Isabel Myers (1897-1980) and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968),
developers of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument, shared
a vision. They wanted to enable individuals to grow through an understanding
and appreciation of individual differences in healthy personalities and to enhance
harmony and productivity in diverse groups. (For more details about this mother-daughter
team, refer to the biography Katharine and Isabel: Mother's Light, Daughter's
Journey by Frances Wright Saunders.)
From the time she was a young girl, the vision of Katharine Briggs was to understand human development and to discover the keys that would enable each individual to reach his or her full potential. She observed differences in personality among healthy effective people in the world around her and became determined to understand and describe the origin of and the reasons for the differences. After years of gradually creating her own formulation, she discovered and adopted the ideas and framework expressed by C. G. Jung in his book, Psychological Types. The rest of her life was focused on studying the works of Jung and striving to bring the potential benefits of knowing and applying his ideas to the world.
Katharine and Isabel encountered Jung's ideas in 1923. They decided his ideas were so powerful that they could help people make better life choices and use individual differences in constructive ways. Thus they began two decades of "type watching."
After several years of adding her own observations
to those of Jung, Isabel Myers, a graduate of
The type descriptions of Jung and Myers capture the essence of the types. The MBTI questionnaire helps people identify the type that fits best. It points people to a description to "try on for size." This was the first step in helping people determine their best-fit type.
The mission of Isabel Myers in the second half of her life was to accomplish what she saw as a foundation piece of her mother's vision. This meant giving individuals access to and understanding of their Jungian preferences through the development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument. Her life and work were focused on developing the most accurate instrument possible and validating both the instrument and related theory through research. From the very beginning, she became intensely interested in exploring individual differences within type and effective type development.
In 1975, Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. (now called The Myers-Briggs Company) began publishing the MBTI instrument for practical applications instead of only for research. In that same year, Isabel Myers and Mary McCaulley, Ph.D., co-founded the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®), a nonprofit organization that supports research of the MBTI instrument.
Since the publication of the MBTI instrument, applications and research on type have expanded nationally and internationally. The MBTI instrument has been officially translated into thirty languages. Since type describes differences in how people approach the world, take in information, and make decisions, it relates to situations people encounter every day. Articles and books have been written about how to use type in education, careers, management, leadership, intimate relationships, counseling, parenting, children, teamwork, spirituality, lifelong development, and other areas of interest for people using type.
Development and applications of psychological type are founded on the idea that understanding your type can help you (a) appreciate your own strengths, gifts, and potential developmental needs, and (b) help you understand and appreciate how other people may differ from you.