Addiction and 16 personality types

Results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality assessment may help prevent relapse.
  • Results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality assessment may help prevent relapse.

Post Title: Strengthen Your Road to Recovery

Post Date: February 26, 2014

Recovery from substance addiction and maintaining a sober lifestyle is a complex process that involves every aspect of the clients’ life. Long-term substance addiction routes nearly all aspects of the users’ identity and activities toward the substance abusing lifestyle. Recovery involves multiple stages of healing across multiple aspects of the clients’ life.

Clients must learn to navigate physiological and psychological urges for substance use; and they must learn to successfully integrate family life, meaningful work, recreation, diet and exercise, and stress management. Environmental triggers, interpersonal conflict, faulty decision-making; and being unable to manage stress, change, and negative emotion account for a large portion of relapses. Clients will undergo changes (both positive and negative) in every area of life, with all changes creating some level of stress. While relapses are generally expected during the course of recovery, the inevitable life changes and stress can lead to ongoing cycles of relapse when clients are unable to develop appropriate coping skills.

While cognitive-behavioral therapy combined with motivational interviewing strategies are shown to be effective in helping clients recover from substance addiction, results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality assessment can help inform clinicians and clients about how the individual innately tends to approach the situations that could trigger relapse. The MBTI® assessment instrument can result in one of sixteen personality types. Each personality type includes information and resources that inform how individuals may approach change, respond to stress, engage in conflict and communication, choose potential college major and career routes to attain meaningful work, and make decisions. We will use the ISTP (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception) personality type to highlight two of these areas, stress and conflict.

Stress: ISTPs can experience extreme stress when they work under rigid regulations; have too little time alone; experience unfair, illogical, or too emotional situations; or are not affirmed in their values. Under stress, ISTPs can become obsessed with pursuing their own logic, inaccurately interpret others’ actions as personal attacks, develop intense feelings that they are being ignored, and even become alienated from others. When ISTPs experience extreme stress, it is vital that they are given plenty of space to be alone. They should be relieved of as many responsibilities as possible while they reflect and recharge. Others who are close to them should validate that the situation is stressful, but should not barrage them with questions about how they feel. 

Conflict: For ISTPs, conflict can arise when they don’t have sufficient time to process a situation or reflect on an important decision; when they feel they are being treated unfairly; when common sense is ignored; and when others attempt to use personal feelings to resolve a conflict. During conflict, ISTPs may withdraw into their inner world and be unable to quell their incessant thinking about their problems. They may become rigid in wanting everything to fit their logical view. ISTPs may become passive-aggressive and sarcastic, or explode with unsettling outbursts. However, ISTPs tend to be fair-minded and prone to learn from their mistakes. ISTPs can develop more flexible conflict resolution skills by gaining experience in resolving conflict with others, understanding and accepting that some people process conflict in different ways, and by learning to move on once the conflict is over. Alternatively, those close to the ISTP can learn to provide the necessary space and time for the ISTP to reflect on situations, and to provide the specific facts of a situation that the ISTP needs.

[Post edited for length]

Title: Empowerment for Life | Address: empowermentforlife.org/blog

Author: Ava McKeehen | From: Chula Vista | Blogging since: December 2013

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