That period called Adultescence

An eyeopener written by Ms. Vanessa Valenzuela of Health.Care Magazine.

Review to follow.


Vanessa Valenzuela
Health.Care Magazine

The romantic comedy Failure to Launch (2006) exemplifies this growing trend.

Meet Betty, a single 32-year-old account executive from Makati who recently broke up with her boyfriend of 3 months. During free time she loves listening to the latest club music while checking friend updates on her multiple social network accounts.  Despite earning a decent salary, Betty chooses to live with her parents in their Quezon City home because this set up allows her to save money from rent, utility bills and some meals.

About half of what Betty makes in a month is spent on paying for her credit card bills, which she uses to buy the latest gadgets and branded clothes.  She looks forward to: ”gimmick” night with pals and splurging hundreds of pesos on semi-expensive restaurants with her officemates few times a week.  When asked her plans of settling down and having children, Betty sees it as a decision she would have to make in the future – in the very distant future.

From a typical adult’s perspective, you may see that Betty is undergoing a seemingly delayed phase of “growing up,” which social scientists call “adultescence.”


According to TIME Magazine’ January 2005 article “Meet the Twixters.” “adultescence” is a period between adolescence and adulthood that many of today’s 18 to 29 year olds (or even older) delay for a few extra years.  It’s a phase wherein people refuse to “grow up” to face conventional adult responsibilities like starting a family and being financially independent.

According to Paul McFedries, author of, the earliest citation of the term” adultescent” came out in the 1996 Precision Marketing Magazine article entitled “Adultescenct Marketplace”.  It described moneymakers who had a lot of disposable income because they didn’t have any other obligations like paying for rent or mortgages or raising children.  Other variations and terms would eventually be coined:  “Adulescents,” “adultolescents,” rejuvinles” and “kidult.”  The term adultescent became so popular that the editors of the Webster’s New World College Dictionary chose it as word of the year in 2004.

According to demographers, psychologists and sociologists, “adultescence” is a permanent trend and it won’t go away. Its worldwide phenomenon- many countries already have their own version to the term “adultescents.”  “Freeters” among the Japanese, “Kippers” for the British, “Mammones” for the French and “Nesthockers” for the Germans.

We may not have an exact term for “Adultescent” here in the Philippines, but when we describe the social demographics and habits of “yuppies” or “young professionals” from urban areas like Metro Manila, there may be a surprising resemblance.  Think about it:  how many people you know within this age group today that have already moved out from mom and dad’s home, are married with kids and are 100% financially independent? I can only name a few in my own social circle.

The figures worldwide can’t lie.  In many countries like the US, over 20% of their population belonging to this age group is still dependent on their parents – that’s 1 in 5.  This percentage has already doubled since the 1970s, and numbers just keep on growing, according to experts.  In Italy, for example, over 50% of Italians over the age of 20 have been found to be still sharing a roof with their parents.


There have been many social theories on why this phenomenon came about.  According to the New York Times article published in 2004, it could be because of the increasing cost of education and housing.  Especially in highly urbanized areas like New York or in our case, Metro Manila, the towering cost of property has made it harder for young people to afford having one.  Rent for a condo unit in the Metro Manila, Ortigas or Makati City can cost even more than what a junior executive would earn for the entire month!

Bringing children into the picture only makes it worst – cost of formula milk, healthcare, and education can make any young professional with a promising career think twice.  No wonder more and more couples have chosen to delay marriage and child rearing for as long as they can.  The average age for Americans to get married has risen four years since the 1970s- now its 27 for men and 25 for women.  The same statistical report showed that the proportion of single, never married people in their early 30’s has tripled, Ever head of the saying “30 is the new 20”?

Another explanation for the rise in “adultescents,” as mentioned in the NY Times article, is that young adults now enjoy the same pleasures of marriage without the consequences.  Years ago, sex outside of marriage was considered taboo especially in a Catholic country such as the Philippines, We would even hear stories of shotgun weddings or forced marriage because a young lady lost her virginity to a young man.

More and more Filipinos today, however, are changing their views about sex and marriage.  Rather than words that come together as a package, sex and marriage has become separate terms – sex does not necessarily have to lead to marriage.  This is perhaps why many couples today choose to stall long term commitment while enjoying the perks of having a relationship and their parent’s financial support.


  1. Is he/she still being supported financially by a parent or family member even is he/she has a job already?
  2. Does he/she seem to lack direction in life? No immediate plans on how his/her life would be in the next 3 to 5 years?
  3. Does he/she tend to change jobs every so often?  Like he/she can’t seem to keep a steady career path?
  4. Does he/she hope around from relationship to relationship, not finding the “right one” all the time?
  5. Does he/she spend most of his/her salary on expensive gadgets or clothes that normally couldn’t be attained by a person of his/her economic capability?
  6. Does he/she indulge on partying nightly or spend most of the time playing video games as it he/she was still in college?

If you answered yes to majority of the questions above, then its official: you are living with an “adultescent.”


In an article written by comedian Richard Herring entitled “Hey, kidult you’re not fooling anyone” (2007, the Sunday Times), he describes how “adultescents” or “kidults” like him suffer from Peter Pan syndrome –they choose not to grow up because, unlike their parents, they are able to make that choice.

Most likely, if you are a kidult, your parents (probably now in their 50s or 60s) had a pretty mapped out life: they graduated from college, got a job in the same field as that of their father’s, married their college sweetheart, had several children, worked hard to make ends meet and provide the basic family needs.  There may be some parents whose unplanned pregnancy gave them no choice but to put everything on fast forward.  Most of them were forced to “grow up” and work to raise and support kids in their early 20’s. You know their stories and acknowledge the hardships they had to go through…some of you would even swear that you’d never allow this to happen to you.

Today’s generation has never been more empowered to become whoever they want to be, whenever they wish. So many career choices are out there, so many kinds of jobs that never even existed when your parents were your age. Some of these jobs don’t even require a person to clock in time inside an office.  The hundreds of choices laid out and the desire to become “unique” can confuse “adultescents” on which path to take, establish a life plan despite earning their own income.

So what happens to all that disposable cash?  Spend them on things you’ve always wanted. A “Kidult” is just literally a kid with an adult’s wallet.  They now have more money to spend on things – on looking good (i.e. fashionable clothes, sophisticated skin care regimen, gym membership) and owing expensive toys (i.e. cars, gadgets, plasma TV).


“Helping” someone suggests a person is in an unfortunate situation.  An “adultescent” may not necessarily need help.  In fact, many prominent social scientists who have studied “adultescence” see it as a positive stage of development, where kidults are reaping the benefits of years of social liberation and affluence.  These social scientist view “adultescence” as a great chance for young people to enjoy, do some soul searching and find the life path that they want to take.

According to University of Maryland developmental psychologist Jeffrey Arnett, kidults are actually doing important work that prepares them for adulthood.  It is this one stage of their life wherein they are responsible for no one but themselves and have the complete freedom to focus on how they want their lives to turn out.  If you’re living with a 25-year-old kidult, you can help by showing him/her some career options that you as an experienced adult would be happy in.  Teach him/her how to keep credit card spending to the minimum and introduce more responsible investment options.

However, if your kidult is 40 years old, be more aggressive on getting the message across.  Remember, putting off responsibility won’t prepare you for responsibility.  Our parents who reared children at a young age never learned how to until they were already in the situation.


If you are an “adultescent” reading this article, Arnett gives this advice: “Enjoy it…Once it goes, it ain’t coming back.”  Enjoy your freedom, your money, and your single blessedness while you can because sooner or later your time and money will have to be devoted on some other things like your kids, paying up your house, car plans, kids’ education, etc.

To start getting serious with life, you need friends/family members willing to help.  Stop wasting time on doing things that won’t amount to anything–like playing video games, getting drunk or watching senseless TV.

Learn how to cook.  This not only saves you money from eating out, it also teaches you to plan and schedule your meals.  Cooking your own meals is also healthier and it gives you the chance to serve other people.

Cut down on the impulsive shopping, one of the reasons why you’ve never left your parent’s house in the first place.  You don’t need hundreds of new clothes or the latest cell phone model. Try to survive a full year without buying new clothes or gadgets and see what this can do to your bank account.

Consider making investments.  If you have a lot of disposable income, put it in places that can “double its value.”  Talk to a life insurance agent or a real estate agent and talk about what you can invest on.  When you get older and tired of working, even if you don’t get married or have kids, you will need a place of your own or financial assistance should anything happen to you.

Lastly, avoid wasting time on relationships that have no future (like one night stands). This does not mean you marry the first guy/girl you meet.  Rather try to keep your relationships for the long term this time.  Maybe if you just take your current loved one more seriously, you may have already found the person who you could spend the rest of your life with.


  1. Tierney, John. – Adultescent (New York Times)
  2. Meyer, Susan R. – Mapping Midlife – Adultescence? (Ezine Articles)
  3. The Sunday Times – Hey, kidult you’re not fooling anyone
  4. The Rebelution – Kidults (Part 1) Adolescence is permanent
  5. Harris, Alex and Harris, Brett – Addicted to Adultescence (Boundless Webzine)

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World Wildlife Fund (WWF): Let’s do our part

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Logo

A chance encounter

Awhile back, a young woman jumped in my path as I was headed for a meeting at a local mall. She looked at me straight in the eye, smiled, and extended her hand.

The next thing I knew, I was whisked to a table in the corner and (among other things) asked this question, “What am I doing to save our environment?”

Good question.

Doing my part

When it comes to the environment, I am quite ashamed to say that I haven’t given it as much thought as I should have.

But looking over the card that was given to me that evening, I guess I have done some good…in my own little way of course.

For instance, 1) I believe that a number of our bulbs at home are CFLs or LEDs, 2) we carry a number of power strips at home (thanks to mom), 3) I am a big believer in maximizing a number of household and office items (sometimes to a fault), and 4) I do love my Mac Book Pro which the card says “consumes 5x less electricity.”

Good times!

Earth Hour Logo

With that said, I am dedicating this point to Mother Earth.

It is also my sincerest hope that the people who come across my site in search of the latest news on NBA players that were born in the 1970′s, the Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, or the latest news on the Psychology Bill, etc. would pause and think…

“What are you doing for the planet?”

Here is what was printed on the back of the card:

Make a difference with these simple steps.

Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs: These last 8 to 10 times longer and use 25% of the power.

Use a dipper instead of showering: Save as much as 30 liters of water.

Use a power strip: This eliminates phantom drain, which still consumes 10% to 60% of full power.

Reuse, reduce, recycle: Maximize usage of all household and office items.

Love your laptop: Use a laptop instead of a desktop. Laptops consume 5x less electricity.

Green homes: Open the windows for light and air circulations.

Buy energy-efficient appliances: Energy star appliances save power and reduce your bills.

Patronize local businesses: These have far smaller footprints than imported goods.

Buy locally-sourced items, including food: These allow indigenous businesses to thrive.

The less packaging, the better: Use totes instead of plastic bags.

For more ways to save Planet Earth, click here.

“Terminator” themed photographs to be exhibited during the 2nd Mental Health Week of MMC

2nd Mental Health Week “Hand in Hand, Body and Mind”

Upcoming Exhibit

Recently, a representative of the Makati Medical Center – Department of Neurosciences, Section of Psychiatry has asked me to exhibit several of my photographs during their 2nd Mental Health Week which runs from September 28 to October 2, 2010.

The exhibit hopes to showcase a variety of works from a number of artists and photographers including several paintings from my mom, Dra. Ma. Teresa Gustilo-Villasor as well as four of my own “Terminator” themed photographs.

The eclectic-themed exhibit will be held at the 8th Floor Auditorium, MMC Tower 2 of the Makati Medical Center from September 28 till October 2, 2010.

Hope to see you there!

Photo Write-ups:

Title: “Where did it come from…
Model: McFarlane Toys T-800 Endoskeleton from the Movie Maniacs toy line (2002)
Date Taken: August 10, 2010

One of my best memories of Terminator 2: Judgment Day is when Miles Bennet Dyson, Director of Special Projects at Cyberdyne Systems Corporation and a young lab assistant named Bryant look at two separate sealed containers inside a vault at Cyberdyne.

The smaller of the two containers is home to a domino-sized rectangular chip.  While the much larger container features a metallic forearm and hand…the remnants of the terminator which Sarah Connor destroyed in Terminator (1984).

NECA’s T-800 {Man or Machine} from the Terminator 2:Judgment Day toy line (2009)

Title: “Now listen to me very carefully.”
Model: NECA’s T-800 {Man or Machine} from the Terminator 2:Judgement Day toy line (2009)
Date Taken: August 24, 2010

Prompted by John Connor, the T-800 proceeds to reveal his true identity to Miles Bennet Dyson and his wife Tarissa by flexing its servo-hand to “almost the exact position of the one in the Cyberdyne vault.”

Hey, it’s not everyday that you find out you’re the man most directly responsible for Judgement Day.

Title: “It’s out there…”
Model: NECA’s T-800 {Battle Across Time} and T-800 {Man or Machine} (Head) from the Terminator 2:Judgement Day toy line (2009)
Date Taken: September 11, 2010


“Listen.  Understand.  The Terminator is out there.  It can’t be reasoned with, it can’t be bargained with…it doesn’t feel pity of remorse or fear…and it absolutely will not stop.  Ever.” – Kyle Reese (Terminator, 1984)

Title: “T-800.”
Model: McFarlane Toys T-800 Endoskeleton from the Movie Maniacs toy line (2002)
Date Taken: September 16, 2010

Perspective shots of the T-800.

“Alright. Listen.  The Terminator’s an infiltration unit.  Part man, Part machine.  Underneath, it’s a hyperalloy combat chassis, microprocessor-controlled, fully armored.  Very tough…but outside, it’s living human tissue.  Flesh, skin, hair…blood.  Grown for the cyborgs.” – Kyle Reese (Terminator, 1984)

Understanding Your Child: “What steps to take when your child refuses to go to school?”

A growing concern

In the last month, I have had an alarming number of cases involving children and adolescents who have decided (for one reason or another) to stop going to school.  It seems to be a growing concern and the focus of my October column (Understanding Your Child) in Baby Magazine.

Below is a excerpt from the article entitled, “What steps to take when your child refuses to go to school?” which will be hitting newsstands and magazine shops in a couple of weeks. Hope you guys can pick it up.

As the number of academic responsibilities mount, there is a strong possibility that a child may not have the emotional maturity or the psychological coping skills necessary the weather the proverbial storm.  The sheer volume of endless projects, tests, and other recreational as well as personal activities may then drive a child to simple decide—either consciously or unconsciously—to withdraw and possibly stop going to school.  It is a scenario that can be likened to repeatedly consuming the same kind of food—in large amounts—every single day.  Eventually, the consumer would reach a saturation point and start to dislike or even become appalled at the sight of the food.

Happy Anniversary!

To everyone at Baby Magazine, just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, happy 14th anniversary!

The Bamboo has a different purpose than the Fern

A picture of depression

The Bamboo Story

One day I decided to quit my job, relationship, spirituality, and my life.

But I decided to have one last conversation with God.

The Lord asked me, “Give me one good reason not to quit?’

And He continued, “Look all around, do you see the  fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes,” I replied.

‘When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of  them.

I gave them light.

I gave them water.

And the fern sprouted quickly from the earth.  It’s brilliant green covering the soil.

Lace Fern (Microlepia Strigosa)

Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed.

But I did not quit on the bamboo.

The following year, the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful and again, nothing came from the bamboo seed.

But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the year after, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.

But I would not quit.

By the fourth year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.

But I still wouldn’t quit.

Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth and compared to the fern it seemed small and insignificant.

But half a year later, the bamboo rose to over a hundred feet.

It had spent the five years growing it’s roots.  Roots that made it strong and gave what it needed to survive.”

Remember my child, “I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

Strong Bamboo

The Lord then asked me. “Did you know, my child, that during your time of struggle, you have actually been growing your own roots.”

“I would not quit on the bamboo and I will never quit on you.”

“Don’t compare yourself to others as the bamboo has an entirely different purpose than the fern.”

“Be mindful that your  time will come.”

God added, “You will rise high”

I responded, “How high will I go?”

“How high will the bamboo rise?” The Lord asked in return.

“As high as it can?” I questioned.

“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

I left the forest with this story and I hope that these words can help you realize that God will never giver up on you.

For the Christian Prayer is not an option but an opportunity.

Remember, “Don’t tell the Lord how big  the problem is, tell the problem how Great the Lord is!

Now…what will you do with this message?

My Official Facebook Page is here!

Plaque of Appreciation given to me during the recent National Mental Health Week Seminar in Dagupan City.

With the success of the recent National Mental Health Week Seminar entitled “A Celebration of the past 60 years and looking ahead to another 60 years: On healthy minds rest a healthy nation” last Septemeber 8, 2010 and the medium (Internet) that Dr. Michael Romero of The Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Pangasinan-Dagupan City-San Carlos City Chapter used to invite me…got me thinking of other social media mediums wherein I could promote myself as a resource speaker.

Facebook seemed like a good place to start and you can view the page I created here.

Metropolitan Psychological Corporation (MPC) among nine accredited Continuing Professional Education (CPE) providers of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP)

I am very happy to announce that the following institutions were among the nine accredited as Continuing Professional Education (CPE) providers by the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP).

  1. Metropolitan Psychological Corporation
  2. The Carl Jung Circle Center Inc.
  3. Volunteer Service of the Allied Mental Health Services for Section of Psychiatry, Makati Medical Center

PAP President J. Enrique G. Saplala, Ph.D. shares that “PAP members can earn credit points when they attend any seminar/workshop given by the above institutions during the validity of the accreditation. The number of credit points of the CPE activity will depend on the number of hours and or day of the activity.”

The accreditation is valid for one year (April 2010 until March 2011).

For program inquiries, you can call the Makati Medical Center trunkline number: 888-8999 (Local 2357) or via their direct line: 844-2941.

First day as a Ph.D.’er


Walking into my Final Defense felt somewhat like this…

Reflecting on the past

Below are some of my thoughts during the day of my final defense–June 19, 2009.

First day as a Ph.D.’er

June 19, 2009

Woke up early today to put the finishing touches on my PowerPoint presentation that was due a month ago.  In total, I was staring at 56 slides and only had about 15 minutes to go through all of them (I ended up being given 20 minutes).  As soon as I was done, I rendered it onto a blank disc (with an extra copy to boot) and headed off for breakfast with my mom at Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf.

In Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf, I was planning on doing some last minute reading but my mom–in her infinite wisdom–told me to “just forget about it” because if I didn’t, I would just “drive myself nuts.”

And she was right.

Nothing can really prepare you for a day you thought may never come…

The Final Defense

As one of the first parties to arrive, I went down to the library in order to make the necessary arrangements for a computer and projector.  It was 9:30 in the morning and my defense was set at 10 AM.

Lots of time.

Or so I thought.

10:15 AM rolled by and the projector was no where in sight.

My saving grace at this point was that my panel chair hadn’t had yet to arrive.

But this provided little comfort as my tension was slowly rising with each passing second.

As luck would have it, I found out that the technician set up the projector one floor BELOW my assigned room for the defense!

But all was not lost as the College of Education stepped up to the plate and supplied me with their own personal computer and projector.

Thank you College of Education!

The Main Event

Of course I was nervous.

I started with a prayer and thanked everyone for making the time to come over and be a part of my paper.

I was also informed that I would have twenty minute to go over my presentation.

Lots of time.

Or so I thought.

Next thing I knew, I was down to three minutes.

I rifled through numerous slides and finished off with my post conceptual framework.

At that point, I wasn’t too confident.  But I thought I did ok.

Deafening Silence

12 noon.

After being asked to step out of the room in order to give the panel and opportunity to deliberate on my paper, I was left to sit in the waiting room of my department.

It was silent.  It was agonizing.

To think, I actually fell asleep waiting!

How embarrassing!

Not long after, the panel finally called me back in and asked me a series of questions regarding certain aspects of my paper.

My mentor told me long ago that if she didn’t speak up.  That it would be a good sign.

And I am happy to say that she didn’t have to speak on my behalf until the very end.

I really hope that I did her proud.

The Final Verdict

I was again sent out into the waiting room for the panel’s final deliberation.

This time around, the wait wasn’t as long and I was immediately called back inside.

The verdict: Pass with minor revision.

I was numb.

4 1/2 years of work flashed before my eyes.

The time I had always dreamed of was now here.


I was truly humbled and grateful to everyone.

Counseling Psychologist. Sport Psychologist. And now, Jedi Knight.

Jedi Knighting Ceremony

My journey reminded me of Anakin Skywalker’s ascension from Padawan to Jedi Knight in the original Clone Wars cartoons Knighting Ceremony wherein Yoda said:

Step forward, Padawan…by the right of the Council, by the will of the Force, I dub thee, Jedi (cuts braid) Knight of the Republic.

I guess, this was my right of passage as well.

Profile: Hannibal Lecter

As I was cleaning up my room the other week, I came across a paper I wrote for a psychology class way back in 2001.  The subject was Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter.

This piece also gives you an idea of my writing style almost 10 years ago.

Hannibal Lecter VIII portrayed by Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins in 1991, 2001, and 2002.

The Silence of the Red Hannibal

Once you’ve read into the world of author Thomas Harris—beyond the course of the sophisticated terminologies lays quite a deafening silence.  It’s the kind of reticence that an individual experiences as they attempt to digest everything that the author has to offer.  Personally, I have likened the experience to that of a familiar “soft cot” located on the darkest and deepest corner of the Chesapeake State Hospital…beyond a “distance greater than human reach”— oh, and least I forget the “stout nylon net stretched from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall.”

The Becoming of Him:

The ever-sibilant Francis Dolarhyde referred to himself as Him (The Dragon and erroneously the Tooth Fairy as well) during the course of Red Dragon.  An awakening, not only for Gateway’s production supervisor but also for Dr. Hannibal Lecter—the “supporting/supporting” character in the book.

Lecter, described as a small and sleek gentlemen of 41, was often poised with the grace of a dancer and though his role was somewhat “supportive” in the novel…many (“avid fans”) could see his potential to be something bigger…something larger…with the shear ability to transcend the confines of non-fiction itself.

Lecter escapes by killing his guards and eviscerating them.

Forensics’ Special Agent Will Graham, the main character of this piece, describes Lecter’s personality best:

“He did it because he liked it (murders).  Still does. Dr. Lecter is not crazy, in any common way we think of being crazy.  He did some hideous things because he enjoyed them.  But he can function perfectly when he wants to.”

Graham added:

“They say he’s a sociopath, because they don’t know what else to call him…has correspondence with a number of individuals in-and-out of the field of Psychiatry.  That is of course if they amused and interested him.”

By what went through his mind when he was not doing any of these things?  Times when his personal belongings were taken from him because he stepped out of the acceptable norm.  A single thing stood out from my readings—his incredible sense perception.

Dr. Lecter could smell a freshly placed band-aid on an individual who stood several feet away from him…he would conceptualize what he could not visualize in his mind—literally reconstructing it as if it’s presence were before him.  Finally, the ability to perceive deceit—he could see that one coming a mile away.

Incarceration has its advantages as it allows you to explore your other interests.

Am I Evil?

This was a question thrown by Lecter to Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs.  Clarice proceeded by associating it with destruction.  And this was Hannibal’s response:

“Evil’s just destructive?  Then storms are evil, if it’s that simple.  And we have fire, and then there’s hail.  Underwriters lump it all under “Acts of God…I collect church collapses recreationally?”  Did you see that recent one in Sicily?  Marvelous?  The façade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special Mass.  Was that evil?  If so, who did it?  If He’s up there, He just loves it…Typhoid and swans…it all comes from the same place.”

Lecter again made a similar reference to “God’s satisfaction in taking lives” in a letter to Will Graham regarding the death of a one Garrett Jacob Hobbs,

“…God dropped a church roof on thirty-four of His worshippers in Texas…Don’t you think that felt good?  Thirty-four.  He’d let you have Hobbs…He got 160 Filipinos in one plane crash…He’ll let you have measly Hobbs.”

Profile: Carl Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types

Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types

Berens (1999) describes Jung’s theory of Psychological Types as a departure from the works of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler as Freud’s focus on his patients “seemed to be on the external world of adjustment to the outside world,” while Adler’s practice “seemed to be more focused on the primacy of the patients’ inner world in determining their behaviors.” Jung then conceptualized two fundamental concepts known as extraverted and introverted attitudes. He believed that orientation of individuals could either gravitate towards “the world outside your world (extroversion) or the world inside your world (introversion)” (Gerke, 2006).

Mental or Cognitive Processes (Functions)

After a period of study, Jung came to the conclusion that the differences in people weren’t limited to “just the inner world or outer world” but also took into consideration the content of the “mental activities which they were engaged in when they were in these worlds” (Berens, 1999). Gerke (2006) adds that Jung referred to these mental activities or cognitive/mental processes, as functions, which is derived from the performed function. Berens and Nardi (2004) described the two cognitive processes of Jung as perception and judgment wherein each cognitive process is divided into two categories with Sensation and Intuition falling under perception while Thinking and Feeling highlight judgment. The authors add that Jung’s theory focused on the idea that “every mental act consists of using at least one of these four cognitive processes in either an extraverted or introverted way,” thereby producing eight processes.

Perception and Judgment

Berens (1999) defined Jung’s perception, as a stimulus wherein an individual “becomes aware of something” and in the process is able to “gather or access information.” Jung considered this to be an “irrational process” as the recognition of the stimulus was brought about by external factors. Briggs-Myers et al., (2003) define Jung’s two kinds of perception as Sensation and Intuition. Sensing is defined as information which is assimilated through the senses (tangible information) while Intuiting focuses on a person’s ability in using “possibilities, meanings and relationships in gaining insight” (conceptual information) (Briggs-Myers et al., 2003).

The other core psychological process is Judgment or the ability “organize information and drawing conclusions from it.” Briggs-Myers et al., (2003) define Jung’s two kinds of judgment as Thinking and Feeling with Thinking defined as the “function that comes to a decision by linking ideas together through logical connections” whereas Feeling is the function wherein decisions are reached “by weighing relative values and merits of the issues.” Lastly, Berens (1999) adds these four functions: Sensation, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling can be function on either the “extraverted world or introverted world.”

Dichotomous Opposites

Carl Jung considers functions to be dichotomous opposites in nature. Dichotomous opposites are similar to water and fire wherein the utilization of one is in direct opposite to the other but does not depreciate their value and importance. Berens (1999) considers Sensing and iNtuiting to also be opposite in nature but despite this an individual has the ability to “shift their attention from one kind of information to another” on a number of occasions. A good example would be assimilating sensory information such as a beautiful painting of the ocean and then visualize its representation in the form of intuitive information like the season of summer, clarity, and peace of mind. Similarly, Thinking and Feeling judgments are polar opposites as well. Berens (1999) believes that to be both “value-based and criterion-based” simultaneously is unattainable. But in certain circumstances, both may be used to some extent. One example would be a traveler determining what he or she may need for a particular trip. Through a predetermined criterion, the traveler would be able to assess what is essential for the impending trip.

Briggs-Myers et al., (2003) add that the creation of the Judging-Perceiving dichotomy by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs was brought about “to identify the dominant and auxiliary functions for each type” in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Jung believed that it was important to have one function above all others that are “dominant or trusted and developed” in order to facilitate the “characterization of one’s personality” (Berens, 1999).

Berens (1999) found the following:

Jung also indicated that there was more to a personality type than the dominant function. The dominant process gives a person only one mental process to rely on, and if the dominant process is a perceptive process (Sensing or iNtuting), there would be no way to evaluate information, so there must be a preference also for a judging process (Thinking or Feeling), there would be no way to access information. So the personality is also characterized by having another process play an “auxiliary” role that provides support to the dominant. The idea of a dominant and auxiliary is often referred to as the hierarchy of functions.

The auxiliary process provides balance to the dominant process in two ways.

1) The kind of process, perception, or judgment, is different. If the dominant process is a perceiving process, then the auxiliary process is a judging process or vice versa.

2) The attitudes or orientations of the processes are different. If the dominant process is focused on the outer world (extraverted), then the auxiliary process is focused on the inner world (introverted) or vice versa.

Aspects of Personality

Berens, Ernst, & Smith (2004) share that since we are “complex, adaptable beings,” an MBTI personality type is only capable of “predicting way we might prefer to behave in a given situation and not determine them.” Gerke (2006) adds that when viewing personality types, three interrelated areas much be taken into consideration: the contextual self; the developed self; and the core self. The author defines contextual self as a person’s behavior in relation to the given situation; the developed self then occurs once the individual is able to “adapt and grow based on the choices and decisions we have made as well as by interactions and roles;” while the core self is described as an individuals innate tendency to “to behave in certain ways which influences how one adapts, grows, and develops.”

Distinctions between types

Dissemination of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can be broken down into three types: reported type, the best-fit type, and true type (Briggs-Myers et al., 2003). The reported type refers to the initial personality type extracted from the answers provided in the indicator. This is followed by the best-fit type which is the type pattern selected by those tested from the “themes and preferred processes” of their reported type that suits them best (Berens et al., 2004). Lastly, Berens (1999) describes true type as “the pattern of tendencies inherent in the individual.” The author believes that since “patterns cannot be measured and can only be mapped or described,” true discovery can only come from the individuals personal cognitive resources. Briggs-Myers et al., (2003) add that although an individual’s type “does not change over time,” they may express their preferences “in somewhat different ways at different times and at different ages, and stages of life.”

Berens, L.V., Ernst, L.K., & Smith, M.A. (2004). Quick guide to the 16 personality types and teams: applying team essentials to create effective teams. Canada: Telos Publications.

Berens, L.V., & Nardi, D. (2004). Understanding yourself and others: an introduction to the personality type code. USA: Telos Publications.

Gerke, S.K. (Speaker). (2006). Jung’s theory of extroversion and introversion (Cassette Recording No, 1). Huntington Beach, California: Ramon Eduardo Gustilo Villasor.