On February 25 and 26, I attended (and presented at) the 2022 winter conference of the Association for Psychological Type International. The experience was incredibly enlightening and moving. So I want to share some reflections and some tidbits that I picked up that you might find helpful in your understanding and uses of personality type lenses. In this post, I will focus mainly on the opening keynote by Dr. John Beebe.
Note: The APTi board has informed me that they will be making the recordings available for those who did not attend the conference. When I know more about that, I will let you know in case you want to dive deeper. All of the sessions I attended were really well done and provided helpful information. I am looking forward to getting access to the recordings very soon to catch up on what I missed.
The conference had 3 tracks instead of just one theme:
- Jungian Perspectives
- Type and Brain Science
- Type for a New Generation
Dr. John Beebe, a Jungian Analyst and leader in the field of Jungian Typology, opened the conference. He is known for his clarification of how each of the 8 Jungian Functions (aka Cognitive Processes) play out in our personality patterns in archetypal roles such as hero/heroine, supportive parent, and so on. His original topic was Are Situations Type-Specific? Given that the situation in Ukraine had just started the day before, he said he was going to change his topic. I took a lot of notes and here are some that struck me as very powerful ideas. (Note that these are very close to quotes from his talk, but may not be exact so I’ve labeled them as reflective of his comments and not my thinking.)
I was especially taken by the focus he takes to development. In our Cognitive Dynamics Certification programs, we not only focus on exploring the 8 Jungian Functions, but how they show up in each type pattern. The sharing that happens in our sessions has really helped me develop a deep appreciation for how much each whole type can vary according to development in response to various situations. So Dr. Beebe’s opening session really spoke to me.
John Beebe: He started with stating that ‘types’ emerged to deal with what situations demand and that situations are type specific. So his shift in topic was to We have a situation here!
My thoughts: My thought was whoa! Weren’t the types there from the beginning of time? Hmmm. So from his view, types emerged to deal with situations. (My understanding is that when he uses the term types, he is referring to when the 8 Jungian functions are the primary force in our functioning. But I admit, I’m not clear about that.)
John Beebe: Then he stated that we don’t yet have the consciousness that matches the situation we are in. We are in a critical, trying, unusual state of affairs. In a dream he had he had an insistent thought: “These are not ordinary times.” In such a situation we can either collapse or mature.
Type gives us a natural orientation to cope, a consciousness that allows us to stretch beyond our type and reach a balance between self and other. He used clips from The Wizard of Oz to illustrate the ways different functions come forth to reach some resolution to a problem.
His main point was that it takes development and experience when we ‘have a situation.’
- Critical situations demand a type—we have to move beyond our type. (I, Linda, takes that to mean beyond our type preferences.)
- When we are more mature we are able to assume the responsibility for what we’ve done.
- We can no longer divide the Self from situations. We are part of the situation and must honor that we have to deal with it where we want to or not.
- We need to let consciousness emerge and not drive it.
My thoughts: On reflection here are my main takeaways from John’s session…
- If someone is not yet ready to see things from other perspectives, we can’t make them do it. We can however recognize where we might be stuck and projecting on to them.
- We cannot push development on to others or ourselves, but we can create an environment where it can emerge. Sometimes the environment is what is limiting.
- We need to step-up to our own involvement in ‘situations’ and be open to engaging our less preferred processes (functions) or else getting out of the way of others to use their preferred processes instead of insisting on doing things our way.
Beebe’s session has heightened my awareness and understanding of the role of our responses to situations and our environments in shaping how each of full type patterns play out. I think it is very important for practitioners and enthusiasts alike to dive deep into getting as many experiences as they can have so they learn more about how the main theme of each type plays out in the different development patterns that emerge.