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Carl Jung’s Theory concerning Personality Types Essay

This essay will give an introduction to Carl Jung and what started his research, the essay will discuss Carls Jung’s personality types and their characteristics and will also discuss the Myers Briggs type indicator. The essay will also discuss falsification of type as well as what Carl Jung believed to be the cure for falsification of type. Criticisms of personality type and MBTI will also be discussed and in conclusion this essay will discuss how we can use personality types and MBTI within our own work.

Carl Jung & The Beginning of Personality Theory
Carl Gustav Jung was born in Switzerland in 1875. His first choice of study was archaeology but he went to study medicine at the University of Basil and while working for the neurologist Krafft Ebing he settled on psychiatry. After graduating he took a position at the Burghoeltzli Mental Hospital, he also taught classes at the university in Zurich, had a private practice and invented word association. In 1907 Carl Jung met Freud in Vienna where the two are meant to have spent thirteen hours talking their friendship started off strong with Jung championing many Freudian ideas but over time their friendship began to deteriorate. Jung felt that Freud focused too much on sexuality and that Freud’s concept of the unconscious was too limited and negative. The official break up happened when Jung resigned from the international psychoanalytic congress. Then in 1913 Carl Jung had a dream, he dreamt that there was a monstrous flood engulfing Europe and lapping at the mountains of Switzerland. He saw thousands of people drowning and civilization crumbling. In the following weeks he continued to have disturbing dreams in which he dreamt of eternal winters and rivers of blood. Carl Jung thought he was becoming psychotic but on the 1st August WWI began and Jung felt there had been a connection between himself and the rest of humanity, thus began Jung’s painful journey of self-exploration which formed the basis for his theory’s.

Personality Theory Attitudes & Functions
Carl Jung determined that people act and react to stimulus and situations differently. He classified people into two different groups, depending on how they behaved. Jung called these two different groups attitudes and classified people as either extraverts or introverts; Extraverts – People who are extraverts are better able to deal with external stimulus such as people and objects. They search for things outside themselves to help fulfil them Introverts – People who are introverts are better able to deal with internal stimulus and look inside themselves for fulfilment. In addition to the two attitudes Jung further classified people into four functions types Sensory and Intuitive which refers to our preferred way of collecting information and Thinking and feeling which refers to the way we make decisions. Sensory – People who are more sensory tend to like specific answers and deal in facts and figures Intuitive – People who are more intuitive tend to prefer to gather information through ideas and theories.

Thinking – People who are thinkers tend to prefer to make decisions based on scientific fact and concrete truths. Feeling – People who make decisions on their feelings, trust in their emotions and sensitivities. The four functions and two attitudes made up Carl Jung’s original personality types it was later expanded on and two more functions where added which deal with the way people live their lives these are judgers and perceivers ; Judges – Prefer to live in an orderly way and prefer structure and organisation. Perceivers – Prefer to live more spontaneously and are more adaptive.

The theory was then used by Katharine Cook Brigg and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers who after studying Carl Jung’s work extensively turned the theory of psychological types to a practical use. They created the Myer Briggs indicator believing that knowledge of personality types would help woman during WWII who were entering the work place for the first time by identifying which jobs would be more comfortable and effective for them. MBTI focuses on a normal population and emphasizes the value of naturally occurring differences. The two attitudes and six functions types make up for sixteen different combinations which provides detailed characteristics and help us determine which of the types we belong to , each of us has a dominate function with the other three being less dominate. The combinations and some of the characteristics are as follows. ISTJ

People who fit in this category tend to be quiet, serious and earn success by thoroughness and dependability. They value traditions and loyalty.


People who fit in this category tend to be quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. They strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.


People who fit in this category tend to seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. They want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others.


People who fit in this category tend to have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. They can be sceptical and independent.


People who fit in this category tend to be tolerant and flexible they are quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions to the problems that may arise.


People who fit in this category tend to be quiet, friendly and sensitive. They like to have their own space and to work within their own time frame.


People who fit in this category tend to be idealistic and are loyal to their values and to people who are important to them.


People who fit in this category tend to seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, they are interested more in ideas than in social interaction.


People who fit in this category tend to be flexible and tolerant; they take a pragmatic approach and are focused on immediate results.


People who fit in this category tend to be outgoing, friendly, and accepting. They are lovers of life, people, and material comforts.


People who fit in this category tend to be enthusiastic and imaginative. They are spontaneous and flexible and often rely on their ability to improvise and or their language skills.


People who fit in this category tend to be quick, clever and outspoken. They are good at reading other people and can easily become bored by routine.


People who fit in this category tend to be practical and realistic. They act decisively and move quickly to implement decisions.


People who fit in this category tend to be warm hearted. They want harmony in their environment and work hard to establish and maintain it.


People who fit in this category tend to be warm, empathetic and responsible. They are highly attuned to the emotions and needs of others.


People who fit in this category tend to be blunt and decisive they assume leadership readily. They are usually well informed and well read. “Jung noted that it is not possible to use the attitudes of Extraversion and Introversion and the Judging and Perceiving functions independently of each other. People who prefer Extraversion will most likely focus their Perception and Judgment in the outer world while people preferring the Introverted attitude, when circumstances permit, will concentrate Perception and Judgment on ideas.”

Falsification of Type
In our lives we are not always able to work or live in a way that appeals to our strengths. This can happen for a variety of reasons either we are brought up in environments that are unsuitable to our personality types and we adapt to suit the situation or we may be financially unable to follow a career path that would be best suited to our personality type. A person may also be unaware of their strengths and may just have a feeling that they are not living the life they were meant to. Carl Jung believed that if we do not live or work in a way that best suites our personality type then we could develop a falsification of type. This occurs when we are forced to use our less predominate functions for long periods of time. Carl Jung believed that falsification of type could lead to many psychological problems.

Carl Jung described Falsification of Type as “a violation of the natural disposition,” and explained that whenever Falsification of Type takes place a person first becomes anxious and irritable and then if the condition continues a person becomes neurotic. Jung strongly believed that if there was a reversal of type it could be very harmful to the physiological well-being of a person and could often lead to an acute state of exhaustion. Research has been done which supports Jung’s theory and according to the research of Dr. Richard Haier of San Diego, when an individual is functioning from a style other than their natural lead style, the brain is forced to expend large amounts of energy trying to maintain the unnatural functions. The result is that the brain and brain-body system experience stress, chronic anxiety and exhaustion. Dr. Arlene Taylor worked with people suffering with PTSD and depression over an 11 year period and found that people living in a state of prolonged adaption appeared to display specific symptoms. There are eight commonly seen symptoms in people who appear to be suffering with a falsification of type theses are;

1) Fatigue – Prolonged adaption can require the brain to work up to 100 times harder.

2) Hyper vigilance – Prolonged adaption can create a state of hyper-vigilance as the brain goes on protective alertness. This is a safety mechanism and can show up in a variety of different ways 3) Immune System alteration – Falsifying Type can be thought of as the individual living a lie at some level. Lying can suppress immune system 4) Memory impairment – Cortisol, which is released under stress, can interfere with memory functions. 5) Altered brain chemistry – Prolonged adaption can interfere with hypothalamus and pituitary functions, which can interfere with hormonal balance. 6) Diminished frontal lobe functions – Prolonged adaption is a significant stressor, which can interfere with functions typically associated with the frontal lobes of the cerebrum.

7) Discouragement, fatigue and or depression – Prolonged adaption can lead to the repeated triggering of the conserve/withdraw reaction to stress. This can be especially true for introverted people although it is commonly observed in extroverted types who have been conditioned to introversion. This is far more common than most people (even researchers) believe. Discouragement tends to increase as fatigue increases, which often contributes to the development of depression

8) Self-esteem problems – .Any or all of the other symptoms can be contributed to diminished overall success in life, which directly affect self-esteem. Self-esteem issues can present as lack of confidence or lack of commitment to improving one’s outcomes Jung believed that the only way to cure falsification of type is to develop the functions and attitudes that people are naturally disposed towards. This is a long process where the sufferer will have to first identify their natural leanings and then work towards changing things within their lives so that their work, family and social lives’ are in balance with their natural strengths and attitudes.

Criticisms of Personality Types & MBTI
One of the main criticisms of personality types and the resulting MBTI is that it because it deals with the mind which is abstract it cannot be scientifically proven and that some of the personality types could be made to fit anyone as the use of the language and terms can be ambiguous. The MBTI also relies on a person answering questions about themselves and people may not be completely honest when answering those questions either because they are unaware of how they would react within a situation or that their perception of themselves is distorted. The way in which the questions are asked is also not specific so people may not know if the question is referring to the way they would react at work or the way they would react at home with friends and family. The MBTI also fails the double blind test in which participants do a test but are given a test done by someone else and asked if it fits them. Most of the participants find a way to make the results fit. One of the other arguments is that while it can be very useful in self-understanding it can also be used either intentionally or unintentionally to pigeonhole people. People are complex and fitting everyone into just sixteen different categories can limit peoples understanding of each other and themselves. It also could be used as an excuse for bad or inefficient behaviour.

Personality Types and the MBTI is still widely used today, the MBTI is used in company’s both big and small to understand and motivate staff and as a tool for management training. Personality Types and MBTI are also still used
by therapist’s to understand their clients, as well as giving the therapist an idea of which therapeutic tools are best suited for each individual client. It can be used either by allowing the client to do a MBTI test that the therapist has acquired from a reputable source (not just a downloaded from the internet) or the therapist can lead a client through a process which will enable the therapist to discern which characteristics the client may lean towards. It is worth saying that an inexperienced therapist may face problems in trying to discern a client’s personality leanings without using a test or formal questions as it takes training and experience to be able to read a client effectively.

Despite its critics personality types can be used as one of the tools a therapist can utilise to assist them in the treatment of clients as long as the therapist is aware of the potential problems with using the personality type or a MBTI test , such as pigeonholing a client into a specific category or allowing the client to use their personality type as an excuse or a crutch. Using the theory in balance with other treatments and being aware of some of the problems that may arise from using the personality types or a MBTI test can allow the therapist to approach the treatment of a client in a well-rounded and balanced way that is both beneficial and productive.


Author & publish date unknown MBTI type today

Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi, Understanding Yourself and Others: An Introduction to the Personality Type Code

C. George Boeree Copyright 1997, 2006

http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

https://coremap.com/index.php/books-and-articles/38-personality/124-falsification-of-type.html Written by Sherry Buffington
Monday, 14 May 2012 10:28

Jessica Phillips


Jackie Bock

Carl Jung Personality Types & MBTI

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