Journeying Toward Wholeness

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How Does Your Personality Type Affect Your Life? PART ONE

March 18th, 2019 · Jungian personality type, Personality type

Understanding your personality type can have an enormous impact on the way you live your life.

The Many Shades of Personality!
Many people have encountered the Myers-Briggs Personality Typology through work or schooling. They often don’t realize that it’s based on the ground-breaking work that C.G. Jung did around personality type as far back as the 1920s. They also often don’t realize how revolutionary and transformative Jung’s understanding of personality type truly is.
This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring the deeper meaning of personality type and how it profoundly impacts the entire way that each of us inhabits our lives.

Fundamentally Different Approaches to the World

People of different personality types take in the world in different ways. Jung’s theory of personality types seeks to help us distinguish the different fundamental components of our consciousness.

If we start with the two attitudes, introversion and extroversion, they represent two fundamentally different ways of being. As Jungian analyst Andrew Samuels tells us, if you’re an introvert, you’re someone who is stimulated and energized by the internal world. If you’re an extrovert, you’re stimulated and energized by the external world. These are two utterly different things, and you could expect the life journey of a strong extrovert to look very different than that of a strong introvert.

In the Jungian personality typology, each individual also has a primary function, which is one of sensation, thinking, feeling or intuition. As Jungian analyst Daryl Sharp indicates,

Thinking refers to the process of cognitive thought, sensation is perception by means of the physical sense organs, feeling is the function of subjective judgment or valuation, and….through intuition we have a sense of [a thing’s] possibilities.

Daryl Sharp, C.G. Jung Lexicon

If a person’s primary function is one of these four, his fundamental way of taking in the world will differ dramatically from an individual of the other three types.

Personality Type: A Dance of Opposites

Aspects of personality type aren’t just different. Many of them are actually fundamentally opposed to each other. This means that it may be very difficult for me to understand an introvert, if I’m an extrovert — or vice versa. Or, it may be very hard to relate to a person whose “superior” (i.e., most developed) function is feeling, if my superior function is thinking.

Yet, there may be a great deal of value in trying to understand personality types that are very different than our own, just as there is great value in really seeking to understand our own personality. Often, we can feel a strong attraction to personalities that are very different from our own, because on some deep, probably largely unconscious level we are drawn to those who have the characteristics we most lack. Thus the age-old saying that, in romantic relationships, opposites attract! Depth psychotherapists are very aware of how true this can be, and are aware of the opportunities — and complexities — that this can bring to relationships.

Personality Type and Self-Acceptance

Awareness of our personality type can be very important in enabling our acceptance of ourselves. In each culture, there are particular aspects of personality that are prized, and which are given particular emphasis and importance.

In Canada, for instance, extroversion has tended to be prized and valued over introversion. This is even more true among our neighbours to the south in the United States! This can often mean that introverted people in such a culture can end up feeling that there is something basically wrong with them, that they are somehow “odd” or “off” or “weird”. It can be a tremendously liberating thing to have an explanation for why we are the way we are, and to realize that that way of being has unique strengths.

Understanding, accepting and cherishing our personality type can be a very important part of understanding and welcoming all that we are. While we can learn a great deal about our personality type on our own there can be immense value and immense assistance on our journey toward wholeness through work with a Jungian depth psychotherapist.

With every good wish for your journey!

Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst

Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional

Certified Telemental Health Practitioner

© Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)


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Jungian Personality Type: Making Space in My Life for the Real Me

April 10th, 2017 · Jungian personality type

I’ve written on Jungian personality type previously, but in this post, I’d like to look at it from a different angle.

Photo by Nelson L.


This post explores how, in major life transitions, we’re often forced to be honest with ourselves, and to come to terms with our Jungian personality type. We may not be consciously aware that that’s what we’re doing, but it happens nonetheless, and with powerful effect.

Building Blocks of Jungian Personality Type

If you’re not familiar with Jungian personality type, more has been written on the subject than we can review here. Yet, Jung’s ideas of personality type lie behind the famous Myers Briggs Typology Inventory (MBTI) now so frequently used in business and human resources contexts. In Myers-Briggs, there are 16 broad personality types. However, there are 6 core factors which Jung identified that form the basis of each of our personality types.

People tend to be either introverts or extroverts. An introvert is someone who is stimulated, excited or energized by the internal world. An extrovert is just the opposite: someone who is stimulated, excited or energized by the external world.

Also, each person has one of four functions. The primary function is the primary way the individual takes in the world.

  • the thinking function involves knowing what something is, naming it, and linking it to other things;
  • the feeling function is not affect or emotion, but rather the way that we take in the value of something, or understand its significance;
  • the sensation function brings to us all the awareness that comes through the various physical senses; and,
  • intuition, the function of awareness of all the possibilities in a situation or thing, on the basis of “hunches”, without conscious proof or knowledge.

These elements combine to make the personality type of the individual. Jungian depth psychotherapists know this type will profoundly effect how an individual approaches his or her life, what he or she values, the nature of key life goals, relationships with every other human being, and the individual’s religious or philosophical stance, or lack thereof. An individual’s Jungian personality type is a fundamental fact about her or his nature.

Confronting the Truth of Our Personality Type

In key transitions in life, the individual may well confront their Jungian personality type, which is to say their fundamental nature in some very profound ways. Here are two examples, which are fictionalized accounts, but each loosely based on the combined experiences of many former clients.

Example One. “Camilla”, a young woman just accepted to law school, faces enormous pressure to be a lawyer. Both her parents are extremely hard working immigrants, and are lawyers of some distinction. Camilla is a very intelligent and capable woman herself, and believes that she probably could meet expectations, and successfully complete law school. “I could do it,” she realizes, “but at what cost? I’d be continually unhappy, because it’s just not my idea of creative work. I have all kinds of energy for people! I want to connect, co-operate, feel good about working on a common project!” After a considerable amount of personal therapy work, Camilla makes the hard decision to turn down law school, goes to film school, and ends up in a happy, successful career as the creative director of a multimedia team.

Case Two. “Jake” works for a successful family-run printing business. Originally the only salesperson, Jake is now in charge of a team. The role continually draws on Jake’s extroversion and feeling function, both in relating to clients, and in inspiring and leading all the sales staff. Jake, 45, has been doing this role for nearly 20 years, and realized in the course of therapy that he is exhausted. “I can do this job, but it sucks the life out of me! I find it so hard to be continuously socially engaged with people!” Jake, an introverted thinking type, somehow found the time to take courses to become a real estate appraiser, left the family firm, and as part of a midlife transition found a new career, with more meaning and fulfillment, and less stress.

Living with Psychological Integrity

Jungian personality type

Aligning your life with your Jungian personality type can contribute tremendously to the feeling that life is rich and full of meaning. This is more than just identifying your personality type. It also entails finding out what that personality type is like for you as a unique individual, and finding creative ways to bring your life into alignment with it — what Jungian analyst John Beebe, MD refers to as personal integrity.

Identifying your personality type, and doing the needed personal work to make your life an expression of your personality is a key part of the journey to wholeness in depth psychotherapy.

Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist & Jungian Psychoanalyst

PHOTOS: Attribution Share Alike © Nelson L. ; shira gal
© 2017 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)

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