SWAP is a psychological test for valid, reliable, psychologically rich personality assessment. It diagnoses personality styles and disorders and provides clinical case formulations to guide treatment and decision making. SWAP is scored by clinicians based on their clinical observations; patients do not interact with SWAP.
Self-report questionnaires rely on people to describe themselves. They are most useful for assessing surface layers of personality. They are less useful for assessing deeper layers. For example, a patient with a narcissistic personality may describe himself as a caring person and wonderful friend. An informed clinician may conclude the opposite. Research shows that such clinical observations, properly utilized, are highly valid.
SWAP combines the best features of the clinical and empirical assessment traditions in psychology. It relies on clinicians to describe patients they know, by scoring 200 personality-descriptive items. It relies on psychometric and statistical methods to optimize reliability, validity, and predictive accuracy.
SWAP is used by clinical practitioners to identify core psychological issues in psychotherapy, by forensic experts who must base conclusions on strong empirical evidence, and by U.S. government agencies for high-stakes personnel evaluation.