Article on Psychological Types and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Jung in his Own Words
"PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES AND THE MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR"
Adele Tyler, M.S.S.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
2:30 - 4:40 pm
Green Hills Library Meeting Room
3701 Benham Avenue
Many people are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) but fewer understand Jung's theories upon which this famous personality indicator is based. Please join us as certified MBTI consultant Adele Tyler discusses Jung's book Psychological Types and its relation to the MBTI. Tyler will also compare the MBTI with other personality systems like the enneagram and discuss how these concepts might be put to good use in one's personal and professional life.
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Historical Perspective on Jung's Psychological Types
One of Jung's earliest works was Psychological Types, published in 1921 and in English in 1923. The theories he developed in this book germinated during his years (1912-1917) of personal reflection and exploration of his own unconscious following his break with Freud. In Jung's memoir Memories, Dreams, and Reflections he looks back on this period in his life:
"I can say that I never lost touch with my initial experiences. All my works, all my creative activity, has come from those initial fantasies and dreams which began in 1912, almost fifty years ago. Everything that I accomplished in later life was already contained in them...The years when I was pursuing my inner images were the most important in my life - in them everything essential was decided. It all began then; the later details are only supplements and clarifications of the material that burst forth from the unconscious, and at first swamped me. It was the prima materia for a lifetime's work." (p. 192 and p.199)
After years of little writing or research, this "fallow period" came to an end with his return to writing, in 1918, when he began work on Psychological Types. As to his motive for researching and writing about different personality types, Jung said:
"This work sprang originally from my need to define the ways in which my outlook differed from Freud's and Adler's. In attempting to answer this question, I came across the problem of types; for it is one's psychological type which from the outset determines and limits a person's judgment. My book, therefore, was an effort to deal with the relationship of the individual to the world, to people and things. It discussed the various aspects of consciousness, the various attitudes the conscious mind might take toward the world, and thus constitutes a psychology of consciousness regarded from what might be called a clinical angle...The book on types yielded the insight that every judgment made by an individual is conditioned by his personality type and that every point of view is necessarily relative." (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp.206-207).
Jung first delineated two basic types, or attitudes, which he called extraversion and introversion:
"I have long been struck by the fact that besides the many individual differences in human psychology there are also typical differences. Two types especially become clear to me; I have termed them the introverted and the extraverted types. . . the fate of one individual is determined more by the objects of his interest, while in another it is determined more by his own inner self, by the subject." (Psychological Types, Introduction, p. 3).
In other words, the extraverted attitude is focused more on the outer world, which Jung called the object, and the introverted attitude is turned inward, toward the inner self, or subject. He said that these two types were found in all societies, distributed at random, with no correlation with class, gender, or any other factor. He theorized that this type difference "must have some kind of biological foundation," (Ibid,p. 331), an idea being validated by neuroscientists today.
Jung concluded that Freud's psychology was based on an orientation to the outer world (object) and the repression of wishes in relation to one’s environment and was therefore an extraverted psychology; whereas Adler's psychology was based in the theory of ego and the superiority of the subject (inner world) and was therefore introverted. This helped him explain the conflict between these two schools of psychology.
Jung went on to describe four "functions," two of which concern how a person uses the mind to perceive, or take in information (sensing and intuition); and two functions to judge, or make decisions, about that information (thinking and feeling). In Psychological Types he discusses how each of the four functions is used in either an extraverted or introverted attitude, which makes a total of eight functions. This eight function approach has gained in favor in recent years through the work of John Beebe.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was developed by the mother/daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers, who developed a questionnaire based on Jung's theories of type. The questionnaire was first used during the World War II years as part of the war effort, to help people (particularly women entering the workforce for the first time) decide what jobs they were best suited for. To Jung’s original three categories, Briggs and Myers added the category of judging/perceiving to show whether a person’s dominant function was a Perceiving function or a Judging Function.
- Extraversion/Introversion (Attitudes) E or I
- Sensing/Intuition (the Perceiving Functions) S or N
- Thinking/Feeling (the Judging Functions) T or F
- Judging/Perceiving (Attitudes) J or P
The MBTI became the most widely used personality test in the world and is used extensively in the fields of career counseling, education, and individual and family counseling. This is but one example of how Jung's theories have been popularized, if sometimes misused and misunderstood. Before the MBTI was developed, Jung himself was critical of how his theories on personality had begun to be used in a simplistic manner, saying in a forward to the 1934 edition of his book:
"the opinion has got about that my method of treatment consists in fitting patients into this system and giving them corresponding 'advice.' This regrettable misunderstanding completely ignores the fact that this kind of classification is nothing but a childish parlor game . . . My typology is far rather a critical apparatus serving to sort out and organize the welter of empirical material, but not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight." (Psychological Types, Forward to Argentine Edition, 1934).
The MBTI and Jung’s theories behind it are valuable tools to enhance self-knowledge and relationships of all kinds. But using these tools is more an art than a science, and we would do well to heed Jung’s advice that we view his ideas on personality type as theories that enrich our understanding of ourselves and others in a general way Tests like the MBTI offer clues, rather than facts, as to our personal preferences for relating to the world and using our mental faculties, and these categories of behaviors can never explain the totality of any individual.
Sunday, November 19
"Psychological Types and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator"
2:30 - 4:30 pm
Green Hills Library
(for details see article above)
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Membership Open House
Social gathering for members, with food, drink, and conversation! Invitations will be sent in December, with instructions on joining or renewing membership by paying 2018 membership dues in order to attend
. . .
Sunday, February 18th, 2-4 pm
Green Hills Library
Dr. Cynthia Candelaria, Jungian analyst from Philadelphia, will present a talk on fairy tales.
. . .
Friday, April 6th and Saturday, April 7th -
Dr. James Hollis returns for a lecture, "Living More Fully in the Presence of Mortality" on Friday night and a Saturday workshop, "Living the Examined Life: Tasks for the Second Half of Life."
Jung in His Own Words
"WHAT DID YOU DO AS A CHILD THAT MADE THE HOURS
PASS LIKE MINUTES? HEREIN LIES THE KEY
TO YOUR EARTHLY PURSUITS."
“Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”