Many theories of Psychological Type are based on the work of Carl Jung. Originally Jung looked at ways of perceiving information and making decisions, and whether these are inwardly or outwardly directed.
Subsequent work by Isabel Briggs Myers developed questions of psychological preferences across 4 dichotomies to help get to those underlying Jungian functions, and this method has become one of the more commonly used approaches.
These dichotomies are:
- where you prefer to focus your attention,
- how you prefer to take information,
- how you make decisions and evaluations, and
- how you deal with the world around you.
The theory suggests that there are two opposite ways of approaching each of these and that everybody will have a natural tendency towards one over the other. This does not mean, however, that we cannot consciously behave in the opposite way if we wish to, but it is likely to take more effort and be less enjoyable. One's Type preferences across these four dichotomies combine together to give a rich picture of an individual.
There are no better or worse Types - each has its potential gifts and pitfalls. It is also important to note that type does not imply ability, it is about motivation, energy and natural tendencies.
There are a variety of questionnaires, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®) that can help you to find out your psychological type. The results of the questionnaire are used together with a feedback discussion to help you to discover what your psychological type is. Each of the four dichotomies are explored during the feedback discussion. Through discussion, the client decides which of each pair is his/her preference or natural tendency.
To explore your Psychological Type, contact one of our registered Type practitioners. Click on the 'Find a Type Practitioner' button at the top right.
Use the following information for some idea what Type is about. However please note that it is only an introduction. The four dichotomies, in more detail, are:
One : Where you focus your energy and attention
Extraversion and Introversion in this context are not reflective of the everyday use of these terms. Sociability is not implied here.
- Focus attention outwards
- Energised by interacting with others & from taking action
- Ideas develop by talking them out with others
- Have a broad range of interests and friends
- Do not like to spend much time in own company
- Like to interact with large groups and many people
- Focus attention inwards
- Energised by thoughts and taking in experiences
- Think through ideas before discussing them
- Have a deeper and smaller range of interests and friends
- Content to spend a considerable amount of time in own company
- Like to interact with small groups
Two: What type of information you prefer to use & trust
- Prefer to attend to and trust tangible and real information
- Like to have the details
- Want to see a practical use
- Are focused on the present
- Trust past experience
- Like to verify information
- Tend to remember details and facts
- Prefer to attend to and trust ideas and inspiration
- Like to see overall patterns
- Like theories and ideas
- Are focused on the future
- Trust inspiration and vision
- Like to try out ideas
- Will remember details if they relate to a pattern
- Tend to see the big picture
- Enjoy using imagination
Three: How you make decisions or evaluate things
- Use logic: cause and effect, pros and cons
- Tend to step out of a situation and look at it objectively
- Have a sense of detachment from tasks or situations
- Can appear ‘tough-minded’
- More likely to criticise or find fault than praise
- Like to find solutions
- Task focused
- Implement ‘fairness’ by treating everybody equally
- Use values: what is important to them and to others
- Tend to step into a situation and identify with it
- Have a sense of attachment to tasks and situations
- Can appear ‘tender-hearted’
- More likely to praise and compliment than criticise
- Like to empathise
- People focused
- Implement ‘fairness’ by treating everybody as individuals
Four: How you deal with the world around you
- Tend to try and organise and structure the outer world
- Are energised & satisfied by getting closure
- Like to be organised and planned
- Can be seen as decisive
- Stressed by last minute rushes
- Tend to compartmentalise and order things
- Tend to want to experience life as it comes
- Prefer to leave options open
- Feel constrained by plans and structure
- Can be seen as casual or laid back
- Energised by last minute rushes
- Tend to see things as open ended
- Appear spontaneous
You are the best judge of your Type, so it’s up to you to make the final decision about your Type. The questionnaire, and this exercise, are both just an indicator of your possible Type.
Also, remember, whilst learning about your own Type is very useful for personal development, it is also important to learn about the other types so that you can relate to them better.
Once you have decided which four are your likely preferences, read the description of your whole Type on the next page. If you have still not decided which four letters best suit you, read a few of the descriptions and see which one best describes you.