Safe, correct, ethical and beneficial use
What You’ll Achieve By Reading this Post
An understanding of what you might gain from reading these blogs.
A solid grasp of what Type is and what it is not.
An overview of some of the ways that Type can be applied safely, correctly, ethically and beneficially.
The year 2021 marks the centenary of the publication of Carl Gustav Jung’s Psychological Types in Germany. Google Psychological Types today (17 February 21), and you’ll get a list of 255 million results; absolute testimony to the fact that it’s very unlikely that Jung’s work is just going to quietly fade into history. Repeat the same exercise with Myers-Briggs Type, which was inspired by Jung’s Types, and you’ll return 25.7 million results. It’s here to stay.
Millions have benefited from using the model to lead more fulfilling lives and successfully tackle the classic difficulties in navigating life. From psychiatry to religious faith, from private to work-life, the model has inspired thousands of applications used one-to-one and in group work. It is the ongoing subject of rigorous academic debate and research.
This blog has a central aim: to encourage the correct use of Type in my community through the exploration of its practical application of it in a wide variety of situations. Ultimately, Type supports better decision-making through better data collection.
The internet has spawned many “free” online tests that claim to offer the chance to accurately identify your Type preferences. Sadly, that offer is, for many, many people, invalid. In his introduction to Psychological Types, Jung makes the simple but profound statement that our personalities are most often clouded. Whilst a free online report may point you in the right general direction, it is not, for the majority, your true Type. That can only be uncovered through a verification process with a trained Type practitioner. Type is a development system for people, and its use is not as straightforward as, say, Astrology which can be pinpointed through a time and date of birth. If only Type was as easily accessible.
Recruitment and selection. To label people, e.g. “I don’t get on with XXXX Types. To make excuses for what would generally be considered inappropriate or dangerous behaviour. To manipulate people. To impose your opinions on others. To devalue some Type preferences or to over-inflate your own. To mislead others about who you really are at heart.
There are some clear dangers here. Someone with a reported online preference for, say, Extraversion may just simply not recognise how to marshal and use his energy. This might lead to burnout and often does. In contrast, a verified Introvert has at her disposal the means of regulating her energy successfully and thereby avoiding possible health, work and life problems.
But I Don’t Know My Type!
Whilst I’m dipping into the technical world of Psychological Type as a source of inspiration, you don’t need to either know your own Type or understand the sometimes labyrinthian and arcane world of Carl Jung’s Psychological Types to benefit from it. There is a myriad of ways that practitioners have developed to make Type accessible to those who haven’t had the accreditation training. Some examples are temperaments, interaction styles, functional pairs and so on.
A Word on Professor Jung
I do not endorse everything Jung wrote, said and did, nor do I wholly agree with everything that has emerged from the Myers-Briggs Types’ work and research. I do, however, support Jung’s firm belief that we are all unique individuals but not to the exclusion of critical and essential relationships with other people.
Type is a Development Model or System
We are not a Type. We are unique individuals. Type does not necessarily determine behaviour. And Type identification is highly sensitive to specific contexts: health, career choice, parenting, and so on. We have Type preferences showing what we may choose to focus upon and how we may prefer to make decisions more often than not. Type does not, in my experience, offer off-the-shelf, easy solutions. It does, however, suggest a direction and approach for our full development as human beings that is likely to be unique for each of us. It is not a cage. I am not an INTJ. I merely have INTJ preferences. My development is, therefore, very likely to be different from the journey someone with ESFP preferences may wish to take, although some elements may be similar.
What You Need to Ask Yourself
In the last analysis, you need to ask yourself, do these ideas, data, values, and models fit with my personal experience of the real world of people and can they offer me some benefit or utility? Personally, I hold two important truths in mind, Carl Jung wanted to understand people with a concrete theory and model and, Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers and her son Peter Myers genuinely set out to help people realise their full potential. For me, that is good enough.
I was introduced to Myers-Briggs Type in 1987, got a licence to use the indicator in 1992 and have applied the model and the considerable research supporting it in one-to-one and group sessions as a consultant, lecturer and sometimes friend both inside and outside organisations. I must have introduced Type to over 500 people over the years. On a personal level, Type has been a means for me to develop myself and especially as follows:
- How I manage and maximise my energy levels;
- Recognising the signs of stress in myself and the steps I need to take to find equilibrium;
- In choosing a communication style that suits and supports others;
- In finding joy in recognising the strengths that folk with other preferences reveal to me, e.g. attention to detail, immediate warmth, and so on;
- Pausing to avoid leaping to conclusions when I fail to understand another person’s choices.
My bookshelf includes Type books and booklets on:
- Nature and technology;
- Type in organisations;
- Depth Typology.
I hope that these blogs give you pause for thought, some inspiration and ultimately, a means of getting fulfilment in life. As long as we’re all trying to do our best, that may be all that is necessary. I have found this is a journey well worth taking. Make no mistake, it is a journey much more than a destination.
Finally, my own use of Type and my use of it with other people is restricted to my qualifications and experience gained as a Human Resources consultant and professional, a management consultant and as a teacher.