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Jung’s Function-Attitudes Explained

by Henry L. (Dick) Thompson, Ph.D.

Dr. Thompson’s new book, Jung’s Function-Attitudes Explained, focuses on the eight function-attitudes in Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. While Dr. Thompson is the first to admit that “explaining” Jung’s complex theory would be difficult at best, he believes there is a need for a more thorough understanding of this component of Jung’s theory.

In Jung’s Function-Attitudes Explained, Dr. Thompson pulls together important information about the function-attitudes from the writings of Jung himself, Jung’s professional colleagues and other well-known commentators and students of his theory, including Isabel B. Myers. He also provides graphic illustrations and an image label for each function-attitude to help define more clearly their distinctive characteristics.

At the heart of Jung’s theory of psychological types are what Jung called the attitude types, introversion and extraversion. Later, he expanded his theory to include four function types: Sensing, iNtuiting, Thinking and Feeling. He found that the attitudes and functions combined to form eight function-attitude types. While Myers and Briggs are typically given credit for expanding Jung’s eight types into sixteen, this book shows that Jung indirectly defined the sixteen types but “did not articulate behavioral descriptions beyond the eight function-attitude Types.”

In addition to image labels and graphics, each function-attitude is discussed in terms of positive as well as negative behavior; its contribution to the appropriate memory domain (the four memory domains are discussed in the book); and common behaviors when “in the grip” of an out-of-control inferior.

For example, extraverted iNtuiting types (N e) are given the image label “chaos,” because their “attitude of expectancy creates a constant searching for the widest range of possibilities, resulting in the person being easily distracted and appearing to be at the edge of chaos. . . . Driven by external conditions, N es can quickly change directions, like a stick in a stream, and adapt to the environment.” Because N e stores information in symbolic memory, when an N e “thinks about doing something . . . it might be remembered as having been done. " When N e’s inferior function, introverted Sensing (S i) takes control, “it can cause N es to place exaggerated attention on their bodies and begin fitness fads, exercise, diets, etc., which may result in exhaustion.”

Several theories of type development are also discussed in the book, including the theories of Dr. John Beebe, Dr. Allen Marshall, Angelo Spoto and Dr. Thompson’s own systems model of psychological type. Conversations between Dr. Beebe and the author helped clarify components of Beebe’s model often misinterpreted by type practitioners.

Jung’s Function-Attitudes Explained is the most complete source published to date on the function-attitudes. As one reviewer put it, “This book is destined to become a classic. . . . a valuable reference for anyone with more than a passing interest in psychological type.”

Quoted passages are from Jung’s Function-Attitudes Explained.

Click here to Order Jung's Function-Attitudes Explained

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