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Carl Jung: Hence my typology aims, not at characterizing personalities.

C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950

To Hans Schaffer

Dear Dr. Schaffer, 27 October 1933

Sincerest thanks for your friendly and interesting letter.

Your individual attempt at a typization shows that the typological problem can be approached from any number of angles, and usually with considerable advantage for the inventor of the scheme in question.

Your attempt is essentially characterological, which I cannot assert of my own typology.

Nor was it ever my intention to characterize personalities, for which reason I did not put my description of the types at the beginning of the book; rather I tried to produce a clear conceptual scheme based on empirically demonstrable factors.

Hence my typology aims, not at characterizing personalities, but at classifying the empirical material in relatively simple and clear categories,
just as it is presented to a practising psychologist and therapist.

I have never thought of my typology as a characterological method and have never applied it in this sense.

For any such application it would be much too general and therefore much too scanty.

As you very rightlyobserve, one needs 27 categories and probably a few more besides in order to give an adequate characterization of mentally differentiated persons.

For the psychologist, who has to deal with people in practical terms, a characterological diagnosis of the patient is of secondary importance; for him it is far more important to have a terminology in which at least the crassest differences between individuals can be formulated.

Your characterological aim is to sketch an adequate picture of a person’s character.

My typology aims at elucidating conceptually the empirical psychological material presented by any one individual and thus subordinating it to general points of view.

This intention of mine has often been misunderstood, for the simple reason that the layman can form absolutely no conception of the peculiar material the psychotherapist is confronted with.

In practical dealings with people it is certainly of the greatest importance to know with whom one is dealing.

For the therapist this is a matter of indifference, since he has to deal with him anyway and the patient’s psychology is such that the only thing to do is change it.

Consequently, categories like “sensitivity,” “good-naturedness,” “intellect,” etc. can be considered only as more or less pleasant concomitants.

I should like to add, however, that your findings may well be of great importance biographically and are obviously an extremely valuable contribution to our knowledge of contemporary personalities.

With collegial regards,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 129-130