Have you heart of personality and temperament tests and the corresponding profiles? There are a variety of them in existence, but one of the best known is the Myers-Briggs assessment.

This test is based on research that started with Carl Jung. He theorized that every individual had a psychological type that formed the base of their personality. That type is comprised of four components and each of these had two sides to the component. Introversion and Extroversion, Intuition and Sensation, Feeling and Thinking, and Perceiving and Judging. Although there are only two sides to each component things are assessed on a continuum that is split down the middle. In other words two people might both fall on the continuum on the 50% side of being extroverted, but one person might be 56% extroverted while another person might score at 89%.

Jung defined eight personality types. Here are links to some descriptions of them and a link to descriptions of the various profiles.

  • ISTJ – The Duty Fulfillers
  • ESTJ – The Guardians
  • ISFJ – The Nurturers
  • ESFJ – The Caregivers
  • ISTP – The Mechanics
  • ESTP – The Doers
  • ESFP – The Performers
  • ISFP – The Artists
  • ENTJ – The Executives
  • INTJ – The Scientists
  • ENTP – The Visionaries
  • INTP – The Thinkers
  • ENFJ – The Givers
  • INFJ – The Protectors
  • ENFP – The Inspirers
  • INFP – The Idealists

Knowing and understanding something about your personality, your temperament, and your relational styles can help you understand and put conflict, trauma, and struggle into perspective. It can show you things about yourself that might help you understand why others responded to you in certain ways, or why you are thinking and feeling in the ways you are.

For example, I am an INFJ. This is the least common personality type. Therefore 99% of people are not like me in personality, and in a gathering of 100 people there is only one that is similar to me, however they might be scoring different on the continuum and still falling in the same four areas. INFJs are very sensitive to conflict. That is a key to me in  processing the struggles I have had in the two churches where I had problems because the situations started with some conflict that I didn’t know how to work through but I was stressed and troubled just because of the presence of conflict. INFJs are highly intuitive and therefore trust their own instincts above all else. After I was abused five years ago I completely doubted my instincts. This left me in a place of conflict within myself that hit me at the deepest levels and as INFJs are not common I had trouble finding another others who could understand or help me through the process.

Personality types are not the end all of understanding ourselves. The Bible does not directly speak about them, and they are based on humanitarian theories and beliefs. As such, I advise looking at them with discernment and caution, but also with eyes and a heart to see and learn something new. This tool can help you understand yourself, others, and relationships in new and insightful ways.

Have any of you seen others ways that tools like personality tests can help in the recovery process from trauma, abuse, and spiritual conflict?