Following are some guidelines I promote in every type training or feedback session I do. They are course corrections partly based on the sort of misunderstandings I’ve encountered whenever I talk to the general public about type (especially at conferences). I share them with you in hopes they may impact your approach to working with type as well.
- Watch your language.
Take care not to label others as if they are "parts" (T’s, F’s, S’s, N’s, Thinkers, Feelers, etc.) as this violates the principle of PREFERENCES.
Always treat the processes as verbs not nouns; i.e., "Thinking" not "Thinkers."
Always aim to be inviting in your language not imposing. The MBTI® is an indicator not a dictator.
- Strive to recognize and type behavior, not people.
The Argentine edition of Psychological Types provides Jung’s admonitions thus:
"My typology is far rather a critical apparatus serving to sort out and organize the welter of empirical material, but not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight. It is . . . a critical psychology dealing with the organization and delimitation of psychic processes that can be shown to be typical."
- Do not put more weight on J & P than it deserves.
Do not contribute to inaccurate J/P mythology.
- Be cautious about what passes for a type "opposite."
Having no letters in common does not necessarily lead to opposition or deadlocks.
- MBTI™ is a brand name, not the name of the model.
Do not confuse clients around this distinction. As Isabel Myers wrote, "The purpose of the MBTI is to make the theory of psychological types by C.G. Jung practical and useful."
- Do not give anyone their MBTI result until they first have an opportunity to interact with the model and reach a conclusion about their own best-fit pattern.
Do not engage in "test and tell."
Never let an MBTI result take precedence over a client’s self-assessment.
Make it okay for people to leave the session without knowing what their type pattern is.
- Do not give clients back their actual "scores."
These are too often misinterpreted as "strength" of a process or "proof" of a preference.
- Do not permit inaccurate distinctions.
For instance, everybody wants the big picture; nobody likes details; everybody has a bad memory; nobody likes change; and it’s not just Catalysts (NFs) who are "people persons." Do not invent or perpetuate non-existent, demeaning comparisons (or stereotypes) just to make the model seem more blatant.
- Be sensitive to the atmosphere.
If clients seem to be "checking out," if you encounter silence, or if you notice certain types being marginalized, take it as feedback that perhaps all the type patterns are not being treated as "healthy," and this powerful tool is being used as a weapon.
- Extra credit.
You get extra credit in my book for enforcing the rule that if you say something about one Temperament, then you must likewise say something about the other three as well, be the observation positive or negative.