Jack Falt on Personality Dimensions
By: Jack Falt
Back when I first took training (1995) in Temperament and then MBTI®, I found that Temperament was barely tolerated by the APT community. Temperament was considered psychological type “lite.” Much has happened since then. I suspect David Keirsey and Linda Berens had a lot to do with it being accepted by the type community. Otto Kroeger was a supporter of the concept as well. He devoted a chapter to temperament in both his Type Talk and Type Talk at Work books. Then when the 1998 Manual came out, temperament was included, and became legitimate and accepted in the type community.
Part of the problem with temperament was the lack of research done on some of the versions of temperament. Isabel Myers had researched her work on the MBTI®, almost obsessively, to gain acceptance from the psychological community for her inventory. One version of the temperament program just said: It works; why do we have to research it? This did not impress people trained in MBTI®.
This lack of research was a key factor in the creation of Personality Dimensions®. Perhaps it was time for a new instrument. Temperament is a simple but powerful way to demonstrate differences between people. Maybe presenting the ideas with a new spin might make it more attractive and Canadian!
Denise Hughes and her company Career/LifeSkills felt that the time had come to produce a program that would answer these needs. Lynda McKim was hired to lead a team to take on the task of going back to basics, building on the work of other authors, and doing the necessary research to develop a new program.
A program was developed and then field tested. Focus groups gave feed back. Personality Dimensions® came into being and continues to be tested and refined. Ongoing statistics are being collected and these in turn are being fed back to the facilitators. The program is a dynamic model that continues to develop as more and more facilitators use it.
Personality Dimensions® was launched last June 2003. For people trained in True Colors™, workshops were given that brought them up to speed with the new model. These workshops proved to be so popular that Career/LifeSkills had to keep adding more and more sessions.
The basic concepts of temperament are similar for all the temperament programs. Only the way they are presented is different, and Personality Dimensions® has a number of unique features. Being able to start over again from scratch and also to try to avoid the problems that other programs had, has been both a challenge and an opportunity for real creativity for the writers. If you attend a PD session, you are likely to see a PowerPoint presentation of the concepts that was professionally prepared. PD is an experiential process, so there are a number of group activities to demonstrate the differences in temperaments. You also should have a lot of fun!
Since many of the PD facilitators are MBTI® trained, in feedback session they felt that there was quite a difference between extraverted and introverted temperaments. So now PD includes materials on extraversion-introversion with a simple quiz to help people determine the attitude.
PD uses a card sort, and cards were created that are actual photographs of objects and people that convey the sense of the temperament. These have been updated since the launch of PD last June as facilitators used them with their clients. There is also a ranking of traits and characterises to help people determine their temperament. The four colours are still used, but there are also symbols for each temperament. It was found that some people are colour blind and found it difficult to follow when the temperaments were described using only the colours. PD has tried to accommodate as many learning modes as possible, and more will be added as it becomes aware of them.
Ever since its launch last June there has been a tremendous response to the program. There has been a demand for materials in French which are now available. Comments from French people are that they are very satisfied that the translation is culturally accurate for French Canadians. A school version is available for both French and English students. More versions will become available to meet the demand.
Perhaps some psychological type facilitators are wondering why there is a necessity for temperament to be presented. As was demonstrated by Keirsey, the temperaments form the foundation of personality types. Linda Berens was able to show how her four Interaction Styles overlaid on the four temperaments give the 16 personality types. Temperament is where our needs and motivations come from. It is important for facilitators to be aware of the relationship between the three systems. Temperament is a very useful tool to use to quickly demonstrate personality differences. It is a helpful way to introduce personality concepts into home, education and work. Personality Dimensions® is well worth investigating to broaden your understanding of personality, even if you do not go on to become a facilitator.
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