Posts tagged: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator


By , April 25, 2008 2:48 pm


Differences So Vast You Can’t Imagine

People are so different in their basic personality and learning styles, talents, and goals that you simply cannot understand anyone deeply without using the Focused Listening skill.

However, personality differences are actually so great that it can be as if the other person sees the world in a completely different way. Even Focused or Empathic Listening may not be enough for you to grasp how different the other person is from you.

At Creative Edge Focusing ™ , we use a variety of personality tests and measures of individual difference  like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or The Enneagram to make this point about individual differences and uniqueness. We are more interested in getting people to consider the depth and range of individual differences than we are allied with any one measure.

When you really become embattled with someone who is widely different from you, you believe that the person must be from a different planet. They must be crazy. They are evil.  All you know is that they are not like you – and that they are not okay. They represent a threat to how you see the world, and you have to get rid of them. This misunderstanding about deep personality differences, or basic differences in ways-of- seeing- the- world, is the root of much violence in this world.

Almost everyone has had such a clash, for instance the stereotypical clash between masculine and feminine, between Thinker and Feeler, between the responsible Ant and the playful Grasshopper as portrayed in numerous films. These clashes are violent. They destroy relationships, families, students, and business relationships.

In the weeks of this cycle, you will find descriptions of some of our favorite measures of individual differences  and links to online tests and more complete descriptions. We suggest that you try out lots of different measures and even several different versions of the same measure, building an “intuitive sense” of your own personality and style rather than rigidly forcing yourself into a pigeon hole, and also trying out various approaches to understanding your family, friends, and colleagues.

Below, you’ll find descriptions and links for the MBTI and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. The MBTI is meant to be given by certified professionals expert in its administration and interpretation (although there are self-scoring versions available). The Keirsey is a user-friendly, less professional version based upon the same Jungian theory.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) : Differing Gifts

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), widely used in business and education, is one way to understand the “differing gifts” of each individual. Based upon psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theory, The MBTI measures two orientations (Introversion vs. Extroversion; Judging vs. Perceiving), and four psychological functions (Sensing vs. iNtuition ; Thinking vs. Feeling).

Scoring creates 16 distinct personality types, each described with four letters (INFJ; ESTP; ENTJ, etc.). However, there are further complexities. For instance, in each type, two of the four functions are introverted; two are extroverted . You need a chart to figure that out (click here to find a chart, along with Dr. McGuire’s summaries, in her article, “Jung, MBTI, and Experiential Theory. For more on masculine and feminine, Thinking and Feeling, according to Jung, Gilligan, and Gendlin, see McGuire’sThe Body As A Source Of Knowledge ).

The MBTI has been administered to millions in education and business settings, and individuals are surprised to recognize themselves in the personality descriptions. Much research has also shown that MBTI personality types accurately predict career choices (Myers, Gifts Differing, Consulting Psychologists Press, 1980, link to Even more importantly, the MBTI is widely used in business for personnel decisions and to develop teams that are balanced in terms of contributions from different personality types.

Personality Differences Are Vast, Inexplicable

At a workshop, the trainers had all the Introverts sit at a table together for lunch, and all of the Extroverts at a different table.  The Introverts ran out of things to say and excused themselves quickly, needing time to gather energy by taking a walk alone or taking a nap or meditating or reading quietly before the next session.

The Extroverts filled up every silence, competing for turns to talk rather than listening to each other. They could have talked forever, gathering energy from the interaction regardless of whether they understood each other.

The Association for Personality Types ( ) makes it clear that the MBTI should be administered by a trained professional who can appropriately explain and interpret test scores. However, for an informal idea of your Jungian personality type, we can suggest the following websites. Take several different versions of the tests for greater clarity:

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter: Four Basic Temperaments

Keirsey and Bates (Please Understand Me, Prometheus Nemesis, 1984) trace how, since earliest written reports, humans have continuously defined each other into four types, basically “fire, water, air, and earth” in many different versions.

Please Understand Me  (link to includes a self-administered test derived from the Myers Briggs (MBTI) which produces the same 16 personality types marked by four letters (INFJ, ENFJ, ESTJ, etc.) as the MBTI. The book also includes excellent descriptions of learning, leadership, and relationship styles of the various types. This book is an excellent bargain, since it includes a test equivalent to the Myers Briggs plus user-friendly theory for about $15.

The description of the SP learning style, and its clash with the traditional SJ orientation of the majority of school administrators and teachers, provides a positive way of understanding children diagnosed as “ADHD” and their clash with traditional education.

In Please Understand Me II  (link to (Prometheus Nemesis, 1998) Keirsey further develops  his own typology of the four basic “temperaments,” which he calls, after Plato’s categories, Artisans (The Fox), Guardians (The Beaver), Idealists (The Dolphin), and Rationals (The Owl). He discusses forms of intelligence, social roles, self-image, values, and interests of each temperament. His book includes the original MBTI-like test and a new one for his four temperaments. It also has chapters on Mating, Parenting, and Leading according to the different temperaments.

Keirsey, in describing the SP learner as his Artisan, provides a further positive description of the hands-on, active learning style of those called “ADHD” and “ADD” in our educational systems. His descriptions validate the many positive attributes of this “learning and personality style” which can be capitalized upon rather than denigrated. See Dr. McGuire’s article, “Don’t Fight ‘Em, Join ‘Em: A Community-Wide Intervention for ADHD, School Failure, and Juvenile Delinquency for more.

Best bargain: buy Please Understand Me and get the test as well as useful information about the sixteen types. You can use the test over and over again with friends and family.

You can take a brief Four Temperaments test online for free, to discover if you are an Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, or Rational,  but, in order to also get your one of the sixteen Jungian-based types and a full report, you will be asked to pay a small charge. Keirsey’s website contains lots of interesting information, for instance, his ratings of personality types of US Presidents and other famous people:  (short, free quiz; small charge for longer report)

Exercise for the week:  visit the websites and take several versions of these tests, with friends and family and coworkers if possible, discussing varying personality styles discovered.

See blog Interpersonal Focusing and Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication and use the links at the top to download Dr. McGuire’s Chapter Five: Interpersonal Focusing, in English and Spanish, with complete instructions for using the Interpersonal Focusing method (from her self-help manual Focusing in Community (Focusing en Comunidad).

See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 

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