Note: there is an updated version of this page at Integrated Type and Development.
One of the key contributions of Integral Type is that it provides a map and tools for development as well as shadow work. The use of the Integral Type approach fosters development. Many uses of typologies result in thwarting development because of the use of labels and over reliance on instruments.
Development starts with your natural type pattern—the pattern that was there from birth, if not from conception. We are born into a world where our natural type is either similar or different from those around us. There is always an internal push for the pattern to unfold. Type development is the unfolding of the natural pattern and the emergence of complementary aspects that at first do not express. In this development each later version of the pattern, transcends and includes the earlier versions of the pattern.
The first developmental question we face is, Do I get to be me? This is not a conscious question, but it is a pivotal one. The messages given by those around us and our cultures are not necessarily spoken, but they are nonetheless powerful and influence our development.
If we are in a family or other context where we are similar in style to those around us and to what is expected by our cultures, who are is accepted. Thus we are free to express our natural selves. We may become blind to the gifts of others around us and other aspects of ourselves. In this case type development requires turning down the volume of our natural inclinations to make space for other aspects to emerge.
If we are in a family or other context where we continually get the message that our ways of being in the world are ‘wrong’, we have two choices—adapt or insist on expressing our true natures. Most of us do a bit of both along the way. For some of us, discovering important aspects of our true natures through the lens of a powerful type framework frees us up. The process of self-discovery is often one of reclaiming our core self.
Type development starts with developing first those aspects of our nature that are there from the beginning. If this development process is derailed, we adapt, but it takes energy. Getting back to what was there from the beginning frees up energy. Then the changes are easier. Development is easier.
We are not stuck in our types, but can become stuck in our resistances and attempts to hold to an image of ourselves that may be true to our natures or alien to our natures.
It is easier to be who you are not, if you know who you are.
Type and Developmental Models
There are many look alikes between models of developmental psychology, cultural development, and typology models so it is easy to confuse one with the other. Work is just beginning on this topic and more information will be added to these pages to help clarify the differences. In the meantime, we recommend you keep the following in mind:
- Some of the patterns of development look like some of the type patterns or vice versa so it is important to learn about other frameworks and models.
- Don’t confuse development with type.
- Don’t confuse type with development.
- Don’t confuse cultural values with types.
- Don’t confuse types with cultural values.
- We are more than our types and we are more than the sum of our experiences.
- We have all the types within us and yet one is home base.
- All types occur at all levels of development. They just express differently.
- As we develop, types are harder to identify. A simple instrument won’t work by itself.