Living the MBTI: The Perceiving Client

letter-p-photoLiving the MBTI is an ongoing series of posts detailing how knowledge of Type preferences can be used in every day life.

A close friend of mine relayed an experience to me this week that serves as a great example of Living the MBTI. She works as an independent contractor providing therapy services to assisted living facilities. I’ll let her tell the story:

“I was on the phone with a new client this week and she asked me to review the various programs I could provide at her facility. I began explaining many of the most popular groups and activities I use with other clients. Each time I reviewed an option, including an in depth explanation of the goals and the methods used to achieve them, she would reply with “Well…(pause)…ok” and nothing else. I could tell she was writing down everything I said but she wasn’t giving me any indication what she might be thinking about my suggestions and she showed no interest in picking what she thought would work best for her site. After cycling through this routine 4 or 5 times I found myself remembering what I had learned through MBTI. I had a sudden realization: this client preferred to gather information…as much as possible.  And as long as I was willing to keep giving her info, she would remain open to it and keep taking it in.

Having reviewed at least 5 options with her to that point I decided to gently move her beyond information gathering.  I asked her “At this point I think one of the 4 or 5 groups we’ve discussed might be a good fit.  Was there one that stood out to you or that you liked best?”

“Well….yes, actually. I think the one…” and she proceeded to identify the session she wanted to schedule.”

I asked my friend: How would that conversation have been different had you not had knowledge of Type?

“I would have gone on forever” she said “and I think she would have too.  I would have just kept talking, continuing to review anything and everything I could offer, assuming that she hadn’t yet heard anything she liked. And she would have just kept taking it all in.”

I especially liked this story not just because of my friend’s ability to spot a preference and flex her style to be successful, but also because of it’s impact on her confidence.  Before encountering MBTI she admits she would have assumed her ideas were not being well received. Knowledge of type not only provided her a path to success with this particular client, but it removed an insecurity she identified in the moment.

What about you?  Have you had any Living the MBTI moments you want to share?  Email me your story and I may turn it into a featured article on the blog, or share your comments below.


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