THE FIVE PHASES PARADIGM
AND THE MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR:
CORRESPONDENCE AND THERAPEUTIC APPLICABILITY
By Michael L. Buffington, M.D.,
Private Practice/Family Medicine and Medical Acupuncture, De Queen,
and Hobart Bell, B.S.,
Director and Clinical Embryologist/President, Embryology Associates,
Inc., Boulder, Colorado
The Five Phases Paradigm, described
by ancient Taoists, is a graphic representation of all so-called
terrestrial phenomena into five organizing poles placed equidistantly
along the circumference of a circle. This paradigm has been used
for more than two millennia to describe and predict the complex
phenomena and relationships associated with health and disease.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed in this century, is
a multiple-choice test designed to assess normal personality types
according to eight categories of personality preferences grouped
into four opposing pairs. Sixteen distinct combinations of the
four basic pairs have been described. In this paper, the derivation
of ascribing the 16 personality types codified by the Myers-Briggs
typology to the Five Phases Paradigm is described. Relating the
variety of personality types to this ancient Oriental system provides
a deeper understanding of individual types, and the dynamic interplay
that exists between them. It also provides a unique model by which
personality types can be shown to correlate with specific disease
entities. A working knowledge of such a model system provides
the medical therapist with a means for more accurate diagnoses,
and ultimately, therapeutic options more efficaciously applied.
Five Phases Paradigm, Acupuncture,
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Typology
The Five Phases Paradigm is simultaneously
a very basic and highly sophisticated model of living systems.
Such systems are said to be in a state of either equilibrium (health)
or disequilibrium [disease] (1). Equilibrium is susceptible to
both exogenous and endogenous influences. Examples of exogenous
influences that can disrupt equilibrium include climatic extremes
of wind, cold, and heat. Examples of endogenous influences include
changes in brain chemistry associated with various emotional states
such as anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. The behavioral
changes associated with these endogenous influences can often
be correlated with certain medical syndromes such as irritable
bowel syndrome and insomnia.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI),
developed in this century, is a particularly successful system
of personality typing. As originally devised, it was an attempt
to classify individuals according to the theories of personality
and psychological type developed by Carl Jung (2). An essential
ingredient of his theories was that the apparently endless and
ubiquitous variations observed in human behavior, rather than
due to chance, was the logical consequences of a few basic, observable,
and classifiable differences in mental functioning.
The purpose of this report is twofold:
1) documenting the rationale behind relating each of the personality
types described in the Myers-Briggs system of typology to specific
patterns of disease reflected on the Five Phases model used by
acupuncturists and herbalists, and 2) applying the above relationships
to clinical medicine by combining the two systems.
Basics of the Five Phases Paradigm are
briefly reviewed, and elements essential to the Myers-Briggs system
are presented. Correlation between the 16 personality types and
the Five Phase's model is described in a series of sequential
steps. The assumptions underlying such steps are noted at relevant
points. Finally, the relevance of the resulting Five Phases/ Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator model to medical practice is discussed.
FIVE PHASES PARADIGM AND ITS ORIGINS
The Five Phases Paradigm According
to Taoist theory, the physical universe, more specifically, planet
Earth, can be described as consisting of a variety of interrelated
phenomena. Such phenomena are diverse and include the structure
of DNA and the cyclic patterns of weather. The Taoist organization
of these phenomena reduces them to a model of five groupings,
considered most appropriately as "phases." The more traditional
texts symbolize these phases as five elements, and are given the
metaphors of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water (Figure 1).
The placement of each of the five phases
making up any particular correspondence system is crucial; all
members within each group reflect qualitative similarities. Thus,
there are intrarelationships within each grouping of the Five
Phases, and interrelationships between groupings.
PRINCIPLE OF YIN AND YANG
The Taoist and Oriental acupuncturist
viewed the physical universe as divisible into two broad categories
that were both opposite and complementary. Together, they created
a balance point or fulcrum, a seesaw. The two poles of material
phenomena were labeled, "Yin and Yang." Qualities associated with
Yin included solid, heavy and structured. Qualities related to
Yang were light, hollow, or nonmaterial. Taoists developed a kind
of shorthand to designate Yin and Yang. A broken line represented
Yin. An unbroken line represented Yang. These lines were then
combined into sets of three, indicating that all phenomena can
be represented by a code consisting of three lines. In its earliest
form, the principle of Yin and Yang, and the trigrammatic relationships
resulting from the variety of combinations of Yin and Yang, were
represented as eight values arranged over the circumference of
a circle (Figure 2). For the Taoist, this
relationship was known as the "Xi Fu Graph." The more contemporary
French school of acupuncture termed this arrangement Graph 8,
or, G8. Students of Taoism will also recognize Graph 8 as one
of two primary graphs integral to the I Ching.
In modern terms, the Yin and Yang
model and its trigrams can be described in accordance with a binary
code of zero and one. Yin is designated by the integer 0; Yang
by 1. Maximum Yin becomes 000; maximum Yang 111. The Xi Fu Graph
thusly would be illustrated as shown in Figure 3.
MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR
The Type Indicator The Myers-Briggs Type
Indicator (MBTI) is a method of personality assessment designed
to determine personality type. Intended for use with normal subjects,
it has been described as a forced-choice, self-reporting, self-administered
test (3-5). As noted in the introduction, origins of this system
of typology are based primarily on the theories of personality
proposed by Carl Jung (2). Use of the MBTI has been extensive
in the fields of education and psychology. Use of this Type-Indicator
in the field of medicine has been minimal to date.
Myers and Briggs defined eight basic
in assessing personality types: Extraversion and Introversion,
Sensing and iNtuition, Thinking and Feeling, Judging and Perceiving.
An exhaustive description of each personality type is limited
by space. However, a brief description conveys the essential attributes
of each. More detailed descriptions are available in previous
The distinction between the Extraverted
(E) and the Introverted (1) preferences is based on the
source of one's energy. The outer world energizes the Extravert;
it drains the Introvert. A truism closely associated with the
Extravert is, "What you see is what you get." Extraverts are characterized
by a readiness to exhaustively verbalize feelings and thoughts;
a desire for the company of others, rather than one's self. Introverts
are characteristically reflective, wanting solitude. A truism
of the Introvert is, "Don't judge a book by its cover."
Sensing (S) and iNtuiting
(N) relates how the individual perceives stimuli and gathers information.
The Sensor utilizes the senses as the primary vehicle for gathering
information about the world, relying much on facts and details.
The Sensing personality is very literal in his or her perception
of the world. A truism reflective of the Sensor is, "Let's get
to the point." The Sensing function prefers information in small
amounts. The iNtuiting individual prefers to translate the material
derived from the senses, through the intuition, to find underlying
meanings and relationships. The iNtuiting personality is more
figurative in perceiving the world. The world of ideas is preferred
over the world of objects. Information is preferred in the context
of the larger scale. A truism associated with the iNtuitor is,
"Give me the big picture."
The Thinking (T) and Feeling
(F) personality types distinguish how each makes decisions regarding
relationships. The Thinking individual is very logical and detached;
conclusions are the result of a reliance upon objective values.
To be "just" is a primary aim. A truism for the Thinker is, "An
eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth." The Thinking function honors
the "letter of the law." The Feeling type, by contrast, is more
apt to rely on subjective values in reaching a decision about
relationships. Mercy is a significant aspect of any decision.
The Feeling personality carefully measures the impact of the decision
on others; readily empathizes with them. A truism relating to
the Feeling person is, "Let he who is without sin cast the first
The final pair of type variables contrasts
Judging (J) and Perceiving (P). Judging individuals
are concerned with people as objects. Perceiving types are more
interested in ideas or material objects. Such variables reflect
the way one prefers to relate to one's environment. The Judging
personality prefers to structure the environment, schedule events
definitely, and relate to the world according to decisions, rather
than spontaneity. A truism of the Judging person is, "A man's
home is his castle." The Judging function honors home; his family
is structured and guided. The Perceiving individual prefers to
respond to the environment, rather than structure it; this one
is more likely to be flexible, spontaneous, and open-ended. The
Perceiver looks to the future. His truism might be, "Don't cry
over spilled milk."
The eight personality preferences described
in the Myers-Briggs typology are thusly grouped as sets of two
opposing tendencies; therefore, reflecting a dualistic view of
personality. Given the two poles of each set, the test supposes
that every person has a preference for either of the two dimensions.
Implicit in this system is the belief
that the preferences exhibited by the personality have a genetic
basis; considered to be specific manifestations of an inner propensity.
A numerical score is obtained from
the MBTI test for each of the eight personality dimensions above.
The larger value obtained for each of the four pairs of opposites
is regarded as the preference of the individual. If one considers
all the variations of each of the four Type combinations, 16 personality
types are possible: ISTJ, ISFJ, INFJ, INTJ, ISTP, ISFP, INFP,
INTP, ESTP, ESFP, ENFP, ENTP, ESTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, and ENTJ. The
individual is typed according to I of these 16 possible combinations
of 4 traits.
THE MYERS-BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPES TO THE FIVE PHASES PARADIGM
A number of fundamental principles
associated with the Five Phases Paradigm and the basic tenets
of the Myers-Briggs typology system has been explored. The derivation
of ascribing the Myers- Briggs personality types to the G5 model
can now be undertaken.
Meaningfully placing the 16 combinations
of the 4-letter personality types upon the Five Phase's model,
two assumptions must be made: (1) The eight fundamental preferences
are gathered in groups of two, reflecting four sets of opposites.
Such opposites, and the dynamics of tension and complementarily
implicit between them, correspond to the same dynamics supposed
between the opposites first elucidated in the Xi Fu graph (Graph
8 and Figure 2). The eight fundamental personality
preferences are genetically based. Personality is assumed to be
a part of the constitutional heritage.
Preferences, and Yin and Yang
The first task in adapting the Myers-Briggs
personality typology to the Five Phases Paradigm is to translate
the four sets of eight preference letters of the MBTI to binary
expressions that can be arranged in a coherent fashion on the
right poles of the Xi Fit graph (Graph 8). This graph illustrates
the varieties of states between maximum Yin and maximum Yang;
i.e., between two pairs of the most basic integers making up universal
phenomena. A choice must then be made as to which of the four
basic pairs of indicators of personality types can be said to
be the most basic integers of personality. Summarily, which of
the four paired and opposite traits of Extraversion and Introversion,
Sensing and iNtuiting, Thinking and Feeling, and Judging and Perceiving
can be considered the prime mover of personality dynamics?
the First Pair of Myers-Briggs Preferences
Conceivably, one might regard Extraversion
and Introversion as the most basic preference pairs, because Yin
and Yang relate to form and movement of energy. Yin and Yang embody
motions of energy. Extraversion and Introversion embody notions
of the source, direction, and intensity of an individual's energy.
For this reason, Carl Jung regarded this pair of opposites as
the most fundamental one. However, Extraversion and Introversion,
Sensing and iNtuiting, and Thinking and Feeling require a more
fundamental impetus before they are manifested. That impetus is
decision-making (Judging) or information-gathering (Perceiving).
Judging and Perceiving are required before any of the other pairs
come into play. It is through these functions that the individual
first relates to the external world, verbally and behaviorally.
Judging and Perceiving are reflections of the way one confronts
either material gathered or presented. The Judging function leads
one in the direction of controlling the environment. The Perceiving
function creates a receptivity to the environment wherein one
reacts to stimuli, rather than being proactive. Judging and Perceiving
are the most fixed of the preferences; thusly, the most difficult
to manipulate consciously. Extraversion and Introversion defines
how one interacts with the world, either actively or passively.
Ultimately, the basic personality traits, Judging and Perceiving,
are considered to be the primary personality sets from which all
The second task before us is to assign
these two variables to the maximum Yin and maximum Yang positions
along the circle of Graph 8. Doing this requires analysis of the
Yin and Yang of Judging and Perceiving. The Judging function relates
to rules, structure, i.e., institutionalization. The Judging personality
tends to prefer the past; the past is established and more fixed.
Time is frequently an essential element in the judgment process.
Conversely, the Perceiving function is less fixed, and the perceiving
personality finds lack of structure a more compatible partner.
For this individual, the prospect of many options is desirable;
the Perceiver relates more readily to the future.
Yin is allied with the more tangible
aspects of our universe, i.e. matter earth and structure. Judging
can then 'be as' signed a Yin value. Similarly, Yang is associated
with the less tangible, the nonmaterial, and the nonstructured.
Perceiving is then assigned a Yang value. Figure
5 illustrates the initial assignment of these fundamental
personality types to Graph 8. These types are assigned to the
intermediate stages of Yin and Yang as well, anticipating the
derivation of the varieties of personality types.
the Second Pair of Myers-Briggs Preferences
The third task is to determine the
placement of a second set of groupings of preference variables,
Thinking and Feeling. The Thinking function is intimately related
to logic and objective analysis, the objective world. This function
is a closer ally to the traditional concepts of Yin. Conversely,
the Feeling function is more subjective and relative; more closely
aligned with Yang. Assignment of this second set of Type preferences
is illustrated in Figure 6. Note that each
of the Yin and Yang values of Thinking and Feeling, respectively,
are placed in accordance with the Yin and Yang lines of the trigram
(Figure 4). Hence, Thinking occurs at the
5:00 (great Yin), 6:00 (maximum Yin), 7:00 (lesser Yang), and
9:00 (Yang brilliance); whereas, Feeling occurs at the 11:00 (great
Yang), 12: 00 (maximum Yang), 1:00 (limit of Yin), and 3:00 (less
the Third Pair of Myers-Briggs Preferences
The Sensing and iNtuiting functions
are the pair of traits perhaps most amenable assigning to Graph
8. Sensing is recognized as relating to the sensate world or the
world of objects, suggesting a Yin quality. The iNtuiting function
is closely tied to the world of ideas and imagination, suggesting
Yang attributes. Distribution of this set of opposites is shown
in Figure 7. Sensing occurs at the 3:00 (less
Yin), 6:00 (maximum Yin), 7:00 (lesser Yang), and 11:00 (great
Yang); iNtuiting occurs at the 12:00 (maximum Yang), 1:00 (limit
of Yin), 5:00 (great Yin), and 9:00 (Yang Ming) positions.
Eight Energies, the Myers-Briggs Preferences, and the Binary Code
Maintaining a strict correspondence between
the MyersBriggs preferences and the trigrams will equate the six
preferences discussed thus far with three Yin-Yang phases of the
trigram. The preferences, Judging, Thinking, and Sensing, are
considered Yin; the preferences, Perceiving, Feeling, and iNtuitive,
are considered Yang. In the binary code, these relationships translate
to: J=O, T=O, S=O; and P- 1, F= 1, N= 1. Thusly, the preceding
Figure 7 completes the representation of equivalency
between three of the four sets of MyersBriggs preferences and
Graph 8. Incorporating the eight energy axes described by the
Taoists, Graph 8 now appears as shown in Figure
However, a fourth set of preferences
is integral to the Myers-Briggs concept of typology, Introversion
and Extraversion. These dualities can be said to be descriptors
primarily of social interaction; hence, they are reserved for
placement on the Five Phases Paradigm.
Coding of the Five Phases Model
Space does not permit a complete
description of the events associated with transformation of Graph
8 (Figure 2), to Graph 5 (Figure
1). Briefly, the transition is comprised of a series of movements.
Graph 8 (a dynamic model of balanced energy in the universe),
moves to Graph 8 (a representation of early structuring of energy).
Thence, to Graph 6 (deletion of maximum Yin and Maximum Yang,
as the manifestation of such extremes in living systems does not
have a material expression). Finally, to Graph 5 (a pentacoordinated
system organizing essential phenomena). A series of 10 trigrams
result from these movements; 5 on the inside (Yin), and 5 on the
outside (Yang). The binary coding of Graph 5 thus appears as shown
in Figure 9.
Strict derivation of Graph 5 necessarily
assigns four duplicate trigrams at the Wood location. Later authorities
have assigned the Yang aspects of two of these meridians to the
Fire element (Figure 1, see page 14).
of the Three Sets of Myers-Briggs Preferences to the Five Phases
Placement of the preferences defined
by Myers and Briggs to the Five Phases paradigm, according to
the binary codes, results in the graphic model illustrated in
the Fourth Pair of Myers-Briggs Preferences to the Five Phases
Showing a parallel correspondence between
the Myers-Briggs typology and the Five Phases Paradigm, the last
pair of opposites described by the Myers-Briggs system, Introversion
and Extraversion, is assigned to Graph 5.
The element, Fire, is associated with
the sun, light, heat; rising and exuding energy. Extraverts, focusing
the direction of their energy outward and responding more readily
to the external world, can be said to be associated with Fire.
The Earth, bringing forth life and creation, can similarly be
said to be an expression of Extraversion. It is the base, resulting
in growth and fecundity.
Conversely, Wood, represented by the
tree, arises from roots deeply embedded in the earth. It is a
type of potential awaiting kinetic manifestation during the growing
season; thus, a Yin quality. The element, Metal, associated with
solidity, strength, and durability, can also be regarded as having
Yin qualities. Water, because it is of the earth and an essential
aspect of all life, is also a Yin quality. Thus, Wood, Metal,
and Water are regarded as Yin elements. Reflecting inwardness,
they are associated with Introversion.
Determining the Yin and Yang for
the Five Elements, and their relationship to the Introverted and
Extraverted preferences, the derivation of the parallel association
between the MBTI and the Five Phases Paradigm is complete (Figure
of the Nomenclature between the G5/MBTI and the Myers-Briggs System
The sequence of three-letter combinations
obtained from applying the type letters to the trigram (Figure
11) must be altered -- when adhering to the nomenclature established
by the MBT1 for the 16 varieties of four-letter combinations.
These changes are as follows:
A. The Yin Family of Trigrams
is rewritten to read STJ
is rewritten to read NTJ
is rewritten to read SFJ
is rewritten to read NFJ
B. The Yang Family of Trigrams
is rewritten to read STP
101, PTN, is
rewritten to read NTP
110, PFS, is
rewritten to read SFP
111, PFN, is
rewritten to read NFP
changes are a matter of convenience only; binary code values associated
with the original letter type are not changed. In its final forrn,
the G5/MBTI model appears as illustrated in Figure 12.
Yin and Maximum Yang and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Applying each of the eight Myers-Briggs
preferences to the trigrams of Graph 8 - results in a peculiarity
involving those personality types associated with maximum Yin
and maximum Yang: ESTJ (000) and ISTJ (000), and ENFP (111) and
INFP (111), respectively, As noted earlier, Graph 8 undergoes
interaction with Figure 8, and is transformed
ultimately to Graph 5. During this transformation, maximum Yin
and maximum Yang are deleted; such extremes of forms do not have
an expression on Graph 5. Interestingly, the combinations of personality
type that are obtained from realizing the letter combinations
according to the trigrams of these poles of maximum Yin and Yang,
also do not exist in material fonn. The binary values, Extraverted
000 and 111, and Introverted 000 and 111, are considered to be
hidden or silent regulators that have no visible expression on
Graph 5. Such personalities arising at the 000 and 111 locations
must of necessity "borrow" a personality. This notion appears
to find confirmation in the work by Bates and Keirsey (8). These
authors describe the primary quest of the NFP (111 in the binary
code) as that of "looking for identity." Application of the G5/MBTI,
in the normal and the patient population, suggests the most frequent
tendency of the NFP is to assume the personality of the binary
value closest to it, i.e., 110 or Tai Yang. Other borrowings occur
as well. The NFP may also assume the binary value to its left,
Graph 8, i.e., 011 or Jue Yin. Alternatively, the NFP may travel
the length of Graph 8, assuming all or any of the personalities
in a lifetime. The NFP personality is nicknamed "chameleon" or
"masquerader," for good reason. An example of such a protean personality
type is provided in a subsequent section.
The other binary "ghost" is associated
with maximum Yin, 000. These personali ties more often mimic the
next highest binary value, 001 or Tai Yin. Such types are less
likely to mimic other personalities due to their extreme state
of groundedness (Yin).
AND THE FIVE ELEMENTS
The term, "biopsychotype," comprises
the fundamental biological and psychological predilections of
an individual. Biopsychotype, thus, is reflective of the individual's
most basic fabric; the consequence of inherent strengths and weaknesses.
An excess of one or the other can become manifested as illness.
Illness can then be said to be a reflection of the basic constitution
of an individual. Similarly, the strength and weaknesses of a
particular constitution will also be reflected in the personality
of the individual. Whether or not one favors any strength or bends
to any weakness, one's behavior is directed in ways reflective
of the basic nature. Consequently, a system of preferences is
established. Such preferences range from eating habits, to a propensity
for abstraction; from relying more on a sense of vision, instead
of hearing as the primary means of perceiving the world; from
an inclination toward willfulness, rather than consideration.
The preferences of the individual can lead to an endogenous source
of imbalance; thusly, disease.
Brief descriptions follow of the biopsychotypes
as they relate to each element of the Five Phases Paradigm:
1. Wood Element
The body of a person associated
with the Wood element typically has wide shoulders; the musculature
is well-developed. The eyes are large with a prominent brow. The
skin tends to wrinkle early in life. Organ vulnerability is correlated
with the liver, gallbladder, and the sympathetic and parasympathetic
systems. The finger joints of the hands are knotted; palms and
fingers are deeply lined. Persons of Wood constitution may have
a wavering concentration and weak memory. Too many projects are
often begun. Movement, both physical and mental, is evident. There
is often an overly enthusiastic optimism about life, to the point
of nervousness. Woody Allen typifies the classic Yin Wood set
of characteri stics; Salvador Dali epitomizes a Yang Wood character
2. Fire Element
. Persons associated with the Fire element typify
organ vulnerability correlating with the heart as spirit, and
the small intestine. The body appears agile; the hands long, the
fingers slender. Temperament of the person of Fire constitution
is active, sometimes rebellious, and successful. This person usually
has considerable intelligence, a remarkably accurate memory. The
classic Yang Fire personality is Auntie Maine; the classic Yin
Fire personality is Don Knotts.
3. Earth Element
The body of a person associated
with the Earth element is characterized by being round and fleshy;
the face, round. The hands are large and thick, with the palms
taking on the form of a square. Organ vulnerability typically
involves the spleen, pancreas, and stomach. A tropism for, or
against, sweets exists. The Yin type has a tendency to autoimmune
disorders. A general optimism about life prevails (the typical
bon vivant). Among well-known personalities, Orson Wells embodies
the Yang Earth type. Felix Unger, made famous in "The Odd Couple,"
embodies the Yin Earth type.
4. Metal Element
Morphologically, the Metal body
is characterized by having a long stature, a slightly hunched
posture. It tends to be supple and agile. Pale skin is common.
The surface of the body is especially sensitive to cold, turning
pale and then, blue. The Metal constitution is associated with
vulnerability of the lungs and large intestine. Calmness, with
an inclination to reflection, is generally present. Typically,
the Yin expression of these individuals is sad and pessimistic.
Intellectually, this person tends toward exact observation, with
a preference for analysis and abstraction. The classic
Yin Metal personality is Sherlock Holmes; Gary Cooper personifies
Yang Metal personality traits.
5. Water Element
The body of a person associated
with the Water element tends to be erect, the head held high.
Associative organ vulnerability is the kidneys, adrenal glands,
reproductive organs, or urinary bladder. The hand is spatulate
and short, the palm and fingers puffy and soft. Typically, the
Yin person of Water constitution is relatively frail with a variety
of sensitivities. There is often a tropism for salt; a susceptibility
to dust and mold allergies. Disinterest in life is not uncommon.
Well-known personalities, demonstrating the Yin Water set of traits,
include Peter Lorre. The Yang Water character type is epitomized
by General Patton.
AS PRESCRIBED BY THE G5/MBTI MODEL
Incorporation of the Myers-Briggs
Type system into the Five Phases model is termed the G5/MBTI paradigm.
In the previous section, personality types based solely on the
Five Phases Paradigm profiled the individual according to a combination
of biological and psychological characteristics. Here, the description
of personality again utilizes biological and psychological characteristics,
but is extended by the incorporation of the Myers-Briggs typology.
The G5/MBTI paradigm can thus be said to be a paradigm of extended
Lengthy descriptions of each of the structural
biopsychotypes prescribed by the G5/ MBTI model are again beyond
the confines of this paper. The descriptions that follow are limited
to cursory statements of each type in accordance with their relationship
to each of the Five Elements, and broadly categorized according
to whether the type is Extraverted or Introverted. Readers of
this article will be more familiar with energetics, and less familiar
with the Myers-Briggs personality characteristics associated with
each of the Five Elements. Emphasis is placed on the latter. Descriptions
of the Myers-Briggs types are again drawn primarily from the work
of Kroeger and Thuesen (6). A more detailed, expanded treatment
of the relationship between the Myers-Briggs personality types
and the Five Phases Paradigm will be the subject of a future publication.
Included will be a discussion of the broader inferences about
character and health.
1. Extraverted Tai Yang as Masquerader
= 111 = ENFP
Yang organ vulnerability: small intestine.
Morphology: commonly, reddish complexion, small head, rounded
body. Temperament (borrowed): an imposing attitude, excessively
selfassured, good memory. ENFP (borrowed): convinced he or she
has something you need, is thusly persuasive. Anything goes, at
least once, for this "masquerader." Characteristically, this individual
will overextend physically; is typically, argumentative. A pithy
description of this type: "Giving life an extra squeeze" (6).
2. Extraverted Tai Yang = 110 = ESFP
Yang organ vulnerability: small intestine.
Morphology: a reddish complexion, small head, rounded body. Temperament:
an imposing attitude, excessively self-assured, a good memory.
ESFP: socially gregarious and warm to-a-fault. The attitude is
generally, "do it! " This person is accepting of themselves and
others; generally, exhibits high needs for others. An apt description:
"You only go around once in life."
3. Extraverted Shao Yang = 100 = ESTP
Yang organ vulnerability: parasympathetic
nervous system. Morphology: solidly built, often with well-developed
muscles. Temperament: clear thinking and decisive, imaginative
and productive, authoritative. ESTP: feisty, but practical; lives
always in the present, is uncomplicated. Psychology is viewed
with skepticism. This person is frequently unorthodox. A brief
description: "The ultimate realist."
4. Extraverted Je Yin = 0 11 = ENFJ
Yin organ vulnerability: sympathetic
nervous system. Morphology: tendency to be small and thin. Temperament:
tends to chronic anxiety and emotional instability; becomes irritated
and angers easily. ENFJ: this individual is socially hungry and
charismatic, opinions are usually highly theoretical, apt to live
in either the past or future. Verbal skills are usually high.
The extraverted Jue Yin usually exhibits an illdefined nurturing
of others. An appropriate description: "A smooth-talking persuader."
5. Extraverted Shao Yin=010 = ESFJ
Yin organ vulnerability: heart. Morphology:
a rather oval face, with high color. Temperament: outgoing, loud
in dress and manner, flamboyant. ESFJ: gracious and caring. This
person is quite social by nature, naturally friendly, is likely
to be a host or hostess. A fitting description: "Host and hostess
of the world."
Extraverted Tai Yin as Masquerader = 000 = ESTJ
Yin organ vulnerability: spleen.
Morphology: round and fleshy. Temperament (borrowed): calm, generous,
not particularly ambitious. EARTH (borrowed): practical and closed.
This individual is objective in outlook, organized, displays a
great need to take charge of situation; end justifies the means.
A suitable description: "One of life's administrators."
2. Extraverted Yang Ming = 101 = ENTP
Yang organ vulnerability: stomach. Morphology:
round and fleshy. Temperament: the classic bon vivant, affable
and jovial; an expression radiating benevolence and reassurance.
ENTP: frequently entrepreneurial, with views that are often visionary.
There is a tendency to one-upmanship; interdependency is common.
Inventive, the ENTP displays considerable enthusiasm, is involved
in a multitude of activities. A concise description: "One exciting
challenge after another."
3. Extraverted Tai Yin = 001 = ENTJ
Yin organ vulnerability: spleen. Morphology:
round and fleshy, with slightly yellow or earthy complexion; clean
and neat in appearance. Temperament: calm. EARTH: exceptionally
clear in work and word. A need to control and keep the world in
order propels this personality type to unusual leadership abilities.
Thus, life is a chessboard with players to be moved. A short description:
"Life's natural leaders."
1. Introverted Shao Yang = 100 =
Yang organ vulnerability: gallbladder.
Morphology: long physique, wide shoulders; somewhat greenish or
bronzed complexion. Temperament: active, open and frank, difficulties
in decision-making. ISTP: this individual is socially adept, practical,
and objective. Tendencies are to live in the immediate moment,
to try anything once. Introverted Shao Yang individuals are especially
clever with their hands and feel rewarded when such skills are
recognized and applauded. Interpersonal skills are not obvious.
This person usually exhibits limited or very defined caring. A
pithy description: "Ready to do anything once."
2. Introverted Jue Yin = 0 11 = INFJ
Yin organ vulnerability: liver. Morphology:
small and thin, but not without muscles; complexion tends to be
pale and dull. Temperament: chronic anxiety, emotional instability,
and a tendency to inhibition. INFJ: avoidance of conflict and
a drive for harmony. The personality is complex and intricate,
intuitive and often psychic. This individual is compliant and
willing to bend; exhibits great caring and concern for others,
is frequently admired by other people. A terse description: "An
inspiration to others. "
B. Metal Element
1. Introverted Tai Yin as Masquerader
= 000 = ISTJ
Yin organ vulnerability: lung and
skin. Morphology: long, thin, angular; upper body somewhat hunched.
Temperament (borrowed): sedentary and nonemotive, with a tendency
to abstraction and brooding. ISTJ (borrowed): this Masquerader
possesses a great sense of responsibility, is especially keen
on regulations. The tendency is to be very private. Typically,
this personality is closed and fixed, is extremely demanding,
impatient, and compulsive. A significant description: "Doing what
should be done."
2. Introverted Yang Ming = 10 1 =
Yang organ vulnerability: large intestine.
Morphology: thin and angular. Temperament: a sangfroid, which
usually makes this person capable and effective; theoretical and
conceptual. INTP: a quest for flawlessness and competency. The
Introverted Yang Ming person is usually reticent, relatively impersonal,
and socially inept. Relationships are based on intellectual challenge.
A brief description: "Love of problem-solving."
3. Introverted Tai Yin = 001 = INTJ
Yin organ vulnerability: lung and skin.
Morphology: narrow chest and shoulders, thin and angular features,
a white skin tending toward an unhealthy aspect. Temperament:
a tendency to asthenia in all activities, somewhat apathetic,
prone to abstractions and ruminating. INTJ: typically impersonal
and independent, little need for others. Of the 16 types, this
is the most independent. This person's first tendency is to "think
about it" before acting. A strong tendency to be critical of oneself
and others is usually present. There is a natural propensity to
organization, and a preference for the larger view. Making everything
better is of paramount importance. A pointed description: "Everything
has room for improvement."
C. Water Element
1. Introverted Tai Yang as Masquerader
= 111 = INFP
Yang organ vulnerability: bladder. Morphology:
muscular and sturdy; frequently, large head and long spine. Temperament
(borrowed): often indecisive and excessively analytical. INFP
(borrowed): characteristically, idealistic, noble service is an
essential. This individual is open, interpersonal, flexible, with
a low need to take charge. This person is caring of others, appears
conceited or "above" others. A pithy description: "Performing
noble service to aid society."
2. Introverted Tai Yang = 110 = ISFP
Yang organ vulnerability: bladder. Morphology:
muscular and sturdy; frequently, a large head and long spine.
Temperament: often indecisive and excessively analytical; egotistically
indifferent. ISFP: feeling misunderstood in work and word is typical.
A need to keep strict order, an unusually low need to lead others
is characteristic. A tendency to live in the here-and-now, to
concentrate on being harmonious from moment-to-moment is prevalent.
Interactions with life become data for intra- and interpersonal
relating for this individual. A purposefull description: "Sees
much, but shares little."
3. Introverted Shao Yin = 010 = ISFJ
Yin organ of vulnerability: kidney. Morphology:
thin, pale skin, early male balding. Complexion is frequently
pallid and lifeless. Temperament: fearful and anxious, melancholic,
prefers to live privately. ISFJ: a high regard for duty. This
person is inclined to be subservient, pays little attention to
his or her own needs; very much a codependent, takes commitments
to others very seriously. A telling description: "An inspiration
OF THE G5/MBTI TO THERAPEUTICS: THE MBTI, BIOPSYCHOTYPE, AND ENERGETICS
the extent that correspondence between the G5 and the Myers-Briggs
typology is valid, one can legitimately assume that any personality
type determined by the MBTI necessarily suggests a picture of
the individual in both the normal and pathological states described
by the Five Phases Paradigm. Examples of application of the G5/MBTI
in the clinical setting would be the following: A 32-year-old
white female enters the clinic as a new patient. The staff administers
and scores the MBTI. From the results, it is determined that the
patient most closely resembles the ESTJ profile. Referring this
finding to the G5/MBT1 chart (Figure 12),
the patient is determined to be associated most closely with the
Earth element on the Yin side. This, in turn, is associated with
the spleen as the visceral organ most characteristic of this type
(see the Yin-Yang or Zang-Fu Organ model, Figure 13). Since the
spleen is an organ of the Tai Yin meridian, the physician will
anticipate frequent problems for this patient will lie within
the sphere of influence of this particular meridian. Examples
of medical syndromes typically correlated with persons of this
type are those of the HLA histocompatibility antigen system, anemia,
and rheumatoid arthritis. A medical history will then be taken
by the physician as part of initially consulting with the patient.
Indeed, the chief complaint is swollen, painful joints. Upon testing,
her rheumatoid titer is positive at 1:320. The diagnosis is confirmed
by three avenues; the MBTI, G5, and the laboratory. A Tai Yin
treatment protocol is prescribed.
A second patient appears at the clinic.
Results from the MBTI for this relatively timid, rather nervous
and myopic 47-year-old white male, suggest the INFO personality
type. This type is most closely associated with the Wood element
on Graph 5, and the liver organ. Typically, such individuals are
characterized by the presence of cardiovascular difficulties,
commonly high or low blood pressure, and symptoms of liver dysfunction,
including hepatitis. The consultation reveals an individual sensitive
to caffeine, and prone to episodes of high blood pressure. The
treatment protocol is based on the Joe Yin principal meridian.
A third patient seen occasionally in
the clinical setting is the individual whose scores on the MBTI
suggest an ENFP, which has no absolute representation in Graph
5. This 29-year-old white female, imposing in attitude and somewhat
authoritative, complains primarily of low back pain and cystitis,
which places her at the Fire location. This patient has borrowed
the Extraverted Tai Yang personality. Nevertheless, such a patient
will frequently return to the clinic with symptoms consistent
with those associated with an Introverted Tai Yang profile (e.g.,
diffuse lumbar pain), or any other of the 12 personality types.
These patients are usually healthy but fragile in their biochemical
makeup. They may present primarily with functional complaints.
They often have a liver enzyme P-450 deficiency. Thusly, normal
doses of allopathic drugs make them sick. They gravitate toward
alternative therapeutics such as herbs and vitamins. Typically,
they respond well to acupuncture and make up a significant portion
of patients found in an acupuncturist's practice. This person
is often inconsistent from one visit to the next, wandering over
the various patterns established by the GO paradigm. Rather than
a view of this patient as exasperatingly contradictory, a sound
knowledge of the dynamics integral to the G5/MBTI paradigm allows
the practitioner to recognize the patient as altogether consistent
with his or her chameleonic nature. Treatment will reflect the
phase manifested at that particular time.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, first
devised in the early 1960s, has been shown by independent investigators
to be an accurate predictor of personality type (4). Specifically,
researchers have examined the relative independence of the four
paired scales measured by the test. The test has proven adequate
levels of sensitivity (an accurate measure), reliability (repeatability),
and stability [agreement between original and subsequent testing]
(4). Furthen-nore, studies on the intercorrelations of type category
scores, reflecting the level of independence of the four pairs
of eight type categories - suggest that the E-I, S-N, and T-F
scales are relatively independent of each of other. Only the S-N
scale appears to correlate consistently with the J-P scale (4).
The MBTI has not been used to any significant
degree in medical therapeutics, in spite of its accuracy and increasing
application in the workplace and a variety of arenas. However,
a few exceptions exist. In the field of Myers-Briggs typology,
for example, attempts to show correlation between personality
type and certain medical entities such as coronary heart disease
(CHD) exist. Thorne reported that CHD patients were significantly
more likely to be associated with the Sensing and Feeling dimension
(10). Shao Yang individuals are especially clever with their hands,
and feel rewarded when such skills are recognized and applauded.
These authors suggest that the MBTI can be used by medical practitioners
to predict those patients who may be at greater risk for heart
disease. Insight into correlations between specific personality
types and disease states may be largely ignored by physicians
and support staff, due to absence of convincing evidence that
the Indicator may indeed be so structured.
In the present article, the 16 personality
types defined by the Myers-Briggs system of typology have been
assigned to specific loci on the Five Phases Paradigm. The assignments
were made after careful consideration of the basic tenets of ancient
Chinese philosophical and medical thought, and a few key assumptions
about Yin and Yang as they apply to Western ideas of personality.
A comparative analysis between character types described by the
ancient Graph 5 paradigm, and the personality types described
by the MBTI at the same locus on the graph, cannot be reliably
made. Insofar as one is allowed the license to extend the original
intentions of the ancient Chinese scholars to more contemporary
practitioners, the two are assumed to be roughly parallel.
Merging of the two systems dramatically
enhances the usefulness of the Five Phases Paradigm for medical
practitioners, to the extent that the equivalency will be verified
clinically and statistically. Accurate assessment of the personality
type, in turn, accurately defines a biopsychotype as defined by
the G5 paradigm. Knowledge of the biopsychotype, in combination
with an understanding of the energy axis of the primary or presenting
problem of a patient, constitutes the energetic equation (2).
Appropriate care of the patient results from such an equation.
Associations between personality
type and Chinese thought have been attempted by other Westerners,
and those in the field of acupuncture, notably, Requena (11);
and those who have undertaken studies of the I Ching, notably
Grant (12). Requena, utilizing eight character types defined by
Berger (13), claimed correspondence between these types and acupuncture
temperaments. The basis for the Requena method is the Characterologic
Evaluation Test (CE40). This exploits variables of emotive (E)
and non-emotive (nE), active (A) and non-active (nA), and primary
(P) and secondary (S). This test is the primary means of determining,
in decreasing order of importance, an individual's characterologic
preferences. Unfortunately, the author himself claims that the
accuracy of the CE40 is less than 45%, a level considerably less
than optimal. Secondly, an implicit bias in the CE40 questions
may skew the results to a particular type (7). Finally, in terms
of equation of the right character types of Berger with the six
temperaments of Chinese acupuncture, the Requena approach appears
to be binarily flawed.
We can assume that the qualities of emotive
and non-emotive are polar opposites. If we further assume that
emotive is Yang and non-emotive Yin, then the binary value for
emotive is 1, and nonemotive, 0. Similarly, active would be Yang
and non-active Yin; Yang would be primary and Yin, secondary.
Thus, Yang Ming metal (a Yang meridan) = nEAS (010); the Tai Yin
metal (a Yin meridian) = nEnAS (000). However, this coding demands
that both types are Yin meridians, which is a contradiction. The
letters can be rearranged in an attempt to derive a valid code.
If Yang Ming is rearranged to 100 (which are not the binary value
given in Graph 8), the result is AnES. Tai Yin metal becomes nAnES
To force this translation to work, the
sequence of character variables must be active, emotive, and primary
(rather than emotive, active, and primary). Similarly, non-emotive,
non-active, and secondary must become non-active, non-emotive,
and secondary. By this contrivance, Yang Ming earth (nEAP) is
rearranged to AnEP (101). Tai Yin earth (nEnAP) is rearranged
tonAnEP (00 1). The binary code is now in accordance with that
for Graph 8. However, there remains a contradiction between the
two aspects of the Yang and Yin meridians. Consequently, the Requena
attempt is flawed as both a type indicator and a typology accurately
correlated with those concepts traditionally associated with the
Graph 5 model. This method appears to suffer most from the lack
of a mathematically-coherent substructure.
Grant's theory attempted to relate the
MBTI indicator to the hexagrams described in the 1 Ching (14).
The 64 hexagrams represent all of the possible permutations between
maximum Yin of six divided lines, and maximum Yang of six undivided
lines. The hexagram comprises two trigrams placed one above the
other; The relationship between the two trigrams constitutes and
expresses the nature of the two together, i.e., the single hexagram.
Line spellings inherent to all of the 64 hexagrams are derived
from the 8 already illustrated in the Fu Xi Graph (Figure 2).
It is again not possible here to explore all interpretations associated
with the hexagrams and the 1 Ching. The method Grant used to combine
the 1 Ching and Types begins initially by obtaining the psychological
type based on the MBTI scores. The four-letter codes are then
assigned to the inner four of the six lines of the hexagram, the
region referred by the ancient Chinese as the nuclear trigrams.
The Myers-Briggs codes of E, S, T, and J are translated into solid
or Yang lines; the codes 1, N, F, and P are translated into Yin
or divided lines. An estimate of archetypal preferences is then
made. Consequently, lines one and six of the hexagram are determined.
Having obtained the entire hexagram, the 1 Ching is then consulted.
Advice proposed for this hexagram is then considered an amplification
of one's type and archetype.
The Grant approach differs fundamentally
from the Myers-Briggs and the Five Phases. The E, S, T, and J
considered by Grant to be Yang are diametrically opposite the
designation by the authors that E, S, and T, are considered Yin,
in keeping with the original notions of the Yin and Yang duality.
Likewise, that 1, N, F, and P considered by Grant to be Yin, contrasts
with the designation that 1, N, and F are Yang. Furthermore, no
distinction is made between the Introversion/Extraversion sets
of preferences and the other three sets of preferences. Thus,
these preferences are weighted equivalently in their transcription
to the hexagram. In addition, this writer believes the course
taken to derive lines 1 and 6 of the hexagram is a meandering
one, and appears unduly manipulated to achieve a desired end.
Although there are interesting aspects to Grant's work, it does
not appear to reflect the predominant understanding of the nature
of Yin and Yang, the trigrammatic and hexagrammatic relationships,
or the characterology lying between the differentiated personality
and the elemental descriptors.
Fledgling attempts to correlate Western
typologies with disease entities, especially those of Requena
and Myers-Briggs, underscore the tendency of workers in typology
to expand their constructs into other domains. Such attempts by
Myers-Briggs devotees must be regarded as inevitable, especially
by those also involved in medical practice as physicians and allied
health professionals. This paper anticipates this progression
by providing typologists with a sound basis on which they can
relate the 16 personality types to biopsychotypes. Transition
of M13T1 usage into the domain of medical diagnosis, therapeutics,
and prognosis is eased.
Our derivation of the correspondence
between Myers-Briggs personality types and the Five Phases Paradigm
has relied on an approach similar to that inspired by Mussat (15).
Helms (16) describes it as one that emphasizes the symmetric and
mathematical order traditionally associated with the trigrams.
Mussat used this underlying order as a guiding principle by which
the multiple models of acupuncture espoused by various schools
and cultures could be reconciled. His effort seeks to create a
system not only internally consistent, but practical in its application.
Accepting the legitimacy of this approach, this author adopted
a similar method for assimilating the 16 personality types of
the MyersBriggs system into the Graph 5 model.
Any attempt to reconcile Type-constructs
developed in recent times in the West, with paradigms originating
in ancient China, is not without risk. Nonetheless, given preliminary
data, evidence indicates the two approaches have been brought
together in a meaningful way, vis-a-vis, with a fidelity to the
underpinnings of both. The compass of the one is extended by association
with the other. Therefore, addition of the Myers-Briggs personality
types to the Five Phases Paradigm can be viewed as an enrichment
of an already elegant system of diagnosis and therapeutics. Similarly,
addition of the Five Phases Paradigm to the Myers-Briggs system
of typology markedly enhances the value of the Type-Indicator.
Suggestive not only as a biological basis for each of its defined
personality types, it is a larger information base about the range
and nuances of types.
Personality is assumed to be genetically
determined; as such, a defined quantity and therefore, measurable.
The G5/MBTI correlates the mental and emotional with the physical
parameters of the person and body. Hence, it is useful as a means
of determining more exactly a patient's energetic equation. The
diagnostic branch of the Five Phases Paradigm is made considerably
more refined for the practitioner of acupuncture by the inclusion
of the Myers-Briggs typology. The authors anticipate verification
by others in the clinical setting as to the ease, accuracy, and
efficacy of the G5/MBTI system. Substantiation of initial results
is sought from other practitioners of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
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