IMHO means “in my humble opinion” – it is an abbreviation used in emails. This is a series where I unashamedly express my opinions in a forthright manner. If you are easily offended it may be best not to read these posts.

In my humble opinion the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is best. I don’t mean that it is best for psychotherapy. For this I think gestalt couseling is best.

What I think the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is best for is giving an overall sense of how a person relates to the world.

An important point: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (abbreviated to MBTI) measures clarity of preference.
It does not measure skills or abilities.

It is often true that people with a particular preference will develop particular abilities but this may not be true for a whole lot of reasons (they may believe the abilities are not important, they may lack the resources or opportunity, or it may simply never have occurred to them). This means that the MBTI should never be used for job selection (though it can be a very valuable aid in getting teams working well together).

The MBTI measures four pairs of preferences. Firstly the preference for the exterior or interior world. Secondly the preference for how we know what is going on – either the details or the broader picture. Thirdly our preferred way of deciding – on the basis of goals and timetable or our values. Finally for whether we prefer to just know what is going on (the second preference) or whether we prefer to decide what to do (the third preference). This isn’t terribly complicated, though it can certainly be confusing at first. However, putting these few things together means the MBTI gives a remarkably useful account of what we are usually like.

I discovered the MBTI more than ten years ago and it has stayed with me. In fact I have grown to value it more as I have discovered it often helps me understand others and the difficulties that I have relating to them.

There is a huge amount of stuff around now using the MBTI. Whatever you particular interest there is probably someone who has applied the MBTI to it. I think if you investigate the MBTI it will surprise you how much you can gain in understanding yourself, others and how you relate to them.

2 Comments to “IMHO#5 The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is Best”

  1. Simonne says:

    I took the test and I believe it matches very well the way I see myself. It would be interesting if we asked a friend to take the test on our behalf: would the results be the same? If not, I suppose we have a contradiction which can be hard to solve. Maybe this is why couples break apart: if you see myself in a way I’m not, and you ask me to behave according to your model, I would be unhappy and I would either leave you or fight you.

  2. Evan says:

    Thanks Simonne, the problem with friends taking the test for us is that they may only see our behaviour and the test measures our preferences. We may not always be doing our preference and we may be doing what we do even though we would prefer not to. This is especially the case with introverts (like me – I’m an INTJ, if you can’t guess from the way I write).

    On marriage. A man I admire greatly, Mal Garvin, said: six people get married – there’s the bride, the groom, who the bride thinks the bride is, who the groom thinks the groom is, who the bride thinks the groom is and who the groom thinks the bride is; it can get interesting sorting out who’s who.

    I do think the MBTI can help sort out this process. Especially by helping to zero in on the source of the conflict over different preferences. Most often it is conflict over the J-P preference.

    Have you found the MBTI helps with these kinds of things?

    Many thanks for commenting.


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