Table of content
- 1 How to work with the Seven Types
- 2 A five-step approach to using the Seven Types with clients
- 3 Circle of integration
- 4 The seven glamours and shadow work
- 5 Next steps:A whole range of possibilities in counselling work
How to work with the Seven Types
This chapter is written for counsellors who would like to work with the Seven Types as part of their professional practice.
The first and most important step is to undergo the same training as the one you would like to offer your clients. As with any model or mode of therapy, the best education is to have undergone the process yourself so you know the theory from an experiential point of view. Undergoing the work will involve studying the Seven Types, but will also ideally involve undergoing training and/or consultations with a qualified Seven Types typologist. There is, of course, no problem with applying the theory of the types yourself when you feel ready but, as you might realise after reading this book, the Seven Types is a vast typological system which needs deep understanding to apply properly.
As you begin to explore working with the Seven Types, the ideas in this chapter will help you. I will not be touching upon the areas of auto-psychosynthesis (working on yourself), couples counselling, social work, teamwork or education – even though these are all fruitful areas for the application of the Seven Types. Rather, my focus will be entirely on psychotherapy, counselling and coaching. In particular, I will describe a five-step approach for basic work – first in brief, then in more detail – then I describe two more tools for the counsellors – the Circle of Integration and the seven glamours – and, finally, I will conclude with a summary of the many ways that the Seven Types can be used to help clients.
A five-step approach to using the Seven Types with clients
- Describe the benefits of the Seven Types: The client must understand the benefits of the Seven Types. We must therefore explain the basic theory and explain how the Seven Types can offer new insights as part of the psychosynthesis process.
- Identify the client’s types: A counsellor trained in the Seven Types will be able to formulate a hypothesis about a client’s dominant types at the five levels. You can also make use of various online profiling tools (our own website, JivaYou.com, offers a range of profiling tools – see conclusion of this chapter for more information).
- Verify and calibrate the types: If you are working with an online profiling tool, it is important to remember that the client’s results will, at least in part, reflect the client’s distorted and false self-perceptions – as is inevitable with any form of self-assessment. It is therefore necessary to work with the client to match their profile results with reality – and the trained typologist can do this by making a deeper exploration of the client’s life (looking at areas such as their education, work and interests). In this way, the typologist can generate a more accurate five-digit type- combination for the client. Note: at this early stage of counselling, this type-combination is a hypothesis – the ongoing counselling is likely to shed new light on the client’s combination of types.
- Goal-setting: Having established a hypothetical type-combination, the client is ready to reflect on the particular developmental needs and goals for his combination of types. In this regard, the counsellor might like to proceed with the work making use of the four cardinal areas and seven perspectives (as described in chapter 14). The aim of the work at this stage is to help the client formulate a vision for their developmental goals. The therapist can also make use of ideal models (self-images, or visions, of what one might be) – these will naturally emerge as the work proceeds and will inform the direction of the counselling.
- Psychosynthetic work: Having worked through the first four steps, the deep work of counselling will be well underway, and the client will be aware of the particular psychosynthetic task facing their type- combination. At this point, the therapist can work in a number of ways:
- Draw on different methods and techniques according to the client’s type-combination and goals, and the approach can be updated as the work progresses.
- Hold in mind Assagioli’s (1983: 13) three developmental concepts: expression, control and harmonisation of the psychological qualities.
- Always acknowledge and mirror the qualities of the types as they emerge in the client via subpersonalities, personality traits, longings and expressions.
- Adapt your approach and communication style to fit with the client’s dominant types (whichever of the five dominant types is most present in the session). For example, a dynamic personality type should be addressed in a direct style (see chapter 14 for the seven counselling styles).
Let’s now look at each of these five steps in more detail.
1. Describe the benefts of the Seven Types
I will begin by highlighting some of the key points regarding the Seven Types that the counsellor needs to share with the client.
- The Seven Types offer an in-depth understanding of a person’s essential qualities, motivations and developmental patterns.
- Knowing a client’s dominant types at the five psychological levels offers a profound insight into our natural way of being – and knowing this can help us begin to disidentify from external and inauthentic influences that can trap us.
When we work with the core of our being, we will start to understand how we can:
- Own ourselves;
- Express our natural qualities;
- Control our natural tendencies to create imbalance;
- Harmonise our natural qualities with the complementary qualities of the other types.
- In short, the philosophy of the Seven Types offers a unique way for being in tune with our natural energies as they manifest at the five psychological levels. There is no stronger foundation than being aligned with our natural DNA – biologically, psychologically and spiritually.
- The importance of the soul type should be emphasised. Our soul type reveals our particular way to the soul, revealing our most valuable creative resources and showing us how to express them in service to the world. Our soul type connects us with our life purpose and with the meaning we are here to unfold. Our soul type directs us to our service group (for each of us there is a specific community that we are called to nurture, develop and cooperate with). We need to understand about our soul type so we can work on transpersonal psychosynthesis (which is the integration of our soul qualities with our personality qualities, a process during which there may be an existential crisis due to conflict in the dynamics of the energies, values and motivations of these two types).
- It is crucial for the client to identify their personality type. Knowing our personality type means we will know which qualities and personal resources we need to develop in order to realise our ambitions and goals; the personality type is the vehicle through which we can be a success in the world through making an impact and having an influential voice in our chosen field. In particular, unfolding our personality type will enable us to identify the quality of our will- to-be-self – be it dynamic, sensitive, creative, etc. – and this will help us to integrate our inner resources and outside support so we can achieve our goals. To fully manifest our personality type means becoming a self-actualised person, to use Maslow’s term. However, the integration of our personality type is not an easy task – it entails utilising the guidance of a strong and loving self to harmonise and align conflicting forces under the rule of the strong and loving self. The most common conflicts are those that arise between our body, feeling and thinking types, and those that are due to the impact of the environment on our inner well-being.
2. Identify the client’s types
The trained typologist is advised to make use of online profiling tools to start the process of identifying the client’s type-combination. Clients can be assessed in other ways – for example they can be assessed directly by an experienced typologist – but an online tool is a useful way to start the process.
If working with the JivaYou online profile, the client’s answers will have suggested some typological preferences (top of the iceberg), while the online system will have generated a comprehensive profile of the deeper underlying typological system, which are a magnification of the client’s self-perceptions. In this way, the JivaYou profile mirrors the consequences of the clients’ choices and offers an image of how clients see themselves. The process is valuable because it focuses the client’s self-awareness – while the online system generates ideal models for them to emulate by identifying the archetypes that are related to the client’s particular personality type and soul type. However, as valuable as this is, it is not enough to create a valid hypothesis of the client’s types because the online profiles rely on the accuracy of both the client’s self-evaluation and the system’s validity, neither of which can be 100% accurate.
What do I mean by the system’s validity? The system is a work in progress. The results it gives are based on gathering data from the client that can be accurately matched with the types. However, we are still in the process of fine-tuning our questionnaire in order to ensure accurate matches. The more the questionnaire is used, the more we will be able to fine-tune the questions. For example, with a statement such as “I am a strong and courageous leader”, several types will be able to identify with such a statement, especially the dynamic, dedicated and practical types. Hence, we have been working hard to discover unique statements that can be matched only to one particular type. This is an ongoing process, which requires a lot of research and experimentation involving many types of people.
Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon of the client’s distorted self- image, which reflects a lack of self-awareness. Assagioli has described how it is possible to develop a self-model (self-perception) that represents a false self (false self-image) in that it does not reflect who we truly are. Indeed, most of us have, to some extent, an inaccurate, or false, view of ourselves. In fact, we can each hold a number of false self-models which could be in conflict with each other – these form the many subpersonalities and inner voices that compete for our attention. In my book The Soul of Psychosynthesis I devote an entire chapter to these self-images and how to work with them.
Among the variety of false self-models, Assagioli (1965: 167) mentions the following:
- Who we believe we are. These models come in two classes according to whether we over-evaluate or under-evaluate ourselves. In the first category, we magnify qualities and make them more prominent than they are, perhaps imagining certain qualities are dominant energies, whereas they are in fact secondary energies. In the second category, we neglect or are unaware that we have significant qualities. Both of these errors in self-perception will affect the client’s online profile results.
- Who we think we should be. This refers to our identification with an idealistic, unrealistic or unattainable model of self, the effect of this is that any online profile results will confuse these idealised qualities with our dominant types.
- How we would like to appear to others. This sort of model refers to how we see ourselves within our important personal relationships. We often long to be someone we are not, perhaps fooling ourselves into believing that’s what we are. When under the influence of this sort of false self-model, we would create an online profile that makes us look good in the eyes of others.
- Images which others produce in us, i.e. self-images evoked by others. We are often unconsciously identified with this sort of false self-model. In technical language, this is called “projective identification”. These self-models can be very damaging. For example, someone brought up in a harsh military setting might consider himself to be soft, weak and sensitive because he is comparing himself with those around him and has internalised their negative judgements. According to this distorted self-perception, he might consider himself to be a sensitive type, but he might in fact be any of the other types. Alternatively, in a situation like this one, a person could overcompensate for his perceived sensitivity by making himself appear tough and courageous, which would also be a false self-model, this time falsely conveying the idea of the dynamic type. On this topic of compensation, Assagioli (1983: 12-13) offers the following interesting observations from history:
In fact, we often have the tendency to over-estimate precisely the quality that we lack. Two famous examples of hyper-compensation are those of Nietzsche and Tolstoy. Nietzsche originally had a sensitive, passionate but rather weak nature and, in his frantic efforts to conquer his limitations, he over-emphasised the value of power and of a stern and unyielding will, coming in the end to justify cruelty itself.
The case of Tolstoy is at the opposite extreme. By nature a man of great vitality, Tolstoy was impulsive and violent, with strong instincts and a great love of beauty and physical well-being. He tried to master himself and in his struggle against his exuberant nature, which we may read in his diary – a human and psychological document of great value – he arrived at the glorification of non-resistance to evil and of celibacy and eventually came to an excessive depreciation of art and a total condemnation of modern civilisation.
Apart from these well-known examples, we have many cases, half amusing and half pathetic, of weak, timid and unsuccessful men who affect to possess Napoleonic qualities.
The counsellor must therefore help the client to distinguish between their inherent natural types and qualities that have been created by their environment, which may include qualities and behaviours that are based on the client’s fear, guilt or shame in response to the context of their environment.
It should also be noted that a person might semi-consciously repress certain aspects of themselves because they don’t like those particular qualities, which would make the self-model category something like: what one really is but tries to repress. To give an example, I worked with a client who’d had a long career as a computer programmer but whose profile results suggested a very low analytical function. When we discussed his profile results and reflected on his dominant types, the client admitted he was tired of his analytical qualities and had deliberately devalued them when answering the questionnaire. He was no doubt an analytical thinking type, but his concern was to develop new qualities.
Clearly, it is not an easy task to discern a client’s dominant types at the five levels. This is why we always recommend that client’s work with a professional counsellor who can test any online profiling results: we call this verifying and calibrating the types.
3. Verify and calibrate the types
The aim of the counsellor working with the seven Types is to help the client to establish a clear and accurate picture of themselves – to acquire a realistic self-image that can form the basis of an authentic self-identity. When this has been established, the work of integration can begin.
Working with the client and their online profile results, a trained typologist can implement the process of verifying and calibrating the types. The counsellor will be able to compare the client’s profile results with the qualities the client radiates in the counselling room. As well as working with the client’s online profile, the counsellor can explore aspects of the client’s life in detail – such as type of education, work and interests – all of which will generate additional information to help identify the client’s types.
By gathering all this information, and working through any apparent contradictions or mismatches in the data, the counsellor can help the client to generate a more accurate profile by adjusting the answers to the questionnaire, so a new profile is generated of their dominant types. The result will be a valid hypothesis of types which can then be tested and adjusted repeatedly by observing real life situations.
During this period of the counselling, the counsellor must consider what Assagioli referred to as the age of the soul, which means a person’s level of development. Assagioli (1930) explained: “If we consider, even superficially, the various human beings who surround us, we soon discover that they are not equally developed from the psychological and spiritual standpoint”.
Clearly, some clients are further ahead on the spiritual path having undergone a change of values, shifting from a personal to a transpersonal value-system wherein altruistic and idealistic motivations start to emerge. For such people, transpersonal psychosynthesis is a relevant issue because their soul type has started to influence their personality type.
However, some other clients are still focused on their need for status and recognition. Such clients might not be interested in ideals or spiritual values, but only want to live a good material life and take care of their relatives. In these cases, it is the personality type that is in the driving seat, pursuing personal success and well-being, and personal psychosynthesis is the relevant therapeutic work.
Yet another client might be struggling simply to manage their lives and meet their basic needs – such clients aspire no higher than to live a normal life and feel a sense of acceptance. Such clients don’t hold any conscious ambitions or idealistic inclinations, they only want to be safe and to get through the day. For these clients, the therapeutic work will centre on their body, feeling and thinking types. This kind of therapy is dealing primarily with the pre-personal.
So, as we can see, the focus of therapy will vary according to the client’s level of development. This is how Assagioli (1967b), quoting Jung, differentiated between these different types of psychotherapy:
There are many, specially among the young, whose disturbances have been produced by psychic traumas, by conflicts rooted in the personal unconscious, or by strife between the individual and other people, above all members of the family and the social environment. Jung maintains that in these cases, treatment mainly psychoanalytical and certain methods that he included in what he called “little therapy” may suffice (see La Guérison Psychologique, p. 239). However, these cases often require also the application of active techniques that Jung neglects.
On the other hand, there is a broad group of patients whose disturbances are the product of crises and deep conflicts of an “existential” kind, which involve fundamental human problems about the meaning and purpose of life in general and about the individual’s own life. It is to be remarked that not infrequently the patient is not aware of these deep-seated causes of his illness, and it is the treatment that renders him conscious of them and then helps him to eliminate them.
Therefore, we can see that the counsellor working with the Seven Types must be able to differentiate between three levels of counselling, i.e. the pre-personal, personal and transpersonal. Being able to work at all three levels will ensure that the counsellor is able to cover all aspects of the client’s life and psychic journey – and, as a result, it will be possible to identify which of the types have unfolded at the different stages of development.
As this process proceeds, the client will sense a lot of new questions. As their self-awareness and knowledge of their types grows, the client will start to question their present needs and start to imagine new ambitions and goals.
4. Goal-setting: Where do we go from here?
The task at this stage of counselling is for the counsellor to help the client to set realistic goals that are in line with their dominant types. There is no fixed way of working. Rather, the client’s unique existential situation will determine the most appropriate way to proceed. For example, if we were to track the developmental stage of the client’s psychological functions, we could find that each one is in a different place on a developmental line that runs from the pre-personal, through the personal to the transpersonal (I explore this idea in detail in my MA dissertation, Integral Psychosynthesis). The developmental task facing each function will generate different conflicts or crises which can be analysed through the lens of the Seven Types. Remember that whenever we wish to develop new qualities in the personality, we must work with the underlying psychological function in order to discern where a function is being impeded and is in need of development – hence, objectives, or goals, can be set to allow for each function to develop.
At this stage, we can also work with the four cardinal angles and the seven counselling strategies (as described in chapter 14).
5. Psychosynthetic work
For the psychosynthesis practitioner, it can be helpful to consider organising your counselling work around Assagioli’s three concepts of expression, control and harmonisation. To explain:
- Expression: The client needs to understand what the best possible expression of his types would look like and, accordingly, he must be encouraged to work with the most appropriate ideal model (ideal self-image) to help him develop his natural types.
- Control: The client must be aware of the possible distortions that can afflict his dominant types and learn how to control such distortions.
- Harmonisation: The client is called to harmonise his dominant types because very often qualities from other types will help in balancing the distortions of this dominant types.
Circle of integration
The Circle of Integration is a useful tool for the counsellor who is seeking to support the unfolding of the dominant types through the balancing of opposite, and therefore conflicting, types. The Circle of Integration shows which psychological functions are in opposition and how they can be integrated to create balance within the types. For each type, at every level, there is a Primary Developer that needs to be integrated. The Primary Developer is our ‘opposite function’, so called because it contains the qualities we find most difficult to access. The two functions which are on the left and right of the Primary Developer in the circle are called Helpers because they provide further opportunities and perspectives for establishing the harmony required for the type to fully unfold.
Let me give an example of how to use the Circle of Integration. I will be using the sensitive soul type, whose archetype is the Illuminator. The Circle of Integration for the Illuminator is shown in Figure 30. As can be seen, it is through the psychological function of feeling that the soul type will primarily unfold.
As can be seen in the circle diagram, the Primary Developer for the Illuminator is the Explorer, an archetype derived from the psychological function of logic. The development and integration of the Explorer will give the Illuminator the ability to prioritise and discern what is true and false. Through developing the Explorer, the Illuminator can learn to take a detached and objective position that is not caught up with feelings or a sense of dependency. Through integrating these qualities, the Illuminator will learn how to make objective use of factual information rather than getting caught up in subjective values. This will make the Illuminator better able to analyse a situation.
In addition, the Illuminator can draw upon two Helpers – the Hero and the Genius (will and thought). The Hero is a guide with a strong sense of power and authority – the Hero gives the Illuminator the freedom and courage to explore new opportunities in life. The Genius, meanwhile, provides the ability to take an overview of a situation and the mental flexibility to discern intelligent energy-efficient solutions – the Genius helps the Illuminator to devise, communicate and implement new ideas, building on the Illuminator’s natural ability to work with empathy and practical compassion.
This example shows how a client’s weaker psychological functions can be developed (a core concept in psychosynthesis) in order to become more balanced and harmonised in their overall expression.
The seven glamours and shadow work
Shadow work involves addressing the many distorted ways (conscious or unconscious) in which a type can express itself. Indeed, these distortions generate the sort of material that very often prompts a client to seek counselling.
When the client who is working with the Seven Types comes to understand that their problem is related to a particular type – whether a natural dominant type, qualities from overcompensation, or a false type that has been projected onto the client – this often generates a feeling of acceptance and gratitude that their problem is natural or due to false self-images. For example, for the strong dynamic or dedicated type it is natural to have anger management issues. Understanding their issues in this way will help the client to either accept the situation as a natural condition or to recognise that the issue is the result of a false self- image that they can reject – either way they are able to develop.
In his writings on meditation, Assagioli (1970b: Year 3) described some of the distortions that can arise from the seven types to hinder personal and transpersonal psychosynthesis. He terms these distortions “glamours” because they distort spiritual reality; in the language of the Seven Types we call these distortions “limiters” because they limit higher expressions of the types. Table 11 offers an overview of these glamours/limiters, but I would advise the reader to look at how Assagioli (1970b) defines the glamours and describes how they can be managed.
A whole range of possibilities in counselling work
Let me conclude this chapter by summarising some of the many themes and aspects of life that be addressed when working with the Seven Types in counselling.
The following list is based on the information that can be generated by completing the online profiling tools available at JivaYou.com. To begin with, the client can complete profiles to help discover their personality type, soul type, five top talents, and top limiters. This gives a lot of information that can be used as part of the counselling process. Let’s consider some of the themes that can be drawn out of the information generated by these profiles and then worked with:
Life purpose and meaning: This theme is related to the seven ways to the soul and the development of the qualities of the soul type.
Soul motivation: This theme concerns our essential motivation for living a meaningful life, which is linked to our soul type. This motivation could be power, love, intelligence, creativity, knowledge, faith or results.
Soul integration: This refers to the harmonisation of the soul type with its opposites and with the qualities of the primary developer, helpers and integrators. This involves learning to control the distortions of the types, or limiters.
Ambition and self-esteem. This is related to the development of the personality type and our path to material and personal success.
Personality motivation. This concerns the discovery of our primary drive to success, be it power, love, intelligence, harmony, know-how, faith or results.
Personality integration. This concerns the development of the highest and most positive expression of our personality by integrating qualities from other types and transforming distortions.
Soul-personality integration. As discussed in chapter 8, the client needs to balance their outer life with their inner being, which involves combining the qualities of the personality type and soul type in service to the world.
Communication issues. Work in this area will be primarily focused on finding ways to unfold and develop the best qualities of the client’s dominant thinking type.
Love issues. This theme involves working with the client’s dominant feeling type, which will provide insight for developing relational qualities and tackling relational problems.
Grounding. This theme involves working with the body type to help a client relate to the material world and generate sufficient physical energy to accomplish what is needed.
Balancing the psychological functions: The JivaYou profiles show how the seven psychological functions can be balanced by highlighting where there is an insufficient development of the functions.
Top talents and their development. The JivaYou talent profile identifies a client’s most developed talents based on their self-perception and experience. The profile identifies how these talents can be developed and balanced and how distortions can be addressed. The profile also identifies the three developmental keys for each talent that needs working on, these are the imbalance, the imbalance trigger, the primary developer and helpers that could be utilised to address the imbalance.
The talent balance. The degree of development of each of the 63 talents that we all possess can be identified. This will reveal potential talents and emergent talents we can nurture and develop.
Top limiters and their development. This aspect of profiling identifies a client’s top five limiters (i.e. shadows or distortions) and describes the difficulties they create and how they can be worked with to achieve harmonisation.
Limiter balance. This theme concerns the relationship between the 56 limiters, identifying which of the limiters need addressing.
Being-Doing balance. This concerns the balance between being (soul) and doing (personality), as discussed in chapter 8.
Introvert-Extrovert balance. This theme concerns our introvert/ extrovert preference at each of the five levels. This information is generated when the JivaYou personality, soul, talent and limiter profiles have all been completed.
Intelligence balance. This concerns the balance between the renewing types (dynamic, sensitive, mental) and the manifesting types (creative, analytical, dedicated and practical).
The five elements balance. This concerns how the elements can be balanced across the five levels of body (earth), feeling (water), thinking (air), personality/will (fire) and soul (ether).
Masculine-feminine balance. The JivaYou profiling can identify how the client is balance across the more masculine energies (dynamic, mental, analytical, practical) and the more feminine energies (sensitive, creative, dedicated).
As can be seen from the above list, the counsellor working with the Seven Types has a great many options and angles from which to work with the client. Given this vast range of options, it can be helpful to gain a sense of clarity at the beginning of the work. Asking the following questions will help:
What does the client want? What are the client’s fundamental needs, longings and goals?
Why does the client want this? What are the values and motivations underlying the client’s desires?
What limits the client? What makes it difficult for the client to realise their needs?
What supports the client? What resources – inner and outer – can the client call on for support while journeying towards their goal?
How will the client do it? What are the client’s first and next steps?