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Combining the PMAI® and the MBTI®

Using Archetypes with Personality Type

Millions of people around the world know their psychological type, the result of completing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment. The MBTI® instrument is a tool created by Isabel Myers based on Carl G. Jung's personality type theories. Many people also know Jung's work for his concept of the archetype and consider archetypes to be the core of Jungian psychology.

The PMAI® assessment applies the same successful approach of the MBTI instrument to the measurement of archetypes. The PMAI® assessment reports on the influence of twelve archetypal themes for individuals, and when used in conjunction with knowledge of psychological type preferences gives greater insight into the complexities of being human.


Type and Archetypes: Differences and Similarities

Because type and archetype are concerned with different aspects of the whole personality, taking both the PMAI and MBTI instruments can provide deeper self-understanding. Some of the key differences in the theories of type and archetype include:
  1. Type is more descriptive of our cognitive style. Type describes "how" we prefer to function. Archetypes are more concerned with the forces that motivate our functioning.
  2. Type has fewer dimensions. There are only four dimensions of type as measured by the MBTI instrument, but, as Jung wrote, "there are as many archetypes as there are situations in life." The PMAI instrument looks at twelve important archetypes.
  3. Archetype profiles change. Type theory maintains that preferences are inborn and lifelong. Because there are so many archetypes available in our collective unconscious, however, different ones are likely to be more influential at certain stages or situations of life. Assessing both type and archetype, therefore, provides more information, encompassing both dispositional and situational influences upon personality. Taking the PMAI instrument again over time can reveal which archetypes are active as we move through the various stages and situations in our lives.
  4. Archetypes are influenced by culture. People who share type preferences perceive and judge in similar ways, regardless of their countries of origin. In contrast, archetypes are influenced by "a person's culture, setting, and time in history" (Pearson & Marr, 2002). Thus, both societal culture and smaller subcultures can profoundly influence archetypes.
  5. Archetypes link to our unconscious. Psychological type is partly, if not primarily, a conscious activity, with type functions either described as "modes of consciousness" (Hillman, 1974, p. 84) or ranked from "most conscious" to the "essentially unconscious" inferior function (Quenk, 2002). In contrast, archetypes are the "contents of the unconscious." Assessing archetypal influence, therefore, can provide a window into our deepest inner levels.


Using the PMAI and the MBTI Instruments Together

By studying results from the MBTI and PMAI instruments used in combination, CAPT has confirmed predicted relationships between these two measures. For example, per Pearson & Marr (2002), the Seeker archetype is largely concerned with potential—visualizing and pursuing possibilities. High Seeker scores on the PMAI assessment are associated with a preference for Intuition on the MBTI measure (McPeek, 2008).

But combining MBTI and PMAI results might tell us something important and unique about our Seeker. A judging function preference for Thinking would orient a Seeker towards facts, accuracy, and knowledge—a "search for truth." A Seeker with a preference for Feeling will be concerned with harmony, contentment, and human values—more like a "search for bliss." Each may thus seek different goals or follow divergent career paths—for example, a truth Seeker as a cancer researcher and a harmony Seeker as a marriage counselor.

Measuring both type and archetype affords a deeper self-awareness, encompassing both conscious and unconscious processes, lifelong and life-situational tendencies, and preferences for behavior that range from fundamental to nuanced.



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