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MBTI Step III Instrument: Examining Effective Use of Perception and Judgement (Day 1 Training Summary)

I am in Portland, Maine learning about the recently released MBTI Step III Instrument.   It is conceptually similar to the MBTI  I and the MBTI II tools in that it is based on the work of Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers regarding the identification  psychological preferences. However what is different about the new Level III Indicator is that it  focuses on type development. Specifically, how effectively does an individual use his preferred  perception and judgment functions and how well can he/she incorporate non-preferred perception and judgment  functions, when necessary,  to achieve success and satisfaction in life.

There is a finite amount of mental energy that one has available to take in information (perception) and draw conclusions about those perceptionspreferences (judgment).  How that energy is allocated, according to type theory, is based on psychological preferences.  The dominant function has access to the most abundant and readily available energy, followed by the auxiliary or assisting function, then the tertiary or third function, and lastly the inferior or 4th function (everyone uses all of the functions: sensing, intuition, thinking and feeling but at different levels of  frequency and competence, hence the terms: dominant, auxiliary and so on).   Effective use of type preferences insofar as perception and judgment are concerned  is often dependent on both the opportunity to use a a natural  function and support from the environment to foster it’s development.

According to type development theory, “good type development”  is comfort and effectiveness in the processes that come most naturally to your verified type AND the ability to use the processes that go against one’s natural tendencies.  Knowing which process is most adaptive to the task and the ability to shift among preferred and non-preferred functions is also critical.   There is an overall satisfaction with life that is a byproduct of being able to use perception and judgment competently.  On the other hand, ineffective type development is like a caricature of a given type, a distortion of one’s strengths and the prominent display of one’s weaknesses.  It is also the tendency to blame others for circumstances for failures or unhappiness and perhaps stress, dissatisfaction, and poor performance  in daily life are present.

So how does the MBTI Step III shed light on an individual’s type development?   Many of the details of how certain responses pattern trigger a statement about type development will be learned in tomorrow’s session.  Briefly though, the 3 Sufficiency Scales of Confidence(how adequate one feels in a situation), Stamina (the ability to function when conditions are tough), and Compensatory Strain (use of coping mechanisms that deflect the problem away from one’s personal control)  that occur independent of and as well in concert with Developmental Scales ( some examples include flexibility, defensiveness, and logic)  trigger a Step III pattern that yields a rule (or criteria that says “this is significant”) which ultimately is brought to the attention of the client in the form of a statement, via the Interpretive Report.   An example of a statement might be: “You find it hard to deal with situations that require you to take a detached and logical approach in making a decision.”  Furthermore, the significance of this statement is interpreted based on reported type. The significance of this statement will be quite different for an ESTJ whose dominant function is thinking versus an INFP whose 4th function is thinking.

This all sounds very complex and it is as far as the underpinnings of how this instrument was constructed. However, the report itself is written in language that is understandable to someone with no type knowledge. Moreover, it is an instrument that stands alone and does NOT depend on previous administration of MBTI Level I or MBTI Level II.   Even though psychological type is the thread that connects these tools, this newest instrument is getting at something entirely different.

So…. that is what I know so far.   This represents my personal understanding of the material and I will certainly refine my thoughts and conclusions as I continue to learn. We also received our own MBTI Level III results today and I will try to share some of the contents of the interpretative report tomorrow as an example.  I will also describe how to use this tool in counseling and coaching because that, above all else, the instrument is intended to be used as a way to stimulate conversation about personal development.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. As you go forward with the coursework, I would be interested to know more about how the material is presented, i.e., the structure of the curriculum, the allotment of time, break-out sessions, lecture format, etc. Also, what kind of visual support/presentation materials are they using? Sounds really interesting! (Watch out for worms in your salad … 🙂

  2. hmmmm, once again I wonder what it takes for someone to make the shift from “ineffective type development” to “good type development?” This has been on ongoing wonder in my life-does it always take a hit over the head or can someone ever just see the results of tests like these and go “Whoa!” “I think I will change?” However, once the eyes are open to having a choice about one’s life, the sky is the limit, and the power lies in our own hands to direct our life. Thank you Ann for taking a complex subject and making it understandable to the reader. Looking forward to more….and to a lunch or dinner when you return.

  3. Love the image of type and energy use. I think that is a useful concept in thinking about what motivates, or drives, us in learning, problem-solving and decision-making. I am also interested in the responses to Kosmic’s questions about the course structure. How are the course designers and facilitators helping you learn? Do you see the influence of type in the structure? I share Sharon’s wonderment as to how, once we know this about ourselves, do we make the changes necessary? Ahhh, why every coach exists! I will definitely be staying tuned!

  4. The course is a combination of lecture, practical exercises to apply the concepts using real case examples, and plenty of time for question and answers. The instructors are Sondra Van Sant and psychological type guru Naomi Quenk. Both are well-versed in the concepts of type theory and can answer all questions deftly. It is particularly useful to have Dr. Quenk presenting the material as well as answer questions because she was on the team that constructed the instrument, a project that took 7 years.

  5. i was wondering why you went out to maine. i like this little diidy that you out up. when do you get back in town, because i would love to have a chat about all of this and the importance and whatnot of the whole type development. i still feeel in the dark about it and if you have time i would like to talk about it.

  6. Hi Ann –
    thanks for doing this! Question – my understanding was this Step III is to be used for coaching. Then I heard it was for therapists. Can you clarify its use?

  7. Hi Ann, I’ve found your review of this new course interesting and helpful. I’ve found all of the MBTI trainings interesting and helpful as I’m coaching different executives. I’m envious of your opportunity to meet and hear Dr. Naomi Quenk present as I’ve read both her books ‘Beside Ourselves’ and ‘Was That Really Me’ and found both to be great insight! I’ll be very interested to hear more about this course as it goes and will definately plan to attend on in the near future if Naomi is presenting? Any way you might share her intention of future site presentations? Thanks for this blog!

  8. Eileen- The instrument is for counselors AND coaches. It is used in one on one coaching/counselor dialogues rather than for group sessions such as you would see in a team building scenario (everyone on a team can take it as a means of individual self-improvement though. Marcy- It was INDEED a treat to work with Dr. Quenk for 3 days. I share your enthusiasm and admiration for her work. I think what I liked best about her is that she is always thinking, always refining, always open to new perspectives. Her co-instructor, Sondra Van Sant was also very solid and certainly added much to the class. Dr. Quenk is a “rock star” in the world of type and since she worked on the STep III project for 7 years, it made the course highly enjoyable. I think if you contacted, you could find out if she was teaching further Step III classes. My guess is probably!

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