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Figuring Out What Works For You

I have a very poor sense of direction.  I have driven down roads that have turned into pastureland.  I have taken routes that I thought were correct  only to find myself miles away from my intended destination.   I have ridden on the wrong subway or hopped on the wrong bus so often that I am usually surprised when I get it right.   I have been lost so many times that I  usually don’t say, “I’m lost”. Instead I say, “This is not the most efficient route, I know, I know…”  One of the roadblocks that I frequently encounter is that I usually don’t know where I am in the first place!  Where is Point A in relation to Point B?    Poor topographical orientation (the cognitive scientist’s way of saying, “You don’t know where the hell you are!”),  is an effective analogy to describe how many of us feel at during our lives. Where am I? Where am I going?  How do I get there?

The answer to the question, “How do I GET there?” in life is as varied as the maps and gadgets that are available to help us reach a physical destination.  Deciding what tool provides the most effective guidance is really dependent on several factors including how familiar we are with the area, our general sense of direction, or whether we want a map or written directions. For that matter, we may have a preference for north-south/east-west directions versus  left-right/”turn at the Target store on the corner” type directions.   I have found the GPS system to be most helpful but believe it or not, I had to learn to actually listen to it before it was of much use to me.  The point is, what we use to navigate our surroundings is a matter of personal choice.  One must seek the most understandable and the most effective option.

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MBTI Step III Day 3 of Training: Case Studies, Practicing Interpretation, Q & A

Today was the final day of training for the MBTI Step III. After 2 days of studying the theoretical underpinnings of the instrument as well as the construction and validity, today we practiced interprettingusing it under the watchful eye of our esteemed instructors.  We examined 3 different cases  of people who had donated their Step III report for the purposes of training.  Therefore, these were real people who had answered inventory questions and received a report that was based on the rules they triggered resulting in specific statements about their current behavior and accompanying suggestions for personal growth.  Everyone had the opportunity to play the role of the client, the coach and/or counselor, and the observer.  Final questions and answers about our own reports or any other topic were also discussed.

The first thing I noticed about using the Step III report in a real life setting was even though it was rich with information and feedback,  there was infinite flexibility in how this information could be used to promote a discussion. Because the report is not a diagnosis or a final rendering of an individual’s personality, a statement contained in the report could be discussed in any number of ways.  For example, a statement might read: “You seem to be indifferent to or ignore logical consequences in matters that are of immediate concern to you, perhaps because other things are more important to you at the time.”  From there, a client might say, “Well yes. I don’t tend to worry too much about what I consider small stuff.”  Or, “You know, I am just not myself these days. I usually pay my bills on time but lately, they have been piling up on my desk.   My mother broke her hip 3 months ago and it seems all I do is tend to her needs.”  For one individual, ignoring certain things that are of immediate concern is simply a reflection of their laid back attitude. For another, it is recognized as an important problem that requires further discussion.

Another observation I had about the report is that it is important to keep an individual’s known type  as well as dominant function in mind when evaluating the data.  For example, an INFP  and an ENTJ might both receive the following statement in his Step III report:  “You find it hard to deal with situations that require you to take a detached and logical approach in making a decision.”  Well, for INFP who is a dominant introverted feeler (and whose inferior or least preferred function is logical, detached thinking, this statement might no raise any special concerns only to point out that many INFP’s do not tend to use “detached, logical thinking” when approaching a situation.  They are more likely to think of people or values first.  They may add logical thinking into their cognitive mix but it is likely to require a little extra mental energy.  An ENTJ, on the other hand, IS a dominant thinker and should therefore be using detached, logical thinking competently and with relative ease.  If this is not the case, it may be important to probe for some sort of stress that might be compromising optimal functioning which is often the case when someone is not using his dominant function well.

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MBTI Step III Training Day 2 (Construction, Validity, Practicing Interpretation)

Welcome again to Portland, Maine where I have just finished day 2 of lobster cartoonthe MBTI Step III training.   To review, yesterday the theoretical basis of the instrument was discussed including the allocation of mental energy based on type,  type development theory and defining what is considered good type development versus ineffective type development.  Also a general overview of the factors that generate the Step III interpretive report were discussed, namely, sufficiency scales, developmental scales and patterns that trigger “rules”, which ultimately  create  an interpretative report of statements (verbal descriptions of current behavior) and corresponding suggestions for personal growth.  It is worth repeating that even as the construction of this instrument is highly complex, the end product is user friendly and highly personalized for the  client.  The ultimate goal of the instrument is to initiate and give some direction to a productive dialogue between the client and the counselor/coach regarding personal growth and insight.

Construction: The questions that make up the MBTI Step III come from 3 sources: the items from the  MBTI Form M; the items  from the MBTI Step II Form Q; and questions from the MBTI Form F.  The reason for the inclusion of the Form F items is that they were used to produce the original “Counselor Report” in 1972, a report that described how well a person perceives and judges. Recall that type theorists assert that the  basis of  good type development and ultimately, success and satisfaction in life was based on optimally developed perception and judgment.    Furthermore, a large archived data base of Form F responses had been gathered by Isabel Briggs Myers that provided evidence to back this assertion up.  This was in fact her unfinished work, developing patterns and scales of behavior that described type development

The  MBTI Step III was constructed using MBTI forms M, Q, and F.  However the interpretative report needed updating from it’s precursor, The Counselor’s Report,  so that the language describing a client’s current behavior (statements) and the corresponding suggestions for personal growth were understandable  irrespective of a client’s knowledge of type.  This is perhaps the  greatest strength of the MBTI Step III,  the notion that  often complex patterns of behavior based on how well a client is using his perceiving and judging functions can be described in layman’s terms with easy to understand suggestions for self-improvement.

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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.

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