Category Archives: Personality

Perspectives…

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Boys carrying spaghetti in a macaroni factory in Naples, Italy. 1929

Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…

http://www.raptitude.com/2010/10/9-mind-bending-epiphanies-that-turned-my-world-upside-down

 

The Therapeutic Alliance: The Essential Ingredient for Psychotherapy

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umbrellas

 I am currently writing on the ‘therapeutic alliance’ – its relation to mindfulness, psychotherapy, understanding, and ‘being listened to…’   What follows is an interesting article that I came across that may interest some of you…

Excerpt:

Have you ever tried to change the way you do something? It could be anything — the way you hold your tennis racket, blow into a flute, meditate — you name it. If so, think about that experience. No matter how motivated you were to change, and no matter how much you knew that it would help your serve, musicality, or sense of inner peace, it can be difficult and scary to change even the smallest thing. In order to change, you have to give up your old way of doing something first and then try the new way. That means that for a while you’re in a free fall — you no longer have your old habit to rely on and you don’t yet have the new one.

The anxiety of trying to change something as complex and entrenched as how you relate to people close to you or manage stress takes the feeling to a whole new level. Yet, that’s just what you do when you enter psychotherapy. Just as you had to put yourself into the hand of your teachers and coaches, in therapy you need to gradually do just that with your therapist to help you through what can be a harrowing adventure. The foundation for therapy is called the therapeutic alliance (1, 2). When it’s there, you know that your therapist is there to help you, no matter how hard the going gets.

The therapeutic alliance might be the most important part of beginning a psychotherapy. In fact, many studies indicate that the therapeutic alliance is the best predictor of treatment outcome (3-5).

See entire article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-l-cabaniss-md/therapeutic-alliance_b_1554007.html

 

WOOLF’S DARKNESS: EMBRACING THE INEXPLICABLE

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VirginiaWoolf-290.jpg

Woolf gave us limitlessness, impossible to grasp, urgent to embrace, as fluid as water, as endless as desire, a compass by which to get lost.

“The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think,” Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal on January 18, 1915, when she was almost thirty-three years old and the First World War was beginning to turn into catastrophic slaughter on an unprecedented scale that would continue for years. Belgium was occupied, the continent was at war, many of the European nations were also invading other places around the world, the Panama Canal had just opened, the U.S. economy was in terrible shape, twenty-nine thousand people had just died in an Italian earthquake, Zeppelins were about to attack Great Yarmouth, launching the age of aerial bombing against civilians, and the Germans were just weeks away from using poison gas for the first time on the Western Front. Woolf, however, might have been writing about her own future rather than the world’s…

…Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or will decline from it; despair is a confident memory of the future, in Gonzalez’s resonant phrase. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that we don’t have that memory and that reality doesn’t necessarily match our plans; hope like creative ability can come from what the Romantic poet John Keats called Negative Capability.

On a midwinter’s night in 1817, a little over a century before Woolf’s journal entry on darkness, the poet John Keats walked home talking with some friends and as he wrote in a celebrated letter describing that walk, “several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature.… I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”

To read this entire essay, see link: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2014/04/virginia-woolf-darkness-embracing-the-inexplicable.html?utm_source=tny&utm_campaign=generalsocial&utm_medium=tumblr&mbid=social_tumblr

A mad world A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?

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Unfortunate Events

When a psychiatrist meets people at a party and reveals what he or she does for a living, two responses are typical. People either say, ‘I’d better be careful what I say around you,’ and then clam up, or they say, ‘I could talk to you for hours,’ and then launch into a litany of complaints and diagnostic questions, usually about one or another family member, in-law, co-worker, or other acquaintance. It seems that people are quick to acknowledge the ubiquity of those who might benefit from a psychiatrist’s attention, while expressing a deep reluctance ever to seek it out themselves…

…While a continuous view of mental illness probably reflects underlying reality, it inevitably results in grey areas where ‘caseness’ (whether someone does or does not have a mental disorder) must be decided based on judgment calls made by experienced clinicians. In psychiatry, those calls usually depend on whether a patient’s complaints are associated with significant distress or impaired functioning. Unlike medical disorders where morbidity is often determined by physical limitations or the threat of impending death, the distress and disruption of social functioning associated with mental illness can be fairly subjective. Even those on the softer, less severe end of the mental illness spectrum can experience considerable suffering and impairment. For example, someone with mild depression might not be on the verge of suicide, but could really be struggling with work due to anxiety and poor concentration. Many people might experience sub-clinical conditions that fall short of the threshold for a mental disorder, but still might benefit from intervention.

See link for interesting article on psychiatry…and bits about the importance of psychotherapeutic intervention…

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/have-psychiatrists-lost-perspective-on-mental-illness/

Own Your Personality

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There’s something about myself it took me a while to understand.

When I read my enneagram personality profile (number 1), I knew most of it was pretty spot on. I’m a perfectionist with high standards and morals. There was one thing I didn’t get though: this reformer and advocate stuff. What was all that about?

Detailed freak and nit-picky perfectionist is me to a T, but reformer? Me? I always thought of myself as passive, a follower, someone who doesn’t rock the boat, and the most cautious person in the world. So, the image of reformer I had in my mind didn’t match up with what I knew about myself.

But over the years I’ve come to understand this side of myself more and can see how I really am a reformer, in spirit if not in action – yet.

See, with my high standards and morals, they are most definitely for me (I’m my own worst critic and place higher standards on myself than others) but I’ve always thought others should have high moral standards too. I never impose my standards on others so that’s why I thought I wasn’t much of a reformer. But my desire is for others to have high moral standards because I believe the world would be a better place with them – if everyone treated each other with compassion and respect, for example, I can’t see anything bad there.

I’ll never impose my standards on others, but I’m ever hopeful that everyone would have the morals of looking after each other and caring for the world we live in.

See, I believe in people. And my desire to see people be all they can be, to live their dreams, and to treat each other well is something that has always been in me. I want all people to know they are worthy. I want all people to show others that they are worthy.

What the enneagram did for me was articulate something I always had in me that I didn’t fully understand. I don’t really know why I believe in people despite all the horrible things people can do, but it seems that it’s in my personality to believe in them no matter what. Because I do. Not everyone has this relentless belief in all people, especially when the evidence suggests otherwise, and I’ve sometimes felt guilty about my belief. But I still can’t help what I believe.

With this understanding, I’ve been able to embrace this part of my nature and things just seem that little bit clearer in my life. I’m becoming more intentional and active in what I believe about people and it’s given me an even bigger sense of purpose and a feeling of this is part of what I’m meant to do.

I love it when people own their personality – which can only come from understanding it and using it for good. I’m owning this reformer side of my mine.

This is just another example of how understanding personality through the tools of personality tests/profiles has helped me.

I’ll always advocate the personality test because I believe it can help people. And I believe in people!

Some Things I Learnt in 2013

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I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. But I’ve done lots of thinking and metacognitive analysis as usual, so I’ve got a bunch of things I’ve learnt throughout last year about how I work.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the things I’ve learnt:

  • As the duty fulfiller (MBTI) I love working hard but when I’m given so much work that I can’t keep up with, I get overwhelmed and start to let things slip because it’s all to much and I know I can’t do the job to the standard I want to. I’m a 100% or 0% type person. If I can’t put 100% into something, I don’t want to do it. I feel guilty if I can’t do the job the best I can, but I also feel guilty if I let things slip. My nature, then, is to simply keep going. When I hit this roadblock last year and was letting things slip, I resolved to just keep at it. I shared what I learnt with a friend and she had a “Whoa” moment from it because she realized she was the same. And now she’s made steps to “do something” instead of doing nothing at all. Because sometimes it’s better to do something than never do anything.
  • Again, as the duty fulfiller I love putting my all into my work. And when I can’t put my all into my work, I get very frustrated and feel burdened. My friend who puts her all into caring for people gets very frustrated and burdened when she can’t love people the way she wants to. We feel the exact same way about different things. I love how we’re all so different! We both have to learn not to place such high expectations on ourselves to ALWAYS be and do everything we want to be and do in the particular areas we care most about. Otherwise we’d be miserable whenever we couldn’t live up to our standards.
  • I learnt that I really am an advocate as the type 1 (Enneagram). I never really saw it in me but I finally worked out that it fits. I feel lost if I don’t have any meaning, and a big part of where I get meaning from is having a focus outside of myself. This means not just doing things I enjoy all the time but doing things that also give something back to people around me. The key for me is to find things that are both for me and others and also to find things that I believe in. This has helped a lot in giving me direction in life.
  • Knowing about my advocate nature, this has helped me realize that I need a filter for life. A filter that tells me what I should say yes and no to. A filter that tells me what I should spend my time, money and energy on. This way, goals can be met quicker, waste is avoided and there is a clearer meaning and purpose in life, both in the bigger picture and in the everyday.

So, this is only a snippet of the things I’ve learnt but I’ll write about the other things in other posts. And, of course, I’ll always be learning more! It’s a lot of fun!

The Person In Personality

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Personality Chart

Personality Chart

Ask anyone if they know a personality analyst and they most likely would tell you they don’t – but the truth is we all are. We don’t carry the official title with it, and we don’t really consider ourselves analysts or assessors, but we are just that whenever we deal with people.

It starts out strong when we first meet people. It is human nature to want to try and determine how to behave in certain environments around certain people and the way we do that is by assessing their personalities and making decisions on how we think they are and what we think they will find acceptable.

It is human to seek approval and to want to be liked and accepted. So we mentally assess the situation and that involves the people in it. Our interior assessment tools are constantly at work, drawing conclusions and making judgments about the people we encounter.

The encounters don’t even have to be face to face meetings. I know I have drawn conclusions about whether or not I like someone from seeing something they have written. Sometimes there isn’t even a photograph connected to a person’s writings, and I still determine whether or not I like that person.

Seal of Approval

Seal of Approval

Without putting it into words, I have drawn up a sense of that person and what I feel they are like – in other words, how I believe their personality is, and from that, I have decided whether it is thumbs up or thumbs down.

If it all sounds quite subjective, you are partially right. That is because it most certainly is subjective, but not partially so, entirely so. We base our way of dealing with people and of acting around them, on the conclusions we draw from our assessment of their personality, most of which goes on without us even being aware that it is happening.

But, there are more objective ways to analyze personality. There are people who have studied personality for years and have come up with measures that group different types of personalities in ways to categorize them.

Mostly, these tools are used in the business world where employers try to assure they are getting as accurate a read on a potential employee prior to hiring them and investing in them. But with the changing degrees of loyalty that both employees and employers demonstrate recently, the analysis doesn’t seem to matter as much as it once did.

Myer Brigg Type Personality Chart

Myer Brigg Type Personality Chart

Most of us have heard about Type A and Type B personalities and to a large degree, truth can be seen in the predominant behaviors we exhibit as to which of these two categories we fall into. But since mood tends to impact personality quite often, the degree of how deep into the category one lies, can fluctuate.

I know I am more of an outgoing type of person than introverted, however, there are many times when I don’t feel like putting myself out there. If you ever read horoscope type definitions of people who are born under certain signs of the zodiac, it is sort of the same thing. There are descriptors of the types of behaviors and personalities that you ‘should’ have if you are born under a particular sign, but the closer you get to the sign before or the next sign, the more likely you are to have milder degrees of these ‘traits.’

Yet despite the vagueness, there are people who have very strong, consistent personality traits that are solid as can be. For these individuals, there is no problem determining their personality types.

There are some free online personality tests that you may find an interesting way to get started. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and a bit of inner reflection to consider the responses prior to making your selection. I recommend the Big 5 personality test. You can include a second person to compare your traits with in this test – always something fun.

All in all, I believe anything that helps us get more in touch with who we are and furthers our self-awareness and self-knowledge is a good thing. If understanding more about personality gets us to do that, then it already has served a great purpose.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Permission to be an introvert

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An essay I wrote why it’s okay to be an introvert. I wrote it because I felt so misunderstood as an introvert and thought there was something wrong with me and needed to change. The more I researched it, the more I learnt it’s okay to be an introvert and the world needs them.

I May be a Freak, but I’m Not the Only One

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When I discovered the Personality Café, I discovered I wasn’t alone.

I’m not one for joining online communities, but I joined Personality Café because I was so surprised and excited to find other ISTJ’s on there; people like me. I don’t know many people like me in my own network; I might share some characteristics with others, and it’s a bit of a thrill, but here online, I found people who were like the same person as me. I couldn’t believe I’d found people who actually liked and didn’t like the same things as me. I found people who reasoned and behaved the same way I did. It was amazing.

When I found out my personality type, I didn’t feel so weird, but when I found these ISTJ’s online, I felt even less weird.

I knew I’d found my kin when I read the first reply to a post about things you would rant about: “Loud people. Loud music. Loud cars with unnecessary modifications to the exhaust system.” I couldn’t help but laugh. I know exactly what you mean. When I added to the conversation by posting that I didn’t like microphones, vacuum cleaners or power tools, my fellow ISTJ’s were very enthusiastic in their agreement. Wow. I felt understood.

There were people who turned their mobiles off like me because we don’t like phones. There were people who made lists, turned up early, thought too much, planned everything, loved tradition and facts – like me. We are no fuss types, just get on with it people who forget to eat, sleep and socialize when we have something to do. We love rules, details and painstaking, meticulous work. We love working hard. We are the duty fulfillers!

Before, if I told you my personality type, I would have said it half apologetically, but with these fellow ISTJ’s,  I was proud to be one of them, and they were glad to have me. I’d write posts, and they’d reply saying that when they read them, they thought they were reading about themselves.

I spent a lot of my time in the ISTJ forum because I felt at home there, and even now when I feel like I’m the only ISTJ in the world, I can go back to that forum and remember there are others like me and we’re all okay; we don’t have to change into a different personality type to fit in.

Not only do I appreciate the ISTJ community, I appreciate the shared interest in wanting to know how people work. We want to understand the way people think and behave and like to think about the differences and similarities between people. They don’t just focus on MBTI but other personality tests, and they are interested in other topics such as philosophy, science and religion. It’s always great to find people who have the same interests as you, and it’s a good resource to learn more about personality.

Check out www.personalitycafe.com

Time To Pretend

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“All the great empires of the future will be empires of the mind.” ~Winston Churchill

Digital Art by Jeanne MasarWhat I mean by hard-wiring caused by years and generations of socialization is that genetically humans are now predisposed to suffering. Suffering, in the social environment, has become normalized, and anyone who should deviate too far from this standard is considered “crazy” or abnormal.

Now, before I continue, let us come to an agreement about what constitutes suffering? Not a definition of suffering but what can be called suffering in the human condition (as we exist in a societal environment). In what form does suffering come? Suffering can be called an intangible state of being, that is, one’s being exists in a state of suffering. Suffering, once had a definite and easily determined cause, i.e., racism (but let us not veer off into efforts of indoctrination or further observations at this movement through sociology’s eyes just yet), womanizing, immigration (and by immigration, I mean, in the early days of Europeans arriving in America and their efforts at rising out of poverty), etc. [NOTE: I purposefully chose social movements, that is large acts of deliberate oppression enacted upon other groups of humans by other humans within a society. I could not go to an indigenous culture for several reasons, but mainly, because I don’t consider myself well-versed enough in indigenous culture to do so and I think much of human suffering that we are talking about stems from western culture and western society constructs. Further note: I am looking at human suffering solely from an anthropological perspective]. Okay, these kinds of mass suffering no longer effects western society as deeply, save only in a mass destructive way, i.e. Hurricane Sandy or 9/11, and human suffering suddenly comes to the forefront.

Sociology says that natural disasters are usually the times in which human beings will come together and forget about all the differences that the day before loomed so important as to cause neighbor to fight with neighbor and realize that “We are all human beings” that we bleed the same blood, etc. etc. Well, why is that? Why is it that humans only understand suffering following a natural disaster (there is a whole other element about this that disturbs me when I think upon it. In what I have been reading of late (anthropology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, which are naturally intermarried and naturally lead to consciousness) it seems as if humans do not unite because suddenly they caught a glimpse of what is really important, but out of fear and a unity in loss. Everybody understands loss)? It is as if humans require a disaster, some cataclysmic event, in order to set aside our petty differences. I think this is part of the reason why these unified acts of kindness are only temporary. Once enough time has passed, or that the event is forgotten or that some other kind of remedy has occurred, that time of bonding falls away, and we return to our “normally” suffering selves. This is a fundamental problem, I think.

I reason that there must be some deeper cause for humans’ [current] inability to understand human suffering or the suffering of others. I mean, if you believe in Kohlberg’s scale of Moral Development, there is more than one dimension, more than one scale of existence, and some humans exist on different scales. We are not all equal, in other words. Now, here is an element of reality that some are reluctant to discuss or even entertain the notion that it is true. We are not all equal. Equality can only be an extrinsic quality offered to humans in society; meaning, equal protection from police, equal representation in court, equal opportunity at law, you know, this kind of philosophy. However, it is not true biologically, psychologically, physiologically, culturally, or genetically, you know? I think we don’t fully understand this, as humans. There is a distinction in some things. It is only so on a certain level. It’s like humans try to create a unified theory of everything in everything. This would create a homogenous existence, what could be learnt from this? What use is a homogenous existence? That would be like playing the game not to lose. Risk is not necessarily a negating property, nor is chance, and I think that playing the game not to lose is to surrender risk and chance.

But, don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that there is potential and probability that the world can be different. I think fear is a powerful obstacle. But, this too, will end. As in chaos theory and entropy, randomness slows down to order, and order slowly breaks down [entropy] and then transforms to something else, some other unrecognized pattern (what we then call chaos). We, as a race of humans, are learning that the once archetypal ways of living are outdated and obsolete. We are realizing that the acts we have and are committing upon ourselves, upon our consciences, upon our environment, upon the planet; we are now comprehending that every act has an equal and [sometimes] opposite reaction. We are learning to love what we are and then live that way. The times are changing and the time to pretend ends like a clock slowly winding down until it stops on high noon.

*Digital Art by Jeanne Masar.