Reflections on BAPT Conference 2018

Having spent the weekend at the British Association for Psychological Type Conference, I thought that I would share some of my reflections. I’ll divide this into a couple of posts. I’ll cover the first two areas here and then move onto the third and fourth in the next post.

1. Multi-national

More than half the people at the conference were from overseas. This is a really impressive achievement for BAPT, showing that they are able to appeal to Type users from not only Europe, but also the many folks who had come across from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This really positions BAPT as the forum for Type research and leadership of the Type community. It will be very exciting to see how this develops in the coming year or so.

2. More to Learn. Same Arguments.

Type is the kind of world where the more you learn, the more you find out about. I’ve been working in this area for coming on 20 years and I still discover more. Today I’ve ordered Eve Delunas’s book Survival Games Personalities Play. Now it’s been around for a little while, so I realise I’m late to that party, but I was very interested in looking into more depth about the psychodramas that different Types may play out under pressure.

Type Bugbear No 1

Yet amongst all this learning I was disappointed to see that a couple of my particular Type bugbears are still lurking. Firstly there are still many in the Type community who seem to see ‘Type or Big 5’ as an either or. You’re with us or against us. This is a shame since:

  1. In many ways these are different ways of looking at the same thing
  2. In a battle of the research, they’re looking a lot better
  3. It creates an artificial divide between us and a vast community of people who are trying to work on the same needs and issues in the world

Type Bugbear No 2

The second challenge I see for this community is that I still saw people supporting their arguments with the ‘words of Jung’. Whilst I see the advantage in linking new ideas to old, to me the notion that the closer we are to Jung’s intention, the closer we are to the truth is wrong. I’m not the expert in Jung that many of my colleagues are, and yet I don’t believe that he claimed to be complete and that his work was finished. Jung was a man who changed his mind many times. Communities where the truth is tied to the founders’ words become cults. For me we should be looking forwards, looking to develop our thinking, looking to build upon the strong foundations of knowledge, not limit ourselves to them.

This is what will prevent us from impacting on the mainstream world and really developing our community. It is also what will prevent many people from taking us seriously as experts, as it will appear that we aren’t interested in enhancing our knowledge, only in polishing and protecting what is already known.


I don’t believe that the solution is to ignore the contributions that Jung and so many others have made to our understanding. And I believe that we should look to celebrate those who continue to take us further with the expectation that next year we should aim to know more. Next year we should aim to be further from our starting point, not closer to it.

Personality assessment expert Gareth English
Gareth English

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