I have read this article several times and since tomorrow is our last class, and I’m a “P” I’m now ready to respond! At first I was very confused by what Gordon Lawrence was trying to convey. I looked up the definitions for type and trait. Not helpful…but after letting this swim around in my brain for a few weeks, I feel like I’m gaining some understanding. Types are patterns of mental processing. We filter and process our experiences in different ways. “Type becomes the mental framework to which can be attached a wide variety of traits.” This became very clear to me with the example of people with an extraverted mental framework. They may be more or less outgoing to others. Being outgoing is a skill that can be “hung” on an E or an I but, it is likely more natural to an E.
Descriptions of frameworks (types) talk about values, priorities, and motivations rather than traits that one can possess more or less of. Gordon Lawrence further states that changing a description to say INFPs are likely to be sensitive and caring to INFPs value sensitivity and caring changes how we understand this concept. The mental framework of an INFP has a built in priority for certain traits that may or may not be well developed.
In both the article and other handouts having the opposite types listed next to each other clearly shows me the contrast in their values. This helped a great deal in some behavior issues with a student who is the opposite type from me. She values directness, tough mindedness, results, doing, and acting. I value gentle respectful interactions, harmony, and, compassion. With her, I am now more objective and logical, appeal to her great leadership skills, and set clear and consistent limits. Things are getting much better!