The Basics about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

9 Mar

As a Certified Administrator of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I like to introduce the instrument with some background information. First, a bit of history: The MBTI originated from the work of Carl Jung, the brilliant Swiss psychologist whose work was based on “individual psychology,” a person’s unique path to wholeness.
In the United States, this work was transformed into a personality type indicator by a mother-daughter team, Myers and Briggs. Three out of the four pairs of opposites which are gauged on the MBTI come directly from Jung’s work, while the fourth pair (called life style preference) was developed by Myers and Briggs.
Today I will give some very basic information about each of these pairs of opposites, to be followed up by four posts on each of the pairs. The first pair of opposites (Introversion versus Extroversion) has to do with where we get our energy. Introverts (I) get their energy from their own Inner World, and Extroverts get their energy from everything in the external world. Our source of energy is clearly key to how we function in our work and in our relationships.
The second pair of opposites (Sensing versus Intuition) has to do with how we perceive things. Sensing people (S) perceive the world through all the five senses (hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, tasting) and therefore perceive things factually. By contrast, Intuitive persons (N) use a “sixth sense” which is partially based on pattern recognition. Instead of asking the “S” questions, How, When, What, Who, Where ?, they ask the question, Why?

The third pair of opposites answers the question, “How do we value the world,” or “On what basis do we make our decisions?” These opposites are Thinking (T) and Feeling (F). Persons who prefer Thinking base their decisions on commonly held, or even universal, truths. They operate on principles with which others will readily agree. Feeling (F) persons espouse their own values and act upon these. For example, if a Feeling person holds the value of compassion or courage, he or she will most likely try to behave according to that value in their everyday lives.
The fourth pair of opposites refers to the life style preferences Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). Judging persons are not necessarily judgmental, but they do prefer having routines, goals, and closure to situations. They are in general more serious than their opposites, the P types. A Perceiving person is generally NOT planful; rather this individual may be spontaneous, playful, and responsive to events in the moment. Ps generally do not have goals but are tireless in pursuit of something they love doing.
At Beyond the Horizons Consulting, the MBTI is just one tool we use to help our clients in their personal and professional lives. However, it is a good first step is accepting who you are and in learning something about the 15 other types, some of whom may inhabit your world!

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