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Dream Symbol Tree

treesA healthy tree in bloom stands for strength, a thin one indicates bad luck in life. Falling from a tree implies you may lose something, but it can also be a warning to let go of wrong attitudes and convictions.

Climbing a tree is a sign for personal ascension and success.

Shaking a tree is lucky, especially if it's bearing fruit.

Seeing its roots shows a connection to earthly goods and material wealth - are they spread out (openness) or do they go deep (reservation)?

The tree's trunk may give clues to your personality - is it rough (rough) or smooth (elegant)?

Pic by Otto Phokus

In my mind, trees stand for a connection to all life. They show the circle of the seasons, engage in symbiotic relationships with the bio-system around them, they harbor birds' nests, grow food, and they also grow old and wise. To me they symbolize learning and realization of potential; a cool place to rest under their rich canopy; various branches to explore, climbing higher and higher for exquisite vantage points. Being flexible and bending in the wind is as important as digging roots for nourishment and stability.

I just realized - I love trees. :-)



MBTI® Instrument Background

Where did the instrument come from?

Jung's observations on Personality Type are based on decades of personal and professional experience as a practicing psychotherapist and analyst. When his book Psychological Types was translated into English in 1923, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers were so fascinated that they started their own research, looking at how their friends and acquaintances behaved and noticing the differences and similarities that Jung described.

First applications

Most of all, they wanted this knowledge to become accessible to the everyday person dealing with everyday issues. The first major application they used Type knowledge for was helping women figure out which job would best fit their disposition during the war efforts of 1939 and beyond. Since Myers and Briggs could not find a test or indicator of how to quickly discern and figure out which preferences one had, they created their own. From scratch. Peter Myers, Isabel's son, goes into a little more detail in the preface of their book, Gifts Differing and I've written a little more about the instrument here.

Debunking Criticisms

Many people mistrust Type tools, either because they were mis-typed in the past, or because they think the result - any result - belittles their adaptability.

Here's my point-of-view:

1. I took a test online and it's wrong.

There are many "personality tests" available online for free. Many even if give you a similar four-letter result. However, those knock-off versions are less likely to yield an accurate profile for two reasons:

1) those "tests" have not undergone the decades of research and polishing of the questions that the MBTI(r) questionnaire has, and 2) it takes a professional debrief to ensure your answers come from the right kind of understanding, e.g. not thinking who you would like to be after more training, or who your parents always told you to be. (Here's a search-tool for Certified Practitioners in your area.)

You are complex.

Your psychological type is more than just four letters and choices between two dichotomies. Your type is dynamic, there is a hierarchy to your functions, and the patterns described by your whole type are so much richer than only looking at what the four letters mean.

Don't waste your time on a free "test", invest in the real thing and have something solid to work with.

2. I don't want to be put in a box

Everyone always has access to all functions and attitudes.

That means there is no "putting in a box", only an awareness of what comes more naturally, and what needs more conscious effort.

The MBTI® indicator helps people identify their innate preferences. Those preferences show how we prefer to use our brain and how we direct our mental energy. While its validity implies that people with similar preferences may behave in similar ways, no two individuals will ever be completely the same, and no behavior will be totally predictable. Type does not explain every last detail: your experiences, upbringing, and culture also have a tremendous influence on how you use your gifts.

3. My Type has changed.

No, it hasn't. Your Type is the starting point, and by definition, starting points don't change. What's happening as you grow older is called Type Development: you have an inner drive to find balance and wholeness, and your experiences over time allow you to flex into the opposite of your preferences more easily.

Type knowledge shows us how to recognize and respectfully bridge our differences. Once we know why we behave the way we do, it is much easier to allow others to be themselves also.


Katharine and Isabel never actually met with Jung, but they did exchange some letters. As I've touched on in Type Theory, it is C G Jung's Personality Type Theory that provides the framework and basis for the Myers-Briggs tool.

Complementing the three dimensions of energy source (Extraversion 'E' or Introversion 'I'), information processing (Sensation 'S' or Intuition 'N'), and decision-making (Thinking 'T' or Feeling 'F') that C G Jung had identified, Katherine and Isabel added another dimension to make up the MBTI®'s four-letter result. This dimension looks at which function people show in the outside world, calling it Judging 'J' or Perceiving 'P'.

During the first three decades since its beginnings in the 1940s, the MBTI® questionnaire was only available for research purposes. It underwent revisions and rigorous testing, proving it to be a statistically reliable and valid instrument. In the 1970s general practitioners were able to get certified and apply it in their practice, and today, over 2 million users trust the MBTI® questionnaire every year in the USA alone.

The MBTI(r) result does not guarantee we are any good at using, for example, our Thinking or Intuition functions, it just shows if we prefer them over the Feeling or Sensing alternatives. Therefore, it is not a suitable tool for recruitment or match-making.




Interaction Styles

Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. developed a model of four different Interaction Styles we use to influence and relate to others. Awareness of your Interaction Style will allow you to

  • Improve private and professional relationships
  • Enjoy more effective communication
  • Develop more flexible leadership and team working skills

The four Interaction Styles describe patterns of different communication, role, and attention preferences. They form the basic framework for each style.

During a recent Interaction Styles Workshop, a participant commented on how some of his IT team members don't say anything during meetings. Doris suggests how a knowledge of Interaction Styles may provide actionable strategies to create more effective cooperation. (Note: due to the position of the camera, the participant's audio is a little low and Doris moves out of frame.) Slide graphic taken from the Berens CORE™ Approach (with permission). Excerpt from "Understanding Yourself and Others® - An Introduction to Interaction Styles 2.0" by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. (with permission).

Chart-the-Course™ The theme is having a course of action to follow. People of this style focus on knowing what to do and keeping themselves, the group, or the project on track. They prefer to enter a situation having an idea of what is to happen. They identify a process to accomplish a goal and have a somewhat contained tension as they work to create and monitor a plan. The aim is not the plan itself, but to use it as a guide to move things along toward the goal. Their informed and deliberate decisions are based on analyzing, outlining, conceptualizing or foreseeing what needs to be done.


The theme is getting the best result possible. People of this style focus on understanding and working with the process to create a positive outcome. They see value in many contributions and consult outside inputs to make an informed decision. They aim to integrate various information sources and accommodate differing points of view. They approach others with a quiet, calm style that may not show their strong convictions. Producing, sustaining, defining and clarifying are all ways they support a group's process. They typically have more patience than most with the time it takes to gain support through consensus for a project or to refine the result.


The theme is getting things accomplished through people. People of this style are focused on results, often taking action quickly. They often have a driving energy with an intention to lead a group to the goal. They make decisions quickly to keep themselves and others on task, on target, and on time. They hate wasting time and having to back-track. Mentoring, executing actions, supervising, and mobilizing resources are all ways they get things accomplished. They notice right away what is not working in a situation and become painfully aware of what needs to be fixed, healed, or corrected.


The theme is persuading and involving others. They thrive in facilitator or catalyst roles and aim to inspire others to move to action, facilitating the process. Their focus is on interaction, often with an expressive style. They Get-Things-Going™ with upbeat energy, enthusiasm, or excitement, which can be contagious. Exploring options and possibilities, making preparations, discovering new ideas, and sharing insights are all ways they get people moving along. They want decisions to be participative and enthusiastic, with everyone involved and engaged.

If you'd like to bring an Interaction Styles workshop to your organization or community:

E-mail me


Temperament / Essential Motivators


Temperament / Essential Motivators

Temperament book
Temperament book

Temperament Theory began around 450 bc with Hippocrates' description of four physical dispositions: Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic, and Sanguine. Over time, authors like Paracelsus, Myers, and Keirsey have refined these definitions. From the MBTI® language you may be familiar with the combinations NF, SJ, NT, and SP. Having said that, it is important to recognize that Temperament theory is separate from, for example, the Myers-Briggs interpretation of Jung's theory of personality type.

In my work with Temperament theory, I use the Berens' terminology: Catalyst™, Stabilizer™, Theorist™, and Improviser™. To avoid misunderstanding with temperament in terms of someone's attitude, Linda is using Essential Motivators to describe our deep psychological needs, and the values we have to help us fill those needs.

Awareness of your Essential Motivators will aid your understanding of

  • Core psychological needs
  • Innate talents and skills
  • Typical behaviors that stress or energize you

The four Temperaments describe a pattern of needs and values, which in turn connect with different behaviors and skill sets.

Excerpt from "Understanding Yourself and Others® - An Introduction to the 4 Temperaments 4.0" by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. (with permission).

The Catalyst™ Temperament

The core needs are for the meaning and significance that come from having a sense of purpose and working toward some greater good.They need to have a sense of unique identity. They value unity, self-actualization, and authenticity. People of this temperament prefer cooperative interactions with a focus on ethics and morality. They tend to trust their intuition and impressions first and then seek to find the logic and the data to support them. Given their need for empathic relationships, they learn more easily when they can relate to the instructor and the group.

They tend to be gifted at unifying diverse peoples and helping individuals realize their potential. They build bridges between people through empathy and clarification of deeper issues. They use these same skills to help people work through difficulties. Thus, they can make excellent mediators, helping people and companies solve conflicts through mutual cooperation. If working on a global level, they champion a cause. If working on an individual level, they focus on growth and development of the person.

The Stabilizer™ Temperament

The core needs are for group membership and responsibility. They need to know they are doing the responsible thing. They value stability, security, and a sense of community. They trust hierarchy and authority and may be surprised when others go against these social structures. People of this temperament prefer cooperative actions with  focus on standards and norms. Their orientation is to their past experiences, and they like things sequenced and structured. They tend to look for the practical applications of what they are learning.

They are usually talented at logistics and at maintaining useful traditions. They masterfully get the right things in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, in the right quality, to the right people, and not to the wrong people. They know how things have always been done, so they anticipate where things can go wrong. They have a knack for attending to rules, procedures, and protocol. They make sure the correct information is assembled and presented to the right people.

The Theorist™ Temperament

The core needs are for mastery of concepts, knowledge, and competence. People of this temperament want to understand the operating principles of the universe and to learn or even develop theories for everything. They value expertise, logical consistency concepts, and ideas and seek progress. They tend toward pragmatic, utilitarian actions with a technology focus. They trust logic above all else. They tend to be skeptical and highly value precision in language Their learning style is conceptual, and they want to know the underlying principles that generate the details and facts rather than the details alone.

They prefer using their gifts of strategic analysis to approach all situations. They constantly examine the relationship of the means to the overall vision and goal. No strangers to complexity, theories, and models, they like to think of all possible contingencies and develop multiple plans for handling them. They abstractly analyze a situation and consider previously unthought-of possibilities Researching, analyzing, searching for patterns, and developing hypothesis are quite likely to be their natural modus operandi.

The Improviser™ Temperament

The core needs are to have the freedom to act without hindrance and to see a marked result from action. People of this temperament highly value aesthetics, whether in nature or art. Their energies are focused on skillful performance, variety, and stimulation. They tend toward pragmatic, utilitarian actions with a focus on technique. They trust their impulses and have a drive to action. They learn best experientially and when they see the relevance of what they are learning to what they are doing. They enjoy hands-on, applied learning with a fast pace and freedom to explore.

The tend to be gifted at employing the available means to accomplish an end. Their creativity is revealed by the variety of solutions they come up with. They are talented at using tools, whether the tool be language, theories, a paint brush, or a computer. They tune into immediate sensory information and vary their actions according to the needs of the moment. They are gifted at tactics/ They can easily read the situation at hand, instantly make decisions, and, if needed, take actions to achieve the desired outcome.

If you'd like to bring a Temperament workshop to your organization or community:



Image by Nick Bramhall, flickr, Creative Commons license



Psychological Type Theory

Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) developed a personality theory at the beginning of the 20th century. He observed and explained patterns in seemingly random individual behavior.

His theory forms the basis for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Tool and has most recently found application in the Neuroscience of Personality research.


Jung's first observations revolved around two ways people engage with the world.

He defined the term Extraversion (in the MBTI results described with an 'E') for people who gain energy by relating to the outside world.
He defined Introversion (in the MBTI results described with a 'T') for people who gain energy by focusing on their own internal world.

Extraversion does not mean exaggerated, Introversion does not mean shy. The terms describe where our mental energy flows, and are also referred to as an "attitude".

Jung continued, stating that our brain activity is mainly engaged in one of two things: taking in information (a process he called Perception), or making decisions based on the information we have taken in (which he called a Judging process). These two processes are also referred to as the cognitive or mental functions.


Jung describes two forms of taking in information: Sensation (aka Sensing) 'S' or Intuition 'N'.

People who prefer Sensing 'S' tend to trust information from their five senses. They prefer detailed information about the here and now, as well as practical application. Introverted Sensing 'Si' is focused on past experiences and reviewing, Extraverted Sensing 'Se' is focused on experiencing the surroundings in the moment.
People who prefer Intuiting 'N' tend to find patterns and themes in the information they gather. They prefer general overviews and find possibilities of what the information might mean for future development. Introverted Intuiting 'Ni' is focused on a vision of what might be and foreseeing, Extraverted Intuiting 'Ne' is focused on future possibilities and brainstorming.

Sensing does not mean sensitive, Intuiting does not mean intuitive. The terms describe how we use our brains to take in information.


Jung described two forms of decision-making: Thinking 'T' or Feeling 'F'.

People who prefer Thinking 'T' tend to make rational decisions based on logical objective analysis, considering the system and connected frameworks, and may not shy away from a debate. Introverted Thinking 'Ti' focuses on defining principles and analyzing, Extraverted Thinking 'Te' focuses on organizing and systematizing.
People who prefer Feeling 'F' tend to make rational decisions according to the framework of their values, how the decision might impact the people involved, and may prefer to have consensus and maintain harmony. Introverted Feeling 'Fi' focuses on clarifying what's important and valuing, Extraverted Feeling 'Fe' focuses on harmony and connecting.

Thinking does not mean rational, Feeling does not mean emotional. The terms describe how we use our brains to make decisions. 

If you'd like to bring a Type Workshop to your organization or community:

E-mail me



Neuroscience of Personality

neurscience of personality book cover
neurscience of personality book cover

Dario Nardi, Ph.D., is an author and award-winning UCLA professor. Since 2005, he has been strapping EEG caps on his willing students to study real-time brain activity. He discovered that people of different personality type  use their brains in fundamentally different ways.

Sharing Dario's findings in presentations and workshops allows me to bring color to the grey matter in everyone of us. Literally. Participants will color in a map of the various brain regions as they self-select which skills and abilities they most resonate with.

The lessons of leadership, coaching, and creative flow will stay with you and help you work more effectively with those whose brains are, simply put, wired differently.

Want to see for yourself? Fill out the NeuroPQ inventory here:

Fill in your name, choose "Doris Fuellgrabe" as your facilitator, and answer 56 questions. You will be asked to provide demographic information for statistical analysis and administration purposes.

If you'd like to bring a Neuroscience of Personality presentation to your organization or community:

E-mail me