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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 perceptions (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.