Presenting Type Dynamically
Jeanne Marlowe, M.A. INFP

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Step 2: Self-Select Preferences

Most participants are able to tentatively select all 4 preferences and want to know what the large Ss, Ns, Ts, and Fs on the type chart mean. A humorous handout, Pumpkin Soup, gives Sensing, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Feeling directions to exemplify the characteristic way each dominant approaches a task. I refer to the Thomson definitions, given above. Most participants agree that they usually do ask the questions listed for their dominant and auxiliary preferences.

Step 3: Correlate With Instrument Results

Begin Step 3, correlating self-selections with instrument results, by giving participants their type instrument results. Encourage participants to question instrument accuracy on any dichotomy that differs from their self-selection. Assure them that they can get useful information from these discrepancies. A type instrument may tap into what’s going on in a person’s life instead of usual orientation. If anyone wants to discuss a discrepancy, group discussion can provide needed caution both for those who assume the instrument is right and for enthusiasts who believe they can type others. It’s okay to delay deciding; even type professionals sometimes change their mind (Kerr, 2003). Questions participants may ponder to resolve discrepancies include:

  1. When taking the instrument, did you have work in mind? Are work habits different from habits at home? Sometimes scores reflect the work persona or atmosphere.
  2. Did you answer according to the way you want to be or think you should be?
  3. Were you under stress when you took the instrument?
  4. Are you going through a transition?
  5. Is one facet out of pattern? (When no MBTI Step II results are available, a participant may give information suggesting a facet that is causing the discrepancy.)

It’s important to acknowledge that young people may not have developed a type and those beyond midlife may no longer identify with a type.

Step 4: Verify accuracy of type description

A type chart with brief descriptors helps those still unsure of their type to review each type they are considering. I use Sandra Hirsh’s “Team Frustrations and Type Dialogue” (modified by underlining the dominants) to orient everyone. I ask whether they have heard the frustration listed for their type and whether they agree with the response. For example, I say to INTJs, “Stop being so stubborn.” They respond, “A team’s vision that’s well thought out is worth fighting for.” I continue this dialogue for each type represented. Recognizing the accuracy of the frustrations and the corresponding contributions, most participants gain appreciation for type diversity.

Participants then verify the accuracy of longer descriptions, such as Myers (1990 or 1998). I record the number of participants selecting each type on the type chart and form type-alike groups to discuss specific questions customized to the group’s interest and purpose. Most groups need only 20 minutes to respond to 4-5 questions. If more time is available, I encourage the groups to draw, sing, or act out what they want others to know about their type. As these groups report their answers to the whole group, most participants become confident of their type and feel affirmed rather than stereotyped. I conclude each type’s report by showing Ellis Harsham’s prayer for the type.

A good report-out strategy is to ask for the type-alike group reports by dominants. For example, after reports from Introverted Feeling types (ISFP and INFP), ask for reports from Extraverted Feeling types (ESFJ and ENFJ). Participants begin to see the importance of the large letters on the type chart and the differences between introverting and extraverting the functions. Before summarizing the group composition, ask whether anyone wants to report a type change. Some do; one Information Technology supervisor changed from ESTP to ISTP, and his team applauded the better fit of his new prayer: “God, help me to consider people’s feelings, even if most of them are hypersensitive!”

Dominant Functions

Discussing dominant functions may provide additional verification of type preference. Usually there is no time for formal presentation of all eight dominants, but point them out as they emerge spontaneously. For example, a participant asked, "What do you do when your boss gives you too many projects, all with the same priority deadline?" A person who identified her preferences as ESTJ replied, "I'd take them to the boss and discuss the priorities." A coworker with ISTJ preferences disagreed, "I'd look through them and do the ones I could do quickly." Make the group aware of type dynamics by asking what preferences are being revealed. The group easily sees the E-I difference and begins to hear the different selective filter of the dominant, in this case, extraverted thinking versus introverted sensing. Referring to the type chart reinforces the different dynamics of these two similar types.

Emphasize the importance of the dominant’s selective filter. I use Thomson’s (1998 and Bentz, 2004) brain map to show how the 4 functions split into diagonal brain quadrants when differentiated by a preference for introversion or extraversion. This split illustrates the similarities between extraverted Sensation and iNtuition, which originate in the same brain quadrant, and helps explain why those preferring an extraverted function often regard its introverted use as a misuse. Similarly those preferring an introverted function often regard its extraverted use as a misuse or shallow.

I point out that it’s usually harder to understand the introverted dominants. Often accused of withholding, Introverts can blindside us because of the depth of their dominant and the tension between it and their J-P preference.

I can give many examples of my failure to make clear my dominant introverted feeling values. Because they so obviously guide me, I assume they must be visible. I choose an example most pertinent to participants, such as my ongoing difficulty in giving my daughter with ENFP preferences the praise she needs and deserves. It is easier for me to caution her about overextending herself than to say I love her. An ISTJ reports that others see his desire for order and expect him to perform like an extraverted Thinker. They overlook the importance of his dominant perceiving function.

Even though there are useful generalizations regarding each of the 4 function, each looks quite different when introverted or extraverted. My type chart rolls the top row of the traditional chart to the bottom in order to emphasize this distinction. It keeps together types who introvert and extravert the same function. For example, ISTJs and ESTJs introvert Sensation and extravert Thinking.

Page 5, Presenting Type Dynamically >>>

Jeanne Marlowe, M.A. INFP
Consultant, Writer and Facilitator


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