The Whole Self is way more than any one set of typology descriptions. It also includes our innate talents and predispositions, our purpose for being on the planet, our heritage from many contextual influences such as culture, life experiences, and our unique developmental path. Different personality models can help us get clarity on who we are at our core. These models provide lenses that help us identify core psychological needs, drives, values and talents.
The ‘16 types’ are the sixteen personality type patterns that are often referred to by a 4-letter type code developed by Isabel Myers based on her understanding of the personality typology of Carl Jung. There are many ways of understanding these type patterns and many scholars have described these patterns from perspectives not based in Jungian typology. David Keirsey, Linda Berens mentor and primary doctoral advisor, developed a model of temperament theory, Linda further developed, expanded and renamed this lens Essential Motivators, since the patterns describe our motivating force. Essential Motivators describes four core patterns, each having four varieties—thus sixteen types. Bolton and Bolton expanded the social style model from four to sixteen types for which Linda Berens has further developed connections and has called Interaction Styles.
Information on this page has been adapted from Linda V. Berens, Linda K. Ernst, and Melissa A. Smith, Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types and Teams: Applying Team Essentials™ to Create Effective Teams.
Myers Type Preferences
The type table above was created by Isabel Myers to display the types together that have the most in common. It is organized around the two middle letters in the type code called “function pairs.” These two letters refer to the preferred mode of perception and the preferred mode of judgment for that type pattern. Using Myers’ interpretation of Jung’s theories, the focus is on the columns of the type table. Many type practitioners group people by these function pairs in activities that highlight differences and points of conflict. Myers also wanted to put the two types that share a preference for the same dominant function in the same attitude next to each other. For example, ISTJ and ISFJ both have dominant introverted Sensing (Si) preferences and are side by side. Her system works if you think of the table as a cylinder that puts INTP and ISTP side by side and ENTJ and ESTJ side by side.
As David Keirsey developed his theory of the four temperaments, he began to display them to show the aspects the four temperaments have in common. As Linda Berens expanded on his work, she began to consistently display the Catalyst (with N and F in their type codes) and the Stabilizer (with S and J in their codes) on the top of the matrix to show that these two Essential Motivator patterns have in common a social attitude—they tend to take more affiliative roles and focus on interdependence. The Theorist pattern (with N and T in their codes) and the Improvisor (with S and P in their codes) are on the bottom of the matrix to show that they have in common a more pragmatic, do-what-it-takes attitude that focuses on autonomy and independence. On the left are the two Essential Motivator patterns that tend to speak abstractly (Catalyst and Theorist) and on the right are the two that tend to speak in more tangible terms (Stabilizer and Improvisor).
The Interaction Styles model is based on observable behavior patterns of interaction with others, especially when we are trying to influence others. These patterns tell us the “how” of our behavior.
The Interaction Styles can be arranged in a matrix that describes their similarities and things in common. The left side of the matrix displays the types with a Directing communication style and a time and task focus. On the right side of the matrix are those with an Informing communication style and a process and motivation focus. On the top of the matrix are the those who tend to take a Responding role with others, waiting to see what is happening before interacting. On the bottom of the matrix are the those who tend to take an Initiating role with others, making the first move.
Cognitive Dynamics (Seeing the Pattern)
Carl Jung identified eight cognitive processes (also called functions or mental processes). Each type code stands for a pattern of these eight cognitive processes. John Beebe, a modern Jungian analyst, developed a model of each of the patterns in terms of the archetypal role each process plays in the pattern. The table above lists the sixteen type patterns and the patterns of the processes.
Three Integrated Lenses Converge
The Type Table devised by Isabel Myers combines the middle letters of the type code and shows some of the commonalities. One of the challenges with this approach is that the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. From a holistic, systems perspective, each of the sixteen personality types is a thematic whole in and of itself. Living systems are best understood in terms of the patterns and the processes that help maintain those patterns. To understand different aspects of the 16 whole patterns we can use other theme-based models that serve as lenses to give us more information about each pattern.
The names of the 16 patterns convey the theme of that pattern and holistic descriptions provide the essence of the pattern. Information from the other holistic descriptions of Essential Motivators and Interaction Styles elaborate on those themes. This convergence gives us even more information about the whole. After working with these lenses for over 35 years, this process has been shown to be accurate once a full self-discovery process is followed.
The table below shows how all of the lenses align with both the pattern names and the names of the processes. The integration of these lenses gives us powerful tools for helping individuals find their best-fit pattern.