Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator: what is it?

The Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) is probably the most well-researched personality assessment around. First published in America in the mid-1940s, it is now used in numerous countries throughout the world. Many businesses and individuals have found it to be of great benefit.


The MBTI was first devised by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers who based their work on the insights of Carl Jung. The goal of most other personality assessments is to avoid extremes of behaviour in certain areas, encouraging the individual to work at achieving a middle position. Myers and Briggs were attracted to Jung’s work because he acknowledged that we are all different, and endeavoured to show how those differences can be made to work for the benefit of all.

What will it do for me?

There are four areas within which the MBTI will assess you: how you resource or energise yourself, how you take in information; how you make decisions; and how you generally like to live your life. In each area, there are two ways of functioning. We all do both as circumstances require, although never at the same time; but one will be natural while the other will take energy and concentration.

How do I discover what my type is?

There is a questionnaire which I will ask you to fill in if we work together. In addition, I will talk you through the MBTI to discover what your type is. At no stage will I be telling you what you are; I will be trying to help you to work it out for yourself. There is a sense in which MBTI will not tell you anything new; it will take what you already know about yourself and help you to use that information to your advantage.

How will this help me?

Discovering one’s MBTI type is generally found to be a liberating experience. It will not only enable you to understand and accept yourself, but also to understand and accept others. It, however, doesn’t stop there.

I can help you to understand the implications for you in terms of your day-to-day living and relationships. Furthermore, we can look at specific areas, such as stress, conflict, leadership and learning styles, where MBTI can help you to understand yourself and others better.

Maturity MBTI style

Maturity with the MBTI type is not to become so good at both ways of functioning in every area that you can’t work out what you are. Rather, MBTI maturity is knowing categorically what you are but being able to function competently and relatively comfortably as the opposite type. The result is a more rounded individual.

Your problems may be psychological, but I sometimes find that the issues a client is wrestling with, especially when struggling in a relationship, are more about personality differences. Insight into your type then enables you to understand and accept yourself and others better. 

I don't necessarily explain where these insights come from. However, I will offer the opportunity to be properly assessed to those clients who may benefit from further exploration of their type - but only once the counselling has finished. 

One of the major areas that the MBTI impacts is that of stress, which underlies many of the issues clients come with. By understanding yourself better you may be less likely to have problems in the future. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend

Find the right counsellor or therapist for you

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals