Integral Psychology NY

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

  The more it changes, the more it stays the same.


Types are defined as unique and lasting characteristics of a person.  In psychology, typologies are somewhat controversial, partly because types too easily become simplistic stereotypes, as in, "You did that because you are an Enneagram 9."  Try taking any typology and asking, "Under what conditions am I each of the listed types?" Also, the more healthy, and the more mature and complex we are, the more balanced we may be among types in any typology, and the more we may show up in one situation differently than another. 

One alternative or addition to typing people is to type their values, worldviews, communication styles, or more specifically, certain qualities, such as tolerance for ambiguity, frustration tolerance, energy level, etc.  Finding and defining this vaster range of styles is fairly easily done:  Think of any two people and consider how they seem alike and different. 

The usefulness of and reasons for thinking in terms of types (or styles) in healing and growth work is to articulate and predict where values or worldviews may clash and cause conflict in a relationship.  To be able to articulate differences in styles takes us out of being mired in who is right or wrong.  Then we can find common ground, or let our repertoires be expanded by the partial truths of another person. 

        Some Commonly Used Typologies

   Number of                                   
   Categories                     Typology

   __________              _________________


          2             Sharpeners and levelers
                         Type A and B personality
                         Masculine and feminine
                         Agency and communion

          3             Child Temperaments of Thomas
                             and Chess   
                         Fundamental Interpersonal

                             Relations Orientation (FIRO)    
                         Ayurvedic 3 Doshas (mind 

          4             Kiersey 4 Temperaments   

          5             “Big Five” Personality Traits

          6             Holland’s 6 Career Personality


          7             Gardner’s 7 (now 9) types of

          8             Myers Briggs 8 Dimensions

                           (4 pairs)

          9             Enneagram


     Other well known typologies include
Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors, and for
Jungians and astrology enthusiasts, the
Astrological birth chart.