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Human Studies

 

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The phrase "Human studies" is my term for areas or studies of human beings from a mental or psychological viewpoint, through  personality typing, psychological frameworks, energy work, and emotional skills.   These areas are also referred to as humanistic (person-centred), cognitive (focused on thoughts) and behavioural therapies.  These areas can be excellent guides, tools or aids in self-awareness, and  help us to be fit enough to deal well with others.

I think that many people view personality and psychological testing or classification quite negatively, perhaps through fear and/or ignorance, or because of an attitude that they can fix their own problems by themselves, and do not need external or outside help, or due to bad experiences they have had with psychologists.   Many people say that personality and psychological tests put "labels" on people, or that they "place people into boxes".   However, such words are their very own words said through choice.  It is, in fact, not the intentions of the founders or developers of personality tests that people be rigorously assigned to (or classified into) one and only one fixed group or "box".  Rather, methods of self-knowledge such as The Enneagram and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Tests are guide-posts or indicators of what a person tends toward being.

 

Are you "Norm?"

From my first-hand experience, I have observed that when people are part of a group who feel fairly comfortable with each other from the start, many members of the group go on to minimize the significance or implications of the differences amongst the group members. These people hold the belief, as some of them have actually told me, that they are all "normal" people, and thus should be able to intuitively get on well with each other.   However, sad to say, many people have quite different psychological and/or emotional needs from some or all of the others in their group, and these needs are subtle, i.e. they not apparent without an understanding of different human needs.

In addition to the fact that different human beings have different normal psychological needs, for example, one person might have an actual need for plans and routines, and another have an actual need for spontaneity and variety (the very opposite to the first person's needs), is the fact that some group members will have extra needs because of psychological or emotional "scarring" or damage from the past.   An example is that people who have been frightened in the past, whether it be as a child subjected to sexual or other abuse, or a man or woman whose marriage in its early stages has failed, may very well, for some time, at some stage, need more patience, gentleness, empathy, and/or one-to-one coaching, compared to the level of these required by people who are not loaded with traumas, fears and insecurities which originated in the past.

Peace begins with oneself.  Personality typing, emotional skills and energy work offer the opportunity for understanding one's own tendencies and needs, and for examining those of others, using such tools.  If engaged in seriously, "human studies" can only lead to better relationships between people.

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Core Energetics

Founded by John Pierrakos, core energetics is based on a deep understanding of the ways in which energy and consciousness work together in the transformative process of healing.  The vision of the work is to invite a deeper experience and identification with one's core energy and feelings, releasing the individual to create his or her life from this personal yet universal centre.  This is achieved gradually by bringing consciousness, movement and ultimately, transformation to the core's overlying defensive structures.  This process is built on the foundation of the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Wilhelm Reich, as well as the foundations of human development and object relations theories.

The Institute of Core Energetics is a worldwide organization with therapy and training centers in New York, California, Mexico, South America, Europe and Australia.  People in the United States can   click here   to go the Institute of Core Energetic's Web-site.   [ www.coreenergetics.com ]

 Interested people may like to read the following book by John C. Pierrakos (may be "heavy" reading):

Pierrakos, John C.  (1999).  Core Energetics, Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal.  Life Rhythm Publications, California.   301 pages, ISBN:  0940795-08-6

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Emotional Intelligence

According to Daniel Goleman (1999, page 317), emotional intelligence is the "capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in others ".  An "emotional competence is a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in improved job performance" (ibid, page 25). Emotional intelligence refers to a set of skills, which can be grouped into five core areas:

 1. Self-awareness

 2. Self-regulation

3. Self-motivation

 4. Social awareness and

 5. Social skills.

 An awareness of emotional intelligence means that people are in a much better position to deal with external criticism. Rather than responding in emotive and habitual ways (such as viewing criticism as a personal attack on our beliefs, for example) or exhibiting aggressive or passive behaviour, we can respond in a positive way.

Emotional intelligence requires identification of one's own, and of others feelings, and managing those feelings well.  It matters as much as, maybe even more than, rational or logical intelligence.  Both the feeling and thinking functions of the human being are fully employed in emotional intelligence, not just one or the other.

If you have difficulty in identifying your feelings the Table provided here may help you.


   Click here  for a Table showing feelings grouped into four (4) primary areas/classes  

The concept of emotional intelligence was founded by Peter Salovey and expanded upon by Daniel Goleman.  The training in emotional intelligence differs from "rational emotive therapy" (or RET - see an explanation of RET on this page) because emotional intelligence training has a wider or broader perspective by aiming to improve the five areas of core emotional competencies, while RET requires a transactional analysis approach, examining the thoughts behind feelings, and re-programming oneself to change one's thoughts and thereby change one's negative feelings.

Public training courses on emotional intelligence are offered by many companies, which can perhaps be discovered by "surfing the Web".

The best books on emotional intelligence which I know about are listed below.

 Childre, Doc Lew & Martin, Howard (1999).  The Heartmath Solution. Proven Techniques for Developing Emotional Intelligence.  Judy Piatkus Publishers.  292 pages, paperback, ISBN:  0-7499-2027-0.

   ( Click  here  for a description of  the book - "The Heartmath Solution", and to buy the book online  )

Goleman, Daniel (1996).  Emotional Intelligence.  Bloomsbury Publishing. 352 pages, paperback,  ISBN: 
0-7475-2830-6.

Goleman, Daniel (1999).  Working with Emotional Intelligence.  Bloomsbury Publishing, London. 400 pages, paperback.
  ISBN:  
0747543844

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 Enneagram

The modern Enneagram is a graphic (visually represented) system of nine different personality or character types (energies) represented in the shape of a circle whose circumference is divided into nine points, with relationships between particular types represented by lines connecting various points.   The Enneagram has been passed on through oral tradition since at least the 1800s.  Russian psychologist, George Gurdjieff (1877-1949) introduced the enneagram to the West.    The original Enneagram, rather than being a list of personality types, is a diagram for the cooperative functioning of the two fundamental cosmic laws, the Law of Three and the Law of Seven, so structuring the Overall Universal Law.  The nine points govern complex dynamics of existence and can be read about in this book.

The modern form of the Enneagram, known as "the mirror of the soul" is mainly derived from the work of Oscar Ichazo.

The modern Enneagram combines psychology, spirituality and theology to provide a conversion to self-worth through self-knowledge.  Ichazo's model is a map which describes different personality types, but contains an inner dynamic which precipitates change.  The Enneagram supposes that people acquire personality in stages and that each person (for example, a number 5) is born with a particular 'holy idea' or principled aim / goal, such as omniscience (the desire to have and/or be everything), a particular "passion" or root sin (e.g. greed), a particular fixation or pit-fall (e.g. stinginess toward self and others) and a particular personality type with a unique need (e.g. observer or intellectual with a need to perceive, i.e. to know or to understand).

Application of the Enneagram is not as easy or simple as one might think  It may require a lot of time and effort to learn and apply the Enneagram, but the results may be that the false self is discovered and peeled away to reveal the true self or human essence.

There are many good web sites around on Gurdjieff's Enneagram and especially on Ichazo's Enneagram, which you can search for yourself, and there are numerous books around on the Ichazo model of the Enneagram.

Details of a book on the Ichazo model which I found most beneficial follow:

Rohr, Richard & Ebert, Andreas  1994.  Discovering the Enneagram - An Ancient Tool for a New Spiritual Journey.  CollinsDove, Victoria, Australia. 255 pages paperback, ISBN: 1-86371-411-1

Details of another good book on the original Enneagram follows:

Bernier, Nathan  (publishing date not available)  The EnneagramSymbol of All and Everything.   Gilgamesh Publishing.  414 pages, illustrated, .ISBN 85-87154-03-6



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 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test

A popular self-report questionnaire or inventory based upon C.G. Jung's theory of psychological types, of which the results describe valuable differences between normal, healthy people.  The MBTI test helps a person to identify her or his strengths and unique gifts, to better understand oneself, one's motivations and potential areas for growth.  It also helps people to better understand and appreciate people who are different to them.  Katharine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1980) developed the MBTI, and today it is the most widely used instrument for understanding normal personality differences.

The MBTI measures a person on four paired dimensions, i.e. an individual can either be introverted or extraverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling and either judging or perceiving.  In turn, these refer to where a person prefers to focus her or his attention (i.e. inwardly or outwardly), the way in which she/he prefers to take in information (through using the physical senses in the present or through intuition), the way in which she/he prefers to base her/his decisions upon (through thinking or feeling); and how she/he orients herself/himself to the external world (i.e. through methodical or planned or organised actions, or through being open-ended and flexible or adaptable).  There are 16 (sixteen) MBTI types, each with distinct characteristics, e.g. ENFP (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceptive) types tend to be high-spirited, imaginative, quick witted, provocative and good improvisers.

People interested in using the full Myers Briggs Type Indicator might like to look out for a publicly available course on issues such as understanding people or dealing with difficult people, which incorporate the MBTI test.  In Perth, Western Australia, Rachel Green, an award-winning communication specialist and life-skills coach, administers the full test in her course "Understanding Yourself - Managing Others".  Information on this course is available by clicking on the "Workshops" link on Rachel's Home page.  Rachel's web-site permits on-line bookings.

Rachel's course does cost a bit, but I think that, if you can save the money for it, her course is very worthwhile, because it is comprehensive, and includes strategies on how different types best get on with each other.

My cat Shandy and friends

My cat, Shandy, with some "stuffed" "friends"

Psychologists or other professionals may have the resources, i.e. test papers and scoring sheets, knowledge, experience etc., to administer the test to their clients upon request.  In Australia, the full test is supplied by ACER Press (the publishing division of the Australian Council of Educational Research) and can only be purchased by people who have completed an accredited course on MBTI use and interpretation, or a University subject / unit on reading or "interpreting" psychological tests.

However, on the Internet there is a web site which provides a short version of the MBTI test, which I and my friends, whom also completed the full test under professional tutelage, have found to be accurate.

I am an ISTJ on the Enneagram

 

Click here  to go to the HumanMetrics web-site for the "Jung Typology Test"

  [ www.humanmetrics.com ]

 

For  $99.00 U.S, with lower costs for bulk tests, you can complete the full MBTI test on-line, and have it professionally analysed on-line, i.e. via the Internet!  This service is now legally offered by a United States firm called "knowyourtype.com.

For $50 USD you can get a  personal profile report,  i.e. your unique MBTI type.

To find out more about the MBTI and take the test on-line, click here   [ knowyourtype.com ]

For an on-line (Internet) calculator which converts currency, click here  [ www.xe.com ]

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 Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy

Also known as Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), this is a an action-oriented therapeutic approach founded by Dr Albert Ellis in 1955, which stimulates emotional growth by teaching people to replace their self-defeating thoughts, feelings and actions with new and more effective ones.  For example, the belief, often subconscious, "I must be loved or liked and approved of by every person (or most people) in my life" can be replaced by the thought, "I would like to be loved or liked and approved of by some of the people in my life.  I may feel disappointed or lonely when it doesn't happen, but I can control myfeelings and take constructive steps to build better relationships."

The Albert Ellis Institute in New York offers short-term therapy with long-term results for individuals, couples and families regarding matters such as depression, anger, anxiety and substance abuse.

For more information about RET,  go to the Albert Ellis Institute's website by  clicking here.    [ www.rebt.org ]

An excellent book on the subject is:

Ellis, Albert & Harper, Robert, (1976).  A Guide to Rational Living.  Wilshire Book Company.  283 pages, paperback.  ISBN:  0879800429.

Note:  This book may be available through the Internet from Barnes & Noble.

 

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Styles in the Workplace

This refers to a short, yet powerful little test or questionnaire, taken from a book, which helps people determine whether they have a predominant style at work, either as a "data person", "high achiever", "ideas person" or a "helper".  The test should be quickly completed without reading the full descriptions of the 4 styles, because doing so may predispose the test-taker to fabricate her/his answers in order to try to fit into a pre-conceived or desired style.  Often, people clash in the workplace due to out-standing differences which are, however, not recognized by people.  For example, an "ideas person" prefers spontaneity and flexibility, which clashes with a "data person's" preference for routine and rules.  I found this little test to be immensely valuable in addressing differences in my own work-place. 

Click here   to try out the test

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