Personality Type and Self-Growth

Knowledge and understanding of personality type as assessed by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument can be utilized for personal growth through self-awareness and a willingness to understand and develop not only your strengths (innate preferences), but also your stretches (opposite preferences). Personality type awareness can help you better recognize stages of personal growth and development and offers you tools to navigate each one.

Jung originally developed his theory of types as part of his counseling practice with clients. The core of type theory has its roots in the practice of psychological counseling and is still used today. Type can shed light on a number of issues commonly dealt with in counseling: self-esteem, relationship difficulties, life development and transitions, decision-making, and others. Type can also provide nonjudgmental language for talking about issues in counseling.

Developing Type Preferences

According to theory, your innate personality type does not change over time. That does not mean that you are "locked" into that type, it simply means that your preferences are inborn; you are predisposed to naturally develop those preferences first.

What can change over time, however, is the experience and expression of your type. With awareness, you can begin to use your type preferences more effectively, knowing not only their strengths but also their deficits and when to use them or when not to use them (stretch to the opposite preferences), as appropriate to the situation.

Type development is a lifelong process that can help you overcome challenges throughout your life. Understanding how you develop and access each of the preferences gives insight into who you are and, as Jung would say, acts as a "compass" guiding your personal growth and development.

How Personality Type Supports Self-Growth

In what ways does type knowledge assist with self-growth? Understanding your natural way of being and doing is the first step. Realizing that your way is not the only way, comes next.

As you've seen, based on personality type theory, there are opposite ways to direct and receive energy, take in information, make decisions, and approach the outer world. Knowing there are equal but opposite ways of approaching these areas of personality means you can begin to understand, value, and appreciate those differences in others.

In what areas does type knowledge assist with self-growth? With type awareness you can enhance and develop your natural style for:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict management
  • Change management
  • Stress management
  • And more

Self-understanding through personality type may also help you in the following areas of your life to:

  • Create a work/life balance
  • Process grief
  • Express spirituality
  • Manage health
  • And more

Specific to spirituality, many people find type provides a way of understanding their spiritual path and development—their natural gifts as well as potential blind spots. People of different types are drawn to various spiritual practices and have various ways of expressing their understanding of spirituality. Those who prefer Introversion, for example, might be more drawn to solitary or reflective practices, while those who prefer Extraversion might be more drawn to group or active spiritual practices.

MBTI theory and use are widespread in the fields of counseling, psychology, and coaching. When working with a therapist or coach who is MBTI certified they can introduce you to type and help you discover practical ways for applying type theory to your unique situation. Find certified MBTI coaches and therapists in the MBTI Referral Network.

Self-growth through personality type has the potential for you to strengthen your relationships, find a satisfying career, and become more effective in all you do.