Theodore Millon, Ph.D., D.Sc.


Tests Developed:
Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI)
Millon Behavioral Health Inventory (MBHI)
Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (MAPI)
Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory (MACI)
Millon Index of Personality Styles (MIPS)

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Theodore Millon was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 18, 1928, the only son of parents who had immigrated some three years earlier from Bialystok, Poland, and Vilna, Lithuania. Both were modestly educated, although his father was a descendant of a family known for its many rabbis and Talmudic scholars. The effects of the great depression provided a melancholic context for community life in the 1930s, but the youthful "Teddy," as he was known, was largely oblivious to the hardships his parents endured, well-protected by them from their mournful and stress-laden daily existence.

Advanced education for Ted was characteristically desultory and enigmatic. At the City College of New York (CCNY), he wandered from one major to another, trying out economics, sociology, philosophy, and physics, all to no avail until he fortuitously took the requisite basic psychology course.

He went on to an M.A. in clinical psychology at CCNY and a Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. Upon completion of a dissertation designed to explicate traits of the authoritarian personality, Ted obtained a teaching position at Lehigh University. By a no-longer curious twist in his career’s focus, he also assumed a senior administrative post at a large state hospital.

Presumption and vanity, so often the spur to writing books, had little to do with the origins of his first text, Modern Psychopathology (MP). It began as an exercise in self-education, an attempt to gather and to render the disparate facts and theories of psychopathology into a coherent and orderly framework. Such a venture, it was hoped, would enable him to pursue his future research, teaching, and clinical responsibilities more effectively. Little did he know that the tasks of authorship would force him to think more presumptuously than he cared—"even worse, to feel a measure of pride and vanity in these presumptions. Faced repeatedly with the obscurities, contradictions, and confusions that beset the field, he found himself formulating novel "clarifications" and "solutions" to old and perplexing problems. In short, an act of modest self-education became an act of intellectual audacity; the future will tell whether the venturesome spirit that overtook him will be judged to have been impertinent and foolhardy, or original and persuasive.

The writing of his first major work, Modern Psychopathology, stemmed from his discontent with the state of our field. It ultimately led him to take an academic position in Chicago where he was to head a large psychology division

devoted to training psychologists, physicians, and psychiatrists at the University of Illinois Medical Center. Among his responsibilities was to select clinical scholars to revise the antiquated DSM. His proposal led to the birth of the DSM-III Task Force, which he enthusiastically joined, as he did the DSM-IV, both proving to be richly rewarding professional and personal experiences. Also gratifying during his Chicago years was the development of a series of empirically based instruments (MCMI, MBHI, MAPI) that would serve to represent theoretical constructs proposed in the MP book.

The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI) and its sister inventories originated initially as a defensive act, a shield against the proliferation of potentially misconceived or poorly designed efforts on the part of well-meaning others to "operationalize" concepts he had proposed in the MP book. Rather than sit back and enjoy the dissemination of his ideas, he began to see this burgeoning of divergent instrument development not only as uncontrolled, and possibly misguided, but also as a process ultimately endangering the very theoretical notions they were designed to strengthen.

To establish a measure of instrumental uniformity for future investigators, as well as to assure at least a modicum of psychometric quality among tools that ostensibly reflected his theory’s novel constructs, he was prompted (perhaps "driven" is a more accurate word) to consider undertaking the test-construction task himself. At that time, in early 1971, he fortunately was directing a research supervision group composed of psychologists- and psychiatrists-in-training during their internship and residency periods. All of them had read his MP text and found his suggestion that they work together with him to develop instruments to identify and quantify the text’s personality constructs to be both worthy and challenging.

Naively, it was assumed that the construction task could be completed in about 18 months, a time period that would allow several members of the research group to participate on a continuing basis. Despite the fact that a structured interview schedule was "postponed" after an initial effort, the "more limited" task of constructing a self-report inventory took almost seven years to complete. The framework and preliminary item selections of the inventory were well under way by the end of the first full year of work; it was described briefly in a book titled Research Methods in Psychopathology. The initial forms of this clinical instrument were called the Millon-Illinois Self-Report Inventory.


Psychodiagnostic instruments of the past were often an exercise in oracular craft and intuitive artistry. A change in the character of personality theory and assessment began to brew in the late 1960s. Slow though these advances progressed, there were clear signs that new ideas would soon emerge. Projective techniques such as the Rorschach began to be analyzed quantitatively and were increasingly anchored to the empirical domain. The so-called objective inventories, such as the MMPI, were being interpreted increasingly in terms of configural profiles. No longer approached as sets of separate scales, formerly segmented instruments were increasingly analyzed as holistic integrations that possessed clinical significance only as gestalt composites. In addition, the former insistence that diagnostic interpretation be "objective," that is, anchored solely to empirical correlates, gave way to clinical syntheses, including the "dynamics" of the previously maligned projectives. Although part-function instruments, oriented toward one expressive form of pathology or another (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory) are still popular, the newest tools moved increasingly toward composite structures, (i.e., "whole" personalities). These personality formulations were not conceived of as random sets or discrete attributes (i.e., factors) that must be individually deduced and then pieced together, but as integrated configurations from the start.

Leaving Chicago, Millon turned to new tasks, the rebuilding of a quality clinical program at the University of Miami and the development of a health psychology doctorate. He assumed editorial leadership of the first international journal on Psychology and Health, as well as of the much admired Journal of Personality Disorder, which soon became the official publication of the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders, which he co-founded. Accepting a joint appointment as a "permanent" visiting professor at Harvard University and McLean Hospital, he has been endowed at both academic settings with a group of magnificent students and colleagues. His affiliation with the recently established Institute for Advanced Studies in Personology and Psychopathology furnishes a fruitful base for future scholarly writings and research.

As is evident by the variety of "Millon" instruments reported in this book, he has judged it best to opt in favor of focusing an inventory on target rather than broad-based populations; hence, the MCMI is oriented toward matters of import among adult mental health patients, the MACI focuses on adolescent clinical populations, the MBHI and the forthcoming MBMC focus on those whose primary ailments are of a medical or physical nature, and the recently developed MIPS (Millon Index of Personality Styles) addresses traits among nonclinical or so-called normal adults (as can be seen, he has chosen the term "style" for persons who do not evince discernible psychic pathology).

It has been most gratifying that the defensively constructed MCMI, as well as its sister inventories, quickly matched in acceptance and clinical usage the theory upon which they were based.

The task of developing a complete clinical science continues as a goal for Millon. Integrative consonance is not an aspiration limited to ostensibly diverse sciences (e.g., evolutionary biology, cosmology), but is a worthy goal within each science. Particularly relevant in this regard are his efforts to coordinate the separate realms that comprise personality and psychopathology, namely: its theories, the classification system it has formulated, the diagnostic tools it employs, and the therapeutic techniques it implements.

References

Millon, T. (1969). Modern psychopathology. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Millon, T. (1972). Research methods in psychopathology. New York: Wiley.



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