Joseph P. Santoro, Ph.D.


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I earned a B.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Hofstra University. After graduate school I worked for a while as a behavioral consultant and developed applied and research interests in various areas, including personality disorders, psychosis, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, and behavioral assessment. Postgraduate credentials I have earned include a Certificate of Proficiency in Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders from the American Psychological Association College of Professional Psychology, and Diplomate status in Forensic Psychology for Trauma/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Clinical Psychology from the American College of Forensic Examiners.

I am currently co-owner and chief operating/clinical officer of Supervised Lifestyles Behavioral Health Systems (SLS). SLS was jointly founded by myself and Alfred S. Bergman, M.S., in 1986 with the goal of providing residential and outpatient care to adults with behavioral health disorders. Today SLS maintains inpatient facilities with 52 beds as well as outpatient programs and services. A number of our patients have been diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder and the availability of so many members of this population has afforded us a wealth of clinical experience and insights into the world of this disorder. My book, The Angry Heart, with exercises by SLS consultant Ronald Jay Cohen, Ph.D., ABAP (Santoro & Cohen, 1997), was designed to be a self-help treatment guide for people who have borderline personality disorder. Another area of clinical and research interest for us at SLS has been assessment in behavioral health care. More specifically, we have had a long-standing interest in the development of assessment systems that can make assessment optimally efficient while helping to ensure that therapeutic interventions are optimally effective.

Our interest in computer-assisted psychological assessment arose from practical, everyday concerns. We needed an efficient way to conduct comprehensive intake evaluations and detailed, day-to-day updates in client status as a function of therapy, medication, and other interventions. Over the course of a number of years, we developed a system that combines information from staff behavioral observation and impressions, with a number of other sources of information (ranging from psychosocial history to current medication) to yield quick and efficient access to key information about clients. The system, developed by myself with colleagues (Santoro, Bergman, & Cohen, 1994), is called TEM-2000, TEM being an acronym for Treatment/Evaluation Manager. With TEM-2000 we can readily integrate key historical data with information about current presenting problems, and assess risk for harm to oneself or others. We can develop intervention approaches informed by a variety of sources. Moreover, we can assess the consistency with which our staff implements interventions and track all of the activities and incidents that patients are involved in. The system also allows for instant illustration of many of the electronic records via helpful graphics.

My advice to prospective developers of tests or other tools of psychological assessment is threefold: (1) Obtain a sound foundation in measurement. Learn basic principles employed in testing and assessment by reading textbooks such as Cohen and Swerdlik (1999), measurement-related journal articles, test manuals, and reviews of tests. (2) Evaluate the needs of the market for a test you would like to develop. Ask yourself questions such as, "Who would use this new test?" and "Why would potential users of this test choose it instead of something that is already available?" If possible, speak to prospective users of your planned test and let them advise you as to the pros and cons

of the test you have in mind. (3) Believe in yourself and in the test you wish to develop. The process of test development, including the creation of a test, the standardization of a test, the norming of a test, and the writing of technical and/or administration manuals will typically take years. And even after all of that, the end will not be in sight; test revision is a continuous process. A strong belief in yourself and your test will see you through the inevitable frustrations, while enhancing the many sources of gratification along the way.


Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (1999). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (4th ed.). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.

Santoro, J. P., Bergman, A. S., & Cohen, R. J. (1994). TEM (Treatment/Evaluation Manager)—"2000. Brewster, NY: Supervised Lifestyles.

Santoro, J. P., & Cohen, R. J. (1997). The angry heart: Overcoming borderline and addictive disorders. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

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