Linda Berens Institute was created by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. after over 35 years of studying and working with individual differences in many settings.
Linda Berens Institute provides holistic solutions for increasing human agility and transforming work relationships. We work with organizations, leaders, facilitators, and coaches to create safe environments where individuals can bring their whole selves to work.
Our mission is to help organizations, leaders, teams, and individuals have an impact on the world. We help individuals increase their sense of well being, relationships, and communication effectiveness using the Berens CORE™ Approach.
We provide . . .
- Specialized programs that optimize individual differences for strengthening organizational culture, employee engagement, and communication
- Public workshops and coaching for individuals and leaders who want to realize their goals and intentions and improve their communication and relationships
- Certification programs, resources and ongoing support for practitioners whose roles are to be change agents and growth agents inside organizations or as independent practitioners.
- Resources such as articles, books, web-based tools, and job aids
Our programs and methodologies are based on an Integral approach to typology developed by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. and were formerly offered under the name of Integral Typeworks. These programs incorporate the Interstrength Method, developed by Linda Berens, Linda Ernst, and Melissa Smith and put into practice by thousands of practitioners worldwide.
Linda Berens Institute had its beginnings in 1974 as Linda began a life changing Masters degree in counseling that had been architected by David Keirsey. This program took a holistic, systems view of people, relationships, and organizations. They studied multiple models for understanding why people became dysfunctional, how they behaved when they were functioning well, and how to help them. They learned more than 15 different treatment models, with a focus on what does the therapist do, not so much on the theories. One of the most profound aspects of the program was how Keirsey’s Temperament model was woven in with the other subjects they needed to learn.
In 1981, Linda became involved in the new organization, Association for Psychological Type. This was a very exciting time as type was just taking off and we’d had the internet then it would have gone viral in an even bigger way. This organization was a big think tank with a place to learn from each other as explore new ideas and connections. Over the years she played various leadership roles in the organization including serving the three-year term as president elect, president, and past president from 2012 through 2014.
After a few years in a systems interventionist role of school psychologist, Linda decided to shift her focus and in 1988, she founded Temperament Research Institute as an organization dedicated to helping individuals and organizations learn about and apply individual differences information—specifically Temperament information, but also linked to Jungian typology. Since by that time David Keirsey had retired from teaching, Linda wanted to be sure the valuable things she learned in her degree program had a place to be passed on. There was so much more than what was in his book, Please Understand Me.
In 1991, we entered a relationship with Type Resources to jointly offer their MBTI® Qualifying Program. They added in more on Temperament and Margaret Hartzler and Linda Berens shared the master faculty role, adding Stephanie Rogers, Bob McAlpine and Marci Segal to the faculty. Margaret and Gary Hartzler created a fertile ground for innovation and the development of new learning approaches as well as an informal learning lab for studying John Beebe’s work with Jung’s eight Functions. That collegial relationship continues today, although the joint work on the MBTI® program stopped at the end of 1994.
In 1992 we discovered that people often tended to take the MBTI® results as 100% accurate and did not explore other descriptions as a better fit. As a result we innovated what we now call the CORE Self-Discovery Process™. We started presenting the patterns of the four Temperaments using the names David Keirsey had given them along with graphics, descriptions, and stories to illustrate. Then we asked people which of the four patterns they identified with.
In January of 1994, instructional designers and master trainers, Linda Ernst and Melissa Smith, attended an MBTI® Qualifying Program with Linda. They took extensive notes on the process as well as the content. This resulted in the creation of the first ever Guide for Facilitating the Self-Discovery Process along with Linda Ernst, Melissa Smith, and Judy Robb. This Guide was the first to include color transparencies and high impact graphics along with the scripted dialog and adult learning theory guided activities. In its current iteration it is nearly 500 pages long and includes customizable animated graphics in PowerPoint files.
Dario Nardi was also in that January 1994 Qualifying Program and we engaged him to help develop an exploratory narrative self-discovery program that was before its time. This evolved into a long term relationship with Dario as an author and co-author as well as theory partner. That collaboration continues to this day.
In 1994 Linda experimented with a new way of doing self-discovery with the Jungian functions (aka Cognitive Processes). Instead of presenting the dichotomies of the MBTI® dimensions, she had people experience all 8 Jungian mental functions. In this way, people were less likely to interpret it as an either/or and see type preferences as a both/and and to look at the whole pattern. This cut the teaching time for identifying the dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior processes from two hours to 20 minutes. Now it was easier for people to see how they have access to them all, but just give preference to a few and opens the door for development.
In 1995, the Guide for Facilitating the Self-Discovery Process was published and CPP, the publisher of the MBTI® instrument granted Temperament Research Institute the license to deliver their own Qualifying Programs using this guide. These programs and advanced workshops continued through 2008 when the publisher decided to make all the program uniform. However, the same workshop morphed into a certification program that is offered today. We never stopped evolving the program, keeping much of what was highly valued by our participants. Between 1991 and 2008, Linda qualified more than 2500 individuals to ethically use the MBTI® instrument in their work. Graduates of these programs were grandfathered in to MBTI® Certification.
Over the next ten years we developed and wrote many booklets and job aides. Our MBTI® Qualifying programs attracted many who wanted a comprehensive approach and the tools to make type practical. We gave them that.
In 2001 we made public a groundbreaking model, Interaction Styles, for understanding typological differences. This new model with four patterns of interaction integrated with the sixteen personality types identified by the MBTI® instrument so it gave practitioners a way to offer something similar to DiSC or Social Styles that worked with the other lenses we used. It was about that time that we realized we had developed a multiple model approach to type.
In 2005, we changed our name to Interstrength Associates to reflect that we are not just focused on temperament theory, but on the powerful applications of multiple models of individual differences information to help individuals and organizations build internal and interpersonal strength.
In 2010, it was time for some major changes and the corporation closed it doors. Linda kept up the work of training professionals and doing some consulting as she explored some emerging movements such as Mindfulness and Integral Theory. Her explorations included attending conferences and workshops in these fields of study, including a Certification in Generating Transformative Change through Pacific Integral. These learning were all integrated into the Certifications she continues to conduct today.
In 2012, she was encouraged to found Linda Berens Institute as a container for all this work.
Over the years, we continued to provide consulting and training to organizations. Below are several of the organizations where the Interstrength Method (now called Berens CORE Approach™) has been implemented either by us directly or those we’ve trained.
American Honda Motor Co.
Bank of the West
Beckman Coulter, Inc
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Childnet Youth and Family Services
Cisco Systems, Inc
Corrections Standards Authority, STC Division
Harley Davidson Motor Co.
Kaiser Permanente, Hospital Strategy and National Facilities
Long Beach Memorial Medical Center
Orange County Transit Authority
Research Affiliates, LLC
San Francisco Veterans Administration
TaylorMade adidas Golf
The Methodist Hospital Systems of Houston
The Salvation Army
Three Rivers Federal Credit Union
University of Toyota, Toyota Motor Sales
University of Southern California
Vandenberg Air Force Base
Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
While most of the work of the Institute is focused on training practitioners, we also continue to do direct work with organizations.