One of the key contributions of the InterStrength™ Approach is that it provides a map and tools for development as well as shadow work. The use of the InterStrength™ CORE Approach fosters development. Many uses of typologies result in thwarting development because of the use of labels and over reliance on instruments without a self-discovery process. Before we get started, I want to be clear on a few principles about what a ‘type’ is:
- A ‘type’ is an organic pattern of characteristics with a theme, a core driver of the pattern, some core beliefs or values, and some core talents that help get the drivers met.
- These patterns can be understood, in part, by looking at the specific processes that help maintain the pattern. In other words these processes may be shared by other type patterns, yet in the way they are configured in the pattern, they, too, help get the drivers of the pattern met.
- E, I, S, N, T, F, J, P are neither patterns, nor processes. They are just a way to help us get to our type patterns and therefore the letters of the type code are not types.
- In our view, we have identified 16 full type themes. The 2-word names of each of them give us a sense of the theme of the pattern of organization. When we ‘crack the type code’, we can identify the processes that help maintain that pattern.
- Each of the full types can be understood by looking at the Essential Motivator (aka Temperament) patterns and the Interaction Styles patterns. These are typologies that line up with the Jungian based 16 type patterns. In the table below, the 16 personality types are arranged by the 4 Essential Motivator patterns because Essential Motivators explains the ‘Why’ of our behavior and colors everything else.
Development starts with your natural type pattern—the pattern that was there from birth, if not from conception. We are born into a world where our natural type is either similar or different from those around us. There is always an internal push for the pattern to unfold. Type development is the unfolding of the natural pattern and the emergence of complementary aspects that at first do not express. In this development each later version of the pattern, transcends and includes the earlier versions of the pattern.
The first developmental question we face is, ‘Do I get to be me?’ This is not a conscious question, but it is a pivotal one. The messages given by those around us and our cultures are not necessarily spoken, but they are nonetheless powerful and influence our development.
If we are in a family, or other context, where we are similar in style to those around us and to what is expected by our cultures, we are likely to feel accepted as we are. Thus we are free to express our natural selves. We may become blind to the gifts of others around us and other aspects of ourselves. In this case type development requires turning down the volume of our natural inclinations to make space for other aspects to emerge.
If we are in a family or other context where we continually get the message that our ways of being in the world are ‘wrong’, we have two choices—adapt or insist on expressing our true natures. Most of us do a bit of both along the way. For some of us, discovering important aspects of our true natures through the lens of a powerful type framework frees us up. The process of self-discovery is often one of reclaiming our core self.
Type development starts with developing first those aspects of our nature that are there from the beginning. If this development process is derailed, we adapt, but it takes energy. Getting back to what was there from the beginning frees up energy. Then the changes are easier. Development is easier.
We are not stuck in our types, but can become stuck in our resistances and attempts to hold to an image of ourselves that may be true to our natures or alien to our natures. Development happens when we are in contexts that require different things from us. It is also helpful to be open to seeing other perspectives and honoring those perspectives. In this we can become more likely to be open to developing other aspects of ourselves.
For this reason, one of the applications of Essential Motivators and Interaction Styles is to do perspective shifting activities. The first step is to see that all perspectives have value, then to be able to actively seek out those other perspectives, and then to be more open to our own type development.
There are many look-alikes among models of developmental psychology, cultural development, and typology models so it is easy to confuse one with the other. Work is just beginning on this topic and more information is still needed to help clarify the differences. In the meantime, you might decide to explore different developmental models. There are three main principles that indicate development in general:
- Capacity to take multiple perspectives, not just in recognizing the perspectives, but being able to take them on and even seek them out.
- Capacity to handle complexity. Remember that elements of complexity can include very tangible situations, like you see in emergencies or it can be very abstract in nature requiring lots of conceptualizations.
- Capacity to think in multiple time frames.
As you explore developmental models of culture or personality, we recommend you keep the following in mind:
- Some of the patterns of development look like some of the type patterns or vice versa so it is important to learn about other frameworks and models.
- Don’t confuse development with type.
- Don’t confuse type with development.
- Don’t confuse cultural values with types.
- Don’t confuse types with cultural values.
- We are more than our types and we are more than the sum of our experiences.
- We have all the types within us and yet one is home base.
- All types occur at all levels of development. They just express differently.
- As we develop, types are harder to identify. A simple instrument won’t work by itself.
To foster development we first open the door to let it happen. When we use typology models to help people understand themselves holistically rather than as bits and pieces, we give them a more complete view of what their core needs and drivers are and how they can get these met so they are then free to make space for others and shift out of their own perspectives. Development happens in relationships so it helps to have a language to talk about those perspectives and our differences.