The date today is the 12/12/12 and therefore an auspicious date on which to post my first blog.
I was accredited to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI® in September 2008. I was very fortunate because the facilitator was Mary MacGuiness. Mary has been training type professsionals since 1987 and her alumni would number in the thousands.
I was introduced to type theory by my brother (also trained by Mary). I remember he typed me as an ENTP, igniting my curiosity as to what these strange letters meant. He then lent me his copy of a book called Gifts Differing©1980 by Isobel Briggs Myers written with her husband Peter Myers (go to "Resources" to read my review) and my exploration of the world of type began. I learned of its beginings with Carl Gustav Jung and his "discovery" of patterns in human behaviour, the findings of which, were first published in his book Psychological Types© 1921. Translated from the original German in 1923, Jungs work found its way to the United States where it changed the lives of two remarkable women, Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isobel.
Being Typed is not being put into a box
Carl Jung at the end of his life was very clear about his stance on the value of theories in descibing the individual. In The Undiscovered Self written just three years before his death in 1961, he draws on the metaphor of a bed of pebbles in order to explain his position on theoretical knowledge.
"Since self knowledge is getting to know the individual facts, theories help very little in this respect. For the more a theory lays claim to universal validity, the less capable it is of doing justice to the individual facts. ...If, for instance, I determine the weight of each stone in a bed of pebbles and get an average weight of 145grams, this tells me very little about the real nature of the pebbles...The statisical method shows the facts in the light of an ideal average but does not give us a picture of their empirical reality...
There is, and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptons, for the object of self knowledge is an individual-a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon...He is not to be understood as a recurrent unit but as something unique and singular which in the last analysis can neither be known nor compared with anything else".
Carl G Jung The Undiscovered Self © 1958
Type theory is a wonderful tool for insight into understanding human behaviour but it does not deny the absolute uniqueness of each individual and the formation of self in the innate, the learned, our culture and our environment.