Secrets of Psychotherapy (Part 3): What’s Your Psychological Type?

I have to agree and disagree with the article.  I have taken batteries (as the professional term goes) of tests for career placement and professional development.  Myers-Briggs is one of the most basic ones and it is important that your test results change slightly over time and are not absolute.  I always tested as ISTJ or ESTJ.  That is because I score almost zero (right in the middle) on the Intro and Extra scale.  My career tests said the same:  I am both right and left-mind person.  I can best pursue careers in art/design or supervision/management.  The population and the first paragraph of this article misunderstand both terms.  All it means in Jung's jargon is when a person is drained how do they discharge?  An Intro person needs to be alone and quiet and an Extra person needs to get on the phone speaking to others.  It is not about sociability.  I am so glad I took family health in college and I am amazed how wrong common people (aka the public) are about Intro/Extra, being senile, and many other things.  It is interesting to read the article anyway.

By Dr. Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. on June 19, 2008

Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung formally introduced his theory of typology to the world in the classic text Psychological Types (1921). People are sometimes surprised to learn that Jung's book is the basis for the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and the less well known Gray-Wheelwright Test and Singer-Loomis Type Deployment Inventory (SL-TDI). While these Jungian systems of type testing can be interesting–formulating complex permutations of introversion, extraversion, feeling, thinking, sensation, intuition, judging and perceiving–as a psychotherapist, I have always found Jung's primary notions of introversion and extraversion to be the most clinically useful.

Here is a super quick, easy and, in my view, fairly accurate way to determine your own basic typology: When you're down, stressed, burnt-out, overwhelmed, drained or exhausted, what do you want to do to feel better? What works best to recharge your battery?Typically, there are two kinds of responses to this question. What's yours? Note it now. We'll come back to this soon.

For Jung, there were essentially two types of people; introverts andextraverts. These were Jung's terms, for which he gives specific definitions. While his term introversion is today widely used as a synonym for shyness, introversion is not necessarily shyness. But there is a close relationship between shyness and introversion, which Jung felt (and I fully agree) is largely an innate tendency. (This strongly contradicts a recent post here on shyness claiming little or no congenital influence at all! ) Introversion is a turning inward toward the interior world of ideas, feelings, fantasies, intuitions, sensations, and other facets of subjective experience. The introverted type finds most of his or her meaning and satisfaction not in the outer world of people, objects, things, accomplishments, but rather in the interior life, the inner world. Extraverts, on the other hand, live almost exclusively in and for the exterior world, deriving fulfillment from regular interaction with outer reality.

Of course, no person is completely introverted or extraverted. These are two extreme poles on a continuum which we all occupy. A majority of us lean toward the extraverted orientation, placing true introverted types in the statistical minority in most westernized cultures. Indeed, introversion tends to be stigmatized in our culture, pathologized, and deemed abnormal. When introversion is extremely one-sided, it can become pathological shyness, social phobia, schizoid personality, autism or even psychosis: a total detachment from outer reality. Extreme extraversion can manifest in compulsive activity, workaholism, mania and addictive behaviors (e.g., sex addiction) serving the purpose of avoiding introversion or self-reflection at any cost. Some rhythmic balance between introversion and extraversion is essential for mental health. Introversion and extraversion appear to be innate temperaments or personality traits which can be and are, however, influenced by environment. For example, in a highly extraverted society like the United States, or an extraverted family, introversion is often discouraged starting in childhood, with extraversion being encouraged as the social norm. As a result, many naturally introverted types strive to become extraverts, developing an extraverted persona, but inexplicably, feel chronically anxious, fatigued or depressed. This could also occur when an extraverted type is constrained by a socially or religiously imposed façade of introversion. Sometimes, extreme extraversion or introversion can stem from too much of its opposite, a compensatory reaction of the psyche.

Read the rest of the article


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