Since the 1990s, academic psychologists have put forward a number of MBTI criticisms. These have persisted and not been resolved. This year is the centenary celebration of Jung’s publication of Psychologische Typen. The British Association of Psychological Type (BAPT) therefore organised a symposium (1-3, 7-9 June 2021) to discuss these criticisms.
Whose side would Jung be on?
My presentation opened the symposium. It considered how Jung’s views related to the academic psychologists’ criticisms of the MBTI. It also compared the three main paradigms of academic psychology, Myers-Briggs typology, and Jungian/Post-Jungian theory (or analytical psychology). BAPT have published the recording (also below) on the their youtube channel. The presentation lasts just under an hour.
A new video explains Jung’s theory of typology and compares it with the popular interpretation developed by Isabel Briggs Myers. It examines the aspect of typological theory that Jung often complained was overlooked. The video lasts just over 50 minutes and covers:
There is a popular misunderstanding that C.G. Jung approved of Isabel Briggs Myers’ work. However, he repeatedly objected to the popular interpretation of his book Psychological Types and research based on the MBTI® instrument. There was a rift between I.B. Myers and C.G. Jung which has been hidden for more than half a century from those who use Myers-Briggs typology (Myers, S. 2019).
The misunderstanding is largely due to a complimentary letter from Jung to Myers in 1950. However, Jung did not write it and it did not represent his opinion. It was written by his secretary who couched it in diplomatic language to conceal Jung’s disapproval.
C.G. Jung not only provided therapy for individuals, but also for religions, cultures and societies. From his analysis of two world wars and the emerging cold war, he identified the psychic epidemic as one of civilisation’s ills.
On 26/27 April 2016, NHS Junior Doctors will be on all-out strike. This will include the withdrawal of support for emergency care and sick children. The dispute is complex and has been going on for several years. In this article, I’m not going to focus on the nature or complexities of the dispute itself, but on how each side has dealt with the conflict. The ongoing failure to resolve the dispute is not due to disagreements over particular points. It is the result of a psychic epidemic, which is something that is much deeper and more difficult to resolve.
In Jung’s last work on the theory of psychological types, published posthumously, he introduced the topic by writing:
“A sane and normal society is one in which people habitually disagree” (Jung 1964, p. 46).
Jung didn’t say (here) why individual disagreements are important to society, but the reasons are evident from many of his writings from 1914 onwards, when he started formulating his theories about “the process of becoming” (Jung 1914, p. 183).
Constructive disagreement is a vital part of Jung’s process of individual and cultural development and it reduces conflict in societal or international relations. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is a natural corollary of Jung’s theories of individuation and collective compensation. I’ll start by explaining these aspects of Jung’s theories, and then conclude with some practical guidelines on what it means to disagree constructively.