INFPs vs Evidence-Based Treatment
The top eight (of sixteen) Myers-Briggs types that come to be Psychologists share the “N” preference—they lead with “Intuition” as their preferred way of knowing, or taking in information.
They make up 86.2% of Psychologists, according to a study I found online.
At the other end of this duality is the “Sensing” function. All eight of the “N” or Intuiting combinations were more represented among Psychologists than any of the “S”, or Sensing profiles.
And the academic/social “science” world (sorry, those rabbit ears are well earned—social science is NOT science) wants to sell us on “Evidence-Based Practice.”
So what is wrong with THAT picture?
Well, as I have written in my chapter about the “N” function, N’s look internally for their information. They are more interested in their experiences, intuition (obviously), gut or felt sense, the energy in the room, non-verbals and the like. That’s what they are more attuned to. Sensing people tend look to the five senses (not the 6th sense) for their information. “I’ll believe it when I see it. I need to see data. What’s the research say?” Those are typical “S” ways of knowing—by accessing information from an external authority. Intuitive types look to their own internal authority, based on inner knowing and own experiences.
These are really different.
It has long been observed (and studied, I believe) that a huge percentage of practitioners do not really read “the research” or go to “the literature” to inform their clinical practice. They basically don’t care about the clinical research, unless they are forced to by the agency in which they work. It would be like sending a basketball player to the library to improve his game, when he would know that he learns better on the court, practicing and honing his observations and skills.
So it is kind of comical, or maybe it is tragic—or probably both—that there is a group of non-practitioners (largely) who generate “the evidence”, while the practitioners do not read it or find much value in it. Most practitioners I know are much more interested in “Practice-Based Evidence” than “Evidence-Based Practice.” They choose an intervention based on their own experiencing or knowing, not based on a study from some guy at Ohio State.
Early in my book, I talk about how it is hard being an INFP. Well, this is another case where even within a quintessentially INFP profession like Psychology or Counseling, the “N” function gets somewhat dismissed as a legitimate way of knowing. Go turn in your case notes to the insurance company and tell them you didn’t feel the need to consult the DSM because you got a pretty strong hit that this was more of a spiritual awakening crisis than an actual psychotic episode, and see how soon you get paid for that session.
If you are not a therapist, or a coach, but you are an INFP, you see these dynamics in your life, only in a different example. “What do you mean, your gut’s telling you to move to Santa Fe?” No doubt you run into Sensing types that just cannot imagine how you make decisions the way you do…
Tell them to read “the literature” on the Myers-Briggs; that’ll keep them busy for a year or two…