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Type at the Family Conference Table: In the Grip

May 27, 2016 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

This is the final post in my 10-part blog series, “Type at the Family Conference Table,” and I would like to begin by thanking CPP for a great collaboration throughout my participation in the MBTI® Certification Program and throughout these posts. Certification Trainer Michael Segovia and his team went out of their way to assist me during the program (which was sort of a birthday present), increasing the pressure for me to have the week go well!). I would also like to thank Associate Marketing Manager, Eugeniá Wright, for all of her assistance in putting together this blog series. I came to learn about personality type in the course of my work in a very niche field in healthcare of clinical ethics consultation and have found it very useful. This blog series has focused thus far on individuals in the hospital who (1) are typically stressed out and often even traumatized, and (2) are called upon to make significantly important and impactful decisions for themselves and sometimes the people they love. This is the tragic nature of medical decision making. In an attempt now to expand my view, I want to close the series with a related look at the hospital itself. In September 2015 I attended two very different conference sessions. The first was at the 2015 MBTI® Users Conference, where we looked at the MBTI type preferences of different business cultures. For example, technology and engineering tend to reflect an NT culture, with values and norms promoted by Intuitive Thinking types. Healthcare, on the other hand, is by and large an SF culture, valuing genuine communication, collaboration, and providing practical care to people. Obviously, aspects of all type preferences are present in a hospital, but looking at the mission statements and values posted on the walls, and the unifying fact that every person there is there to help people, the culture certainly skews toward Sensing and Feeling. At another conference for healthcare leaders in California, an emergency room physician talked about “institutional trauma,” the concept that just as physical trauma can impact individuals, an institution like a hospital can suffer trauma throughout its systems too. Distrust among colleagues increases and communication decreases. The organization may become more risk averse and unwilling to meet the needs of some of its customers on the fringes. The narrative of the trauma can get repeated and repeated, lowering morale. For a hospital, or a...

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Type at the Family Conference Table: Introverted Intuition

May 25, 2016 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

Written by Mathew David Pauley, JD, MA, MDR INTJs and INFJs, Introverted Intuitive types, tend to be big-picture, well-organized individuals who can bring both qualities to bear as they work toward their goals. They are often known for their uncanny insight and ability to anticipate things before they happen. However, unlike individuals with a preference for Perceiving, who typically are ready to respond to the unexpected and flex to meet new challenges, INTJs and INFJs would rather diminish the pool of likely unexpected possibilities. Unexpected events such as medical emergencies can stress out anyone, but especially for the normally in-control Introverted Intuitive types, who find themselves suddenly required to both express their less used Extraverted side (engaging the medical team as well as family and friends) and respond to an array of minutiae associated with the emergency. INTJs or INFJs in the grip of their least favorite mental process, Extraverted Sensing, may be trying very hard to control the current circumstances. Normally, their dominant preferences allow these individuals to engage a situation supported by the safety associated with being prepared for it (whereas Extraverted Sensing types would tend to be more comfortable being “in the moment”). So, for example, INTJs or INFJs who arrive at the hospital after their loved one has been rushed into surgery after a car accident, and are left sitting in the waiting room—without understanding exactly what happened, what is currently going on, or what is going to happen—would try to reestablish their normal sense of control amid the chaos. Using their least favorite process, Extraverted Sensing, to regain that control requires them to focus their energies on dealing with the here and now, which they were unable to anticipate, and can seem to others as focusing obsessively on external details. Often the most helpful thing a care provider can do for people is to help them regain balance, or give them the space to get there on their own. Introverted Intuitive types indeed tend to want to get there on their own, and to be allowed time alone to recharge. Recall, the overriding theme of this series of posts is that people in times of stress can be showing you the worst side of their personality type. The person obsessively trying to control every little detail happening around him may be a “big picture” person trying to regain perspective, and the person experiencing a crisis over frightening...

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Type at the Family Conference Table: Extraverted Sensing

May 19, 2016 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

Written by Mathew David Pauley, JD, MA, MDR Leaving the hospital is often wrought with anxiety for family members faced with numerous things they must address for the patient. Hospitals are staffed with highly trained and highly attentive teams of caregivers, so the prospect of a loved one leaving the relative’s safety with the hospital can be nerve wracking. Even moving from one unit to another within the same hospital is often cause for concern. That said, everyone who enters a hospital should have a well-thought-out plan as to how to leave the hospital. Discharge planners meet with patients (and more often family members) to discuss everything they’ll need to go home, or to a nursing home. ESTP and ESFPs, whose favorite mental function is Extraverted Sensing, are often described as hyper-present (being in-the-moment) and aware of what is before them. Consequently, they can adjust, flex, and move tactically as the situation dictates. For example, an ESTP son or daughter may not even balk at the series of obstacles they may have to face to get Mom back home—from checking out nursing homes to procuring medical equipment to reacting when discharge is delayed for two days due to an infection. At their best, they easily engage both the problem and the people, they need to in order to get to where they want to be. However, healthcare can overwhelm anyone, regardless of their favorite mental function. It often requires people to constantly think about the future, and attempt to have contingency plan on top of contingency plans. Mom may fall. Mom may need CPR. Should CPR be performed? Mom’s disease is only going to get worse. She may stop being able to swallow. She may forget who you are. And so on. And possibilities compound upon each other. Whereas INTJs and INFJs, whose favorite mental process is Introverted Intuition, tend to be effective at anticipating and planning for what may occur, that can take ESTPs and ESFPs away from the present, where they are most effective. It may also lead them to focus too much on what needs to get done and how, and ignore or misconstrue why they are working so hard. Healthcare decisions can be divided into immediate (or urgent) decisions and long-term decisions. Immediacy is where Extraverted Sensing individuals tend to prosper, and their responsiveness in those situations is invaluable. In addressing those long-term and future-focused decisions that...

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Type at the Family Conference Table: Extraverted Feeling

May 17, 2016 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

Written by Mathew David Pauley, JD, MA, MDR The image of a family conference in a hospital is typically one of high emotion, even when no apparent conflict is readily identified.  Physicians might be giving bad news, chaplains might be leading families in prayer, or nurses might be leading children into their mother’s room to meet their new sibling; in all cases, lots of people are bringing lots of emotions to bear on a panoply of circumstances. ESFJs and ENFJs, whose favorite mental process is Extraverted Feeling, are generally at ease in expressing their emotions and being with others who are expressing theirs. Accordingly, their strengths lend themselves well to hospital culture—so much so that healthcare culture itself is described as having ESFJ preferences. For ESFJs and ENFJs, who often see themselves as peacemakers, sustained conflict can nevertheless be a huge stressor. They are attuned to and respond to the needs and values of those around them, so it is understandable that a conflict that is growing within their family, shutting down communication and proliferating negative interactions, can lead to an eruption of their least used mental process: Introverted Thinking. Unfortunately, critical illness and a prolonged hospital stay have often caused deep wounds in the relationships within loving families. For instance, a 22-year-old college student with ESFJ preferences has taken a leave from her studies because her grandfather has been in the intensive care unit for the past two weeks. Her mother has asked her to come home and help run errands because she refuses to leave her father’s bedside. Over the next week, this young woman feels that “things are off” and that her aunt and uncle are being exceedingly cruel to her mother based on their curt encounters with her and their seeming lack of sympathy toward what her mother has had to deal with—she was Grand-dad’s caregiver for the past three years. The young woman’s outburst at her uncle in the hallway, claiming that he was trying to go over his mother’s head and have the doctors take her grandfather off life support is in line with her being in the grip of her least favorite mental function. Whereas ISTPs and INTPs would strive to analyze her grandfather’s situation and her uncle’s actions objectively, regardless of her relationship to anyone, including her mother, Introverted Thinking, as a least favorite mental process, employs a less structured and...

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Type at the Family Conference Table: Introverted Thinking

May 13, 2016 in MBTI Talk | 0 comments

Written by Mathew David Pauley, JD, MA, MDR Dispassionate objectivity can seem out of place in environments such as hospitals, where passions can run high. And thus we come to Introverted Thinking types: ISTPs and INTPs. For them the goal is to understand, and they will be quick to let you know that true understanding can be clouded by “erratic” emotions mucking things up. Reportedly, Introverted Thinking types confront catastrophe with the same air of detachment with which they confront their normal work and can seem nearly unflappable—that is, until the catastrophe affects them personally and evokes their least favorite mental process, Extraverted Feeling. ISTPs and INTPs have feelings, of course, but expressing them and using them to communicate are not their areas of strength. And since emoting to others isn’t generally comfortable for them, they tend to find being forced into personal emotional experiences very distressing. The normally quiet, thoughtful person at the family conference table currently erupting with unchecked emotion may indeed be an individual whose favorite mental process is Introverted Thinking. In contrast, Extraverted Feeling types prioritize the feelings and welfare of others, often sharing their emotions in the process. The need to be “as objective as possible” does not rank as high for them. For example, an INTP’s significant other had completed an advance directive instructing healthcare providers to discontinue life-sustaining interventions if a terminal diagnosis has been made and meaningful recovery is unlikely. Objectively, the logic is very clear: If condition A (terminal diagnosis) is present, along with condition B (unlikely meaningful recovery), life support should be discontinued. Making such a decision might even be easy (or as easy as such a decision can ever be) for the INTP partner, but coping with or expressing the very illogical emotions that follow from it can lead to an emotional outburst. CPP studies, for example, report that ISTPs and INTPs have the fewest coping resources of all 16 types (MBTI® Manual, pp. 84 and 86). Illness, death, and loss can seem senseless and illogical, and trying to make sense of them can be a fool’s errand. It can be helpful to give the Introverted Thinking types time to figure this out for themselves. Until they do, recognizing that questions such as “How do you feel?” may actually be a trigger for them. Want to read more? Check out my previous blogs in this series: Type at the Family...

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