Type at the Family Conference Table: Introverted Feeling

03 May 2016

Written by Mathew David Pauley, JD, MA, MDR

In my previous post, we encountered Extraverted Thinking types (ESTJs and ENTJs) who were stressed, upset, and were facing some very hard decisions. Though they are accustomed to and comfortable in the role as decision maker, emotionally charged situations can sometimes inflame their least preferred and least used mental process, Introverted Feeling, creating emotional turmoil. Introverted Feeling types, such as ISFPs and INFPs, are at their best when processing their emotions, reflecting on what is the right thing to do, and knowing what is important given the circumstances.

The practice of medicine, however, can be ruthless in its demand for decisions to be made, and to be made on its schedule. Its if-this-then-that causal approach may seem unsympathetic to individuals who focus mostly on values. For instance, a normally calm and composed woman with INFP preferences who generally finds solace in reflective Doctor is calling patient after reading diagnosemindfulness exercises and meditation can find herself out of sorts from the constant time-is-of-the-essence demands that follow a recent cancer diagnosis. This might be especially true if she finds herself unable to take time to consider values that are important to her or, even worse, is forced to make choices inconsistent with her sense of self-identity. Her oncologist may not encounter the normally thoughtful, contemplative woman she’s been treating, but rather this other person relying on her least favorite mental process, Extraverted Thinking—making rash, shortsighted decisions and overly critical of the oncologist’s competence and challenging his medical advice.

Physicians are under increasing time constraints and are pressured to be more time-efficient. Accordingly, it is understandable that many of their conversations are strictly to the point: “Here is your diagnosis, here are your options, what do you think?” But patients who are Introverted Feeling types will desire, if not need, more time to process, and reflect what and who matters to them. Speaking with these patients sincerely about values that are important to them should be the first step in helping them restore some inner balance, which in turn may support their decision making concerning their care.

Want to read more? Check out my previous blogs in this series:

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