1st Edition

Myers-Briggs Typology vs. Jungian Individuation Overcoming One-Sidedness in Self and Society

By Steve Myers Copyright 2019
    252 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Myers-Briggs Typology vs Jungian Individuation: Overcoming One-Sidedness in Self and Society, Steve Myers unravels the century-long misinterpretation of Jung’s seminal text, Psychological Types, to show how Jung’s thinking offers solutions to the conflicts that have torn apart our societies. By challenging the popular interpretation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and similar instruments, Myers argues that we have not only missed Jung’s main proposition, but our contemporary interpretation runs counter to it. 

    Myers aims to rediscover the overlooked argument of Jung’s Psychological Types and make it of practical relevance to contemporary issues. He intends to refocus rather than discard Myers-Briggs typology, showing that there are further stages of development after becoming a type and that typological principles have a much broader application. Raising queries about the way typology is used in contemporary society, Myers uses literary examples, such as Romeo and Juliet and Carl Spitteler’s Prometheus and Epimetheus, to show how one-sidedness leads to conflict and to illustrate Jung’s solution to the problem of opposites. He also applies this to real-life political crises by examining the decision-making of key political figures, such as Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe, and those involved in Brexit or the Northern Ireland peace process. The latter part of the book relates Jung’s process of typological development to his later writings on alchemy, notably the axiom of Maria, to show how they all have a common goal, the transformation of attitude. The book concludes by analysing the implications of the divergence of Myers-Briggs typology and Jungian individuation for the communities who use those ideas.

    This book puts Jungian individuation back at the forefront of debate and will be essential reading for intermediate and advanced users of Myers-Briggs typology. Due to its political relevance, it will also be of interest to Jungian analysts and their clients, and to academics and students of Jungian and post-Jungian ideas and political science.

    Chapter 1: Introduction;  Chapter 2: The type problem;  Chapter 3: The solution;  Chapter 4: The transcendent function;  Chapter 5: Many forms of opposite;  Chapter 6: Individuals, relationships, groups, society;  Chapter 7: The caduceus;  Chapter 8: Two movements;  Chapter 9: Axiom of Maria;  Chapter 10;  Four perspectives;  Chapter 11: One-sidedness and analytical psychology;  Chapter 12: The future of reconciliation;  Appendix A: Prometheus and Epimetheus;  Appendix B: Psychological Types; Index


    Steve Myers (no relation to Isabel Briggs Myers) holds a Masters in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies and a PhD in Psychoanalytic Studies, and was the first winner of the David Holt Prize at the University of Essex. He has published several academic papers, including in the Journal of Analytical Psychology, and has used Myers-Briggs typology in his commercial consultancy for over 20 years.

    "Imaginative, captivating, and thoughtful, Myers provides a useful look into the malaise of contemporary culture and psychology. Through the lens of how a popular psychological tool (the MBTI) magnifies one sidedness in individuals, Myers explores the question of whether we can use Jung’s real purpose of psychological types to identify and maximize the energy of opposites to build a healthier world." - Roger R. Pearman, Past President, International Association for Psychological Type; recipient of the Isabel Myers Research Award and the Association for Psychological Type Lifetime Contribution Award; researcher, coach and consultant


    "The central thesis of the book, Jung’s explanation of human one-sidedness, came as a revelation to me. Myers sets out to unravel a very complex story, and he does it with panache. He lays out what is meant by the transcendent function in such a fashion that it can seem like a realisable thing. He works through examples in our recent history of how transcendent results occur (and don’t occur) because of attitudes major players have." - Wynn Rees, former President, British Association of Psychological Type


    "In a beautifully readable style, Steve Myers clarifies the connection between Myers-Briggs typology and Jungian individuation. He goes much further though by applying typological theory, spiced with contemporary psychological developments, to a conflicted political arena. Myers uses copious examples to illustrate, such as Nelson Mandela, the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ (Trimble and McGuiness from Northern Ireland), as well as more contemporary examples such as Trump and Brexit. This is undoubtedly an important book for our times." - Mathew Mather, author of The Alchemical Mercurius; director of the Certificate in Jungian Psychology with Art Therapy and lecturer at Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland


    "Susan Sontag once said, ‘The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.’ In a sense, that's what this book sets out to do -- to reframe the way Jung's type theory has been understood, thus to provide answers that are larger than the questions that are usually asked. By accomplishing this, the book stands as an application of its thesis: that the transcendent function, which Jung intended as the beating heart of psychological type, moves one outside oppositions that cannot be cognitively reconciled -- not just opposing type functions, but opposing models, opposing political standpoints, imagination vs. common sense, adaptation vs. individuation. I learned a great deal from this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Jung, psychological types, the MBTI, and a practical understanding of one-sidedness -- its contribution to the moral problems of our time and what can be done to solve them." - Lenore Thomson, M.Div., author of Personality Type: An Owner's Manual and former managing editor of Quadrant: The Journal of Contemporary Jungian Thought


    "Myers-Briggs Typology vs Jungian Individuation raises fundamental issues and challenges current practices that concern all type/MBTI practitioners. If we are to truly tap into the potential of Jung's theory of psychological types, Steve Myers' book is a must read." - Danielle Poirier, MBTI qualifying faculty member, trainer and author of The Magnificent 16


    "By challenging us to think beyond the limits of typologies, Steve skilfully guides us through an understanding of Jung’s problem of opposites. Using artful metaphors and insights drawn from contemporary global events, this insightful book calls us to confront and transcend one-sidedness in ourselves and the institutions we are part of." - Ray Linder, Leadership Development consultant and trainer


    "Steve Myers has written an important and timely book. Not only does he do a masterful job of explaining Carl Jung’s concept of the problem of one-sidedness in Western society, he also corrects the widespread misunderstanding of Jung’s seminal work, Psychological Types. While doing so, Myers also provides powerful examples of how moving beyond one-sidedness in our individual and collective development offers a better way to be and relate to each other. Given the polarized nature of much of contemporary discourse, this is a timely message indeed." - Scott Campbell, international speaker, consultant, and author