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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Counseling to Type Strategies – Thinking Preference (Part 1)

Written by Catherine Rains 

So your student has a preference for Thinking – now what?  In part one, I start you off with a strategy of how to demonstrate competence to the student in order to motivate them to buy into the career counseling process.

Demonstrate competence. That is YOUR competence, not theirs!  Before someone with a Thinking preference can settle into the counseling process with you, they need to make sure you have the expertise necessary to work with their presenting concerns.  What are some quick ways to do this?

o   Have your degrees framed on the wall for them to see
o   Add your degree (M.S., PhD, etc.) and credentials (MBTI® Certified, Licensed Counselor, etc.) to your business card, and hand them this card at the beginning of your first session together.
o   Develop a 3 minute elevator pitch to use when introducing yourself to your client, with an emphasis on your success rate for working with students them.

Do you have any other ideas for how you demonstrate competence to Thinking preference students? What are YOUR best suggestions for working with a student who prefers Thinking?

Friday, May 10, 2013

What Fools These Mortals Be! How Personality Type Affects Term Paper Madness

Learning to Learn Series
By Jim Larkin and Jack Powers 

As we approach the semester’s end, the madness often reaches levels akin to those experienced in Shakespeare’s quasi-hallucinatory “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Indeed, the chaos that ensues in the final days before a term paper is due may cause one to exclaim, “What fools these mortals be!”

You’ve likely observed a variety of approaches to term papers among classmates -- some have been writing them since assignment day, while others are just now getting started. Before you pigeonhole people as slackers or over-achievers, let’s take a look at some of the personality type-related factors that influence how individuals approach term papers.

Judging vs. Perceiving preferences
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument, the Judging/Perceiving preference influences how we take in information -- whether it be through a very structured, methodical approach (Judging), or in a more flexible, organic manner (Perceiving).

Even my footnotes have footnotes. Those who prefer Judging (J) may tend to jump right in and begin the process of gathering info and writing the paper early. They’re not necessarily over-achievers -- their mental process requires a very organized, structured approach. For them, it’s easier to work consistently along a well-defined timeline than to feel rushed at the end.

I wrote my paper before the note card. Someone with a Perceiving (P) preference, on the other hand, will tend to wait a bit longer to get started -- at least on the writing portion. While it may appear that the P-oriented student is procrastinating, often they’re actually working just as hard as the J -- the work is just going on “below the surface.”

For Ps, too much emphasis on process can be intellectually stifling. While the J-oriented student is busy taking notes, creating outlines, etc., the P-oriented student may be just as busy absorbing and processing information -- they may in fact be writing the paper in their head, so to speak.

As a result, a P may be able to crank out a substantive paper in an amount of time that seems quite puzzling and counter-intuitive to the J-oriented student -- they may very well create the notecards after the paper .

Is one approach better than the other?
Either approach can yield a very well thought-out paper. However, there are a few things about term papers that folks who prefer Perceiving may want to keep in mind:

  • They require documentation. Regardless of how well versed in the subject you may be, you don’t want to be formatting footnotes the night before your paper is due.
  • The unexpected. Factors outside your control that can add to the time it takes to write a term paper -- computer problems, illness, unexpected assignments. As Monthy Python put it, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” The P tendency to wait until later in the game to begin writing can get you into trouble -- something that sets you back a single 24-hour period can make the difference between several letter grades.

Ps should take a cue from Js, but not necessarily vice versa
While either approach can work, Ps are wise to take at least a few cues from their Judging classmates, and put some structure and timing in place. For them it may require a balance -- if they try to be too structured, they may drive themselves crazy. However, if they exclusively follow innate tendencies they may produce a paper that lacks credibility in the professor’s eyes.  

Js, on the other hand, may not want to take cues from Ps -- at least when it comes to delaying the writing process. Because of their preference for structure and process, the last minute rush may have a markedly more stressful effect on a J than on a P.

S.L.A.C.K.E.R -- the universal personality type
One final note: Your Myers-Briggs® personality type describes how you work best, but says nothing about your work ethic. Js and Ps can be equally hard-working or lazy, and that student you see waiting til the night before to write their paper might be a J -- their head will just be spinning faster than a procrastinating P.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Counseling to Type Strategies – Feeling (Part 2)

Written by Catherine Rains 

Let’s continue the discussion on how to motivate a student who prefers Feeling to buy in to the career counseling process. Here are a couple more suggestions: 
  • Affirmation goes a long way.  Reinforcing students who prefer Feeling with positive, validating comments is key to not only developing rapport with them, but also in motivating them to move forward with their career decisions.  If you disagree with a decision they are making, find a way to present your contrary opinion in a way where they still feel affirmed and validated. 
  • Rational process.  Contrary to popular belief, both Feeling and Thinking preferences use a rational process for making decisions.  However, with a Feeling preference, the emphasis is on feelings and values, rather than logic.  Again, to make a balanced, complete decision, our students need to consider both Feeling and Thinking, and we need to make sure that they are considering both sets of criteria, not just Feeling (or Thinking). 
Can anyone provide a concrete example or description of an appointment they had with student who prefers Feeling?  What did the session look like?  What are YOUR best suggestions for working with a student who prefers Feeling?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Getting the information you need to make better reintegration decisions

Managing the Transition Home – Post 5
Written by Katherine and Elizabeth Hirsh

In previous posts we’ve looked at the impact of particular preferences (for example, Extraversion  and Introversion) on your reintegration journey. In the next few posts we’d like to introduce another way of working with MBTI® personality type, what we call a “Lens.” Like a pair of glasses, a Type Lens can help you see yourself and others more clearly. It can focus your attention on specific similarities and differences in the way people experience reintegration.

Let’s begin by exploring the Functions Lens, named thusly because it is based on the second and third letters in the four-letter type code—S or N and T or F—which are called the Functions. The Functions Lens highlights four ways of seeing the world: through Sensing and Thinking (ST), through Sensing and Feeling (SF), through Intuition and Feeling (NF), and through Intuition and Thinking (NT). 

Because the Functions Lens is based on just two of your letters rather than your whole type, each of the four different pairings has something in common with two of the other pairings: ST and SF share Sensing, NT and NF share Intuition, ST and NT share Thinking, and SF and NF share Feeling. Given they share a Function in common, there are some similarities in how individuals from each of these groupings approach reintegration. In contrast, differences between the reintegration approaches of individuals from groupings that do not have any letters in common—STs and NFs, and SFs and NTs—may be easier to spot.

How can an awareness of the Functions Lens help you? The Functions Lens highlights what tends to capture your attention, where you typically expend effort, and what you may fail to consider without a gentle reminder. Armed with this knowledge about your personal style, you can enlist others to help you get the information you need during reintegration, including support in exploring those areas that for you tend to fade into the background. 

People with preferences for ST tend to be present focused and data driven. If this is your style, you can improve your reintegration process by 
  • Asking directly for specifics on what systems would provide the best concrete results right now 
  • Taking time to shift your attention to encompass the future and people-oriented concerns 
People with preferences for SF tend to be present focused and people oriented. If this is your style, you can improve your reintegration process by 
  • Asking directly for specifics on the most practical way to take the best care of yourself and others right now 
  • Taking time to shift your attention to encompass the future and data-driven concerns
People with preferences for NF tend to be future focused and people oriented. If this is your style, you can improve your reintegration process by 
  • Asking directly for ideas on what might best motivate you and others going forward 
  • Taking time to shift your attention to encompass the present and data-driven concerns
People with preferences for NT tend to be future focused and data driven. If this is your style, you can improve your reintegration process by 
  • Asking directly for ideas on what systems could be developed to provide the best outcomes going forward 
  • Taking time to shift your attention to encompass the present and people-oriented concerns
Having a sense of your personal style and your needs during reintegration can make your life more manageable as you transition from warrior to worker. You can ask for the information you need to feel confident about your reintegration choices—details or the big picture, data or people—and also request help in areas that come less naturally to you. You may even recognize where you and your colleagues, friends, or family members might misunderstand one another due to your different ways of approaching things. Switching gears from service to civilian life can be tough—let knowledge of your MBTI type make it a little easier!

You can learn more on the topic of psychological type and reintegration in our booklet Introduction to Type® and Reintegration.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Counseling to Type Strategies – Feeling (Part 1)

Written by Catherine Rains 

What are some strategies you can use to motivate a student who prefers Feeling to buy in to the career counseling process?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Develop rapport before anything else! Although all students want a competent counselor, a Feeling preference wants a counselor they LIKE, even more. You could be the most competent counselor in the world, but if they don’t personally like you, your competence is irrelevant.  Students who prefer Feeling only want to work with a counselor with whom they feel a personal connection to, and where they perceive the counselor personally likes them in return.  So begin an appointment with this type of student by talking about who they are outside of the issues they are coming to see you for.  Taking the time to create a personal connection will go a long way for setting the stage for success with this type of student.
  • What do you value most? Since this is their top criteria in making a career decision, it is important to take the time to find out what is most important to them, and who might also be affected by the decisions that they are making.  Although students who prefer Feeling will easily use these criteria when making decision, we need to make sure they also consider Thinking criteria so that they have a balanced, well thought out decision.

We'll continue with a couple more suggestions on counseling to Feeling preferences next week.