JUNGIAN THEORY IN PERSONALITY ASSESSMENTS
Jungian Theory in Personality Assessments
On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI), I scored ENFJ. ENFJ personality breaks down into traits that are extraverted, intuition, feeling, and judging. Mostly, I would agree with this assessment of my personality. However, I feel it is a limited, as many others have criticized. Jung asserts that extraverts project their energies outward to others and their environment and characterizes these people as sociable. I feel I embody this description to a point. I would be more inclined to believe that it is a better measure of sociability. I disagree that personality type is affected by heredity, seeing as how neither one of my parents is ENFJ, and only my father scored as an extravert. In addition, I don’t agree that personality is static throughout an entire lifetime. Jung’s personality theory neglects attention to childhood development and major events affecting adult development. I feel that I am very intuitive, however, I once again don’t feel as if I completely fit the description. While I am apt to “tune in” to others and have a certain innate understanding of situations as well as their outcomes, I don’t feel as if I’m focused on the “big picture”. Family, friends, and co-workers can attest to my attention to detail and highly cultivated level of organization. The assessment of feeling is given when people are thought to place value on things that create a positive emotional response. This is opposed to utilizing logic for decision making. I feel that is a very hedonistic evaluation. We all, as humans, are subject to hedonism according to Freud’s Hedonic Hypothesis. By this logic, that would place all humans into the feeling category. Instead, Planap and Fitness proposed that said traits function together. Therefore, I am able to embody both empathy and logic. Another problem with this assessment is the obvious gender bias. Jung personally though that women typically score “feeling” and men score “thinking”. This can even be seen in my marriage. My husband and I are fundamentally the same, hence the original attraction. However, on the MBTI, he scored ENTJ. The only difference between my husband and myself is the way that we process emotions. Perhaps this scale measures empathy and expression of emotions better than it’s original intention. (Judging)
The MBTI is the most recognized and frequently employed assessment when “measuring Jungian functions”. (pg 88 review citation) Essentially, the MBTI is based on Jungian personality theory and hardly differs. It incorporates the eight basic personality types in Jungian theory. These psychetypes combine extraversion and introversion with thinking or feeling and intuition or sensation in pairs of two. The MBTI expands upon Jungian personality theory by identifying a fourth trait which functions as a person’s concious interaction with the external world. This trait works differently for extraverts and introverts. In extraverts, the fourth trait is the dominant function and contrastingly introverts utilize it as an auxiliary function. For example, one assessing a MBTI result can combine extraverted with either judging or thinking as how they interact with their environment. The other functions are introverted and therefore how they deal with themselves. For introverts, it is the reverse. By allowing a fourth trait, the MBTI provides a more comprehensive analysis with sixteen types instead of the eight in Jungian typology.
MBTI has a high degree of reliability and validity; it is objective and free of interpretation by the administrator. The Inkblot exam is purely subjective, and also, subject to the subjective interpretation of the administrator. MBTI measures the types of individuals, while the Inkblot exam measures individual traits of individuals. It seems that each time an individual takes the MBTI they score the same or close to the same as the time before; however, an individual may not picture the same things he once saw in an inkblot revealing that the inkblot has a low test-retest reliability. In the case of the Inkblot exam, it would mean that individual personalities are constantly subject to change. While personality is subject to revision, it is not subject to total change. The inherent, learned traits that an individual has will remain with them, despite certain revisions. Each exam, however, provides valuable information about the individual’s personality and therefore a tool in evaluating a client.
This information is essential in a therapeutic setting. Each assessment has a purpose. MBTI is excellent for getting a feel for the patient and understanding their basic personality. It is also been proven as an excellent tool for career placement. It has advantages for the patient as well. As the patient gains a better understanding of themselves, they will also be able to understand their emotions, thoughts, and motives. This way, they can learn how to cope and self-regulate. Inkblot and other projective tests provide a look into the subconscious. This may reveal repressed emotions and impulses. Once these are brought to light, the patient can then begin mitigating them and expressing them in healthy ways. Personality disruption and abnormal behavior and development can then be resolved, resulting in a balancing affect and creating a more whole personality. Therefore, these assessments, combined with psychotherapy can resolve conflict, establish healthy coping mechanisms, and reunify a person to promote functionality.
Kaplan. (2008). Past and Present Views on Personality. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator
Phanalp, S., & Fitness, J. (n.d.). Thinking/Feeling about Social and Personal Relationships — Planalp and Fitness 16 (6): 731 — Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Retrieved September 15, 2009, from http://spr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/6/731