of a sentence and then selects an answer to complete it.
I could not find much on the scoring of this but nothing seems to indicate that it identifies any specific disorders. It seems that the results can be assessed in a quantitative or a qualitative manner. So, either the psychologist can use the score it puts out or read through the answers to the questions. I could not find anything in my medical records that references anything about the results of this test.
Using Assessments for Diagnosing Patients
In researching these assessments, I found that the common theme for all of them is that they are just tools to aid psychologists in making a diagnosis for their patient. None of them are fool proof ways to diagnose people. In my case, I voluntarily took these assessments. I was told that if I didn't, I would get sent to a medical review board, and be discharged anyway.
I was positive that the assessments would not indicate psychological disorders and they did not. This was confirmed by Maj. Todd, the psychologist I saw after being sexually assaulted, who had requested the results and reviewed them. I could never have anticipated that the doctor, Dr. Kristen Henley (Price) would use these assessments to justify giving me false psychological disorders. This is something that a doctor simply cannot do. The psychological advisor for the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records even recommended that the disorders be removed since their was no justification for them. Read his recommendation here and review the complete medical records here.
I should have gone to the medical review board as they would have had no reason to find me incompetent to serve. I suspect that this was an intimidation tactic by my chain of command. Once again, I had no proper legal counsel, nor external support that would have provided me the tools and resources I needed to make a better, and more informed decision.