APTi Ethical Standards: Additional Guidelines for Type Practitioners

12. When contracting to use psychological type with individuals or organizations, clarify the purpose and desired outcome. Consider whether type is an appropriate tool for accomplishing their aims.

Sometimes clients have misunderstood what psychological type can and cannot do. When an organization indicates that it plans to use type results for hiring or promotion you can explain that having a type is not equivalent to having skills, and that selection strictly on the basis of type patterns is not likely to produce the results that the client wants. Many criticisms of the MBTI® and other type approaches stem from disappointing outcomes of this specific misuse.

Sometimes clients believe that new perspectives offered by understanding a type model will “fix” a “problem person,” or get everyone to agree to a particular point of view. You can remind the client that psychological type is ethically used to help people understand themselves and others as they are – which can certainly include their impact on others – but that it can’t be expected to change people.

Sometimes clients do not understand the depth and richness of type models and want to use them in trivial ways, for example, as an “ice-breaker” or “fun” diversion. Often such requests also involve inadequate time to present the framework in any substantive way. When presented with such a request, you might consider whether there is something limited that you could do to offer value to the group in the proposed time frame. For example, you might explore an important type-related difference, while making it clear that this is just one aspect of type and not the whole story.

If you object to the way a prospective client wants to use the type framework, the client may say they’ll just find someone else. To uphold your obligation to use type ethically, you must decline the contract. If the client does replace you, at least they will have been told that what they want to do is unethical, and you won’t be the consultant who is misusing type.

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