Personessence: Understanding People
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The Personnessence System:
is a basic introduction to the PersonessenceTM System of Personality. This Introduction comes from the series of
e-books that will soon be available through this site. Please be patient. The
books are complete but need to be formatted to fit the web pages. These e-books
will cover every aspect of the PersonessenceTM system complete with photographs
to help the reader understand people in a highly informative way. This approach
will offer you the opportunity to choose the areas you want to study in greater
is a challenging and transformative time in history and the world needs tools
to help people understand and communicate with one another more than ever
before. Our world today is full of unprecedented misunderstanding and judgment.
The fact that the core essence of people desires to be understood bodes well
for breaking down these otherwise seemingly impossible barriers. By and large,
people want to be communicated with in a way that shows they are accepted,
acknowledged, and recognized for who they are. Given tools and maps to self
knowledge, people can learn to live in harmony and mutual respect despite
cultural diversity or other environmentally contrasting realities.
PersonessenceTM system is a powerful tool to help people meet the challenges of
today's realities. PersonessenceTM has proven successful in facilitating greater
understanding and communication in multinational companies, law firms, school
systems, non-profits and in the private lives of countless individuals for many
PersonessenceTM System to Understanding People has been developed over the last
35 years and has been impacted by numerous fields and traditions. Informing the
core of this system is the work of late Sarah Chambers, a public health
administrator, teacher and intuitive who researched findings of Jorges
Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky for years. Many of the terms and concepts
explored by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky as delineated by Chambers in the 70's influences
much of the basic content of PersonessenceTM. PersonessenceTM, however, takes
much of this work to a significantly deeper and more contemporary, applicable
also draws from the well known studies of other psychologists including the
anthropological cross-cultural archetypes explored by CG Jung. In his research,
Jung noted certain preconscious dispositions that allowed human beings to react
in specific ways. He ascertained that people were born with instinctive
patterns, seemingly unrelated to environmental conditioning or genetic make-up
that structure their realities. Jung further found that common archetypal
patterns existed in every culture of the world and throughout all phases of
human history unifying all peoples over space and time.
theoretical system that influences
PersonessenceTM is that of Abraham Maslow. Through the Hierarchy of Needs,
Maslow's theoretical model, he observed that people seek to first fulfill
certain basic biological needs before progressing on to increasingly more
complex and sophisticated needs. PersonessenceTM reflects some of these basic
truths, but extends far beyond it to incorporate an additional nine needs. This
is explored in greater detail in chapter 8.
PersonessenceTM map of personality has offshoots and is referred on the internet
by other terminology. The language may be slightly different with explanations
ranging from highly insightful to unfortunately bizarre. Known as the Michael
Teaching by many, it was given that name by Sarah Chambers in the early 1970's.
The PersonessenceTM System remains faithful to her early research.
spent the past several decades on research and exploration of my own,
dedicating time and energy to uncovering the truth of what impacts us, how to
apply that understanding and teaching the PersonessenceTM system to thousands of
individuals has been enlightening. My background as a licensed clinical social
worker with a doctorate in counseling psychology has given me the unique
opportunity to apply my understanding of this deeply personal, yet universal system
to help others in a variety of environments - from corporate settings to
individual therapy sessions - around the world. This system's great advantage
is that it is blind to race, gender, religion, and cultural traditions. People
who learn the system and understand how to apply it do so in their own lives
and sometimes as a mechanism for understanding their cultural or familial
heritage. PersonessenceTM is a simple system that functions as a mirror, giving
people of clear view of themselves and others and helps deepen their
understanding of common intra- and inter-personal communication styles. An
understanding of this personal context can help one achieve one's full
potential in life with deep satisfaction.
are a variety of maps to the terrain of the human heart. Some are excellent and
some are less than adequate, designed by people who know little about
themselves and others. A well crafted map can help you explore the landscape of
who people are and why they do the things they do, spotting major landmarks,
obstacles and clear pathways.
label things clearly to help people avoid getting lost. It is true that labels
can be limiting and self-fulfilling, but without a legend or clearly labeled
landmarks a map is useless. Like a map that helps differentiate between a river
and a forest, a mountain or a canyon, a map that helps us differentiate between
different types of people can be quite useful. Understanding the mannerisms,
behaviors and thought patterns of certain types of people can help us better
develop techniques for effective communication and form the basis of strong
relationships. For example, a cautious person will deliberate for a long time
before making a purchase, but a passionate person might make a decision in a
matter of seconds. An intellectual person needs time to think about the formula
that will provide the solution to a problem, while an emotionally centered
person like Einstein often knows the answer before fully comprehending the
problem solving formula. Having a clearer understanding of how people are in
the world can provide adequate context for shaping our own responses to our
world and the people around us.
psychology has provided us with rather inadequate maps to human nature and the
net result has been massive confusion. Too often psychological maps are
oriented toward locating and diagnosing dysfunctions and deficits which easily
lend themselves to overgeneralizations and misleading levels of simplicity.
Dividing everyone into introverts and extroverts, thinking and feeling types,
etc. does not provide enough detailed information about a person to be useful.
These simple maps do not do justice to the tremendous varieties of human
motivations, perceptions, traits and behaviors not to mention great ranges of
maturity and development. People are complex and have multiple layers to their
personalities that require a system with more interlocking parts to fully
explore the contours of each individual human being.
we understand how we are equal, we need to understand how we are different.
Understanding the diversity present within the world is a critical step toward
accepting all people as unique contributors and moves us collectively toward a
peaceful and cooperative planet. It is important that maps intended to uncover
the differences between people and provide a meaningful framework for greater
understanding not be misused as a vehicle to judge others.
PersonessenceTM system is a map to understanding the complexities and subtleties
present within the human experience. This system or map is complex enough to
keep you interested for many years if you wish to master its subtleties. To
understand the thousands of possible variations requires proper training and a
course of study. This book, however, describes the basic model and can be
effectively understood with a single reading of the text.
people using the PersonessenceTM System have said unequivocally that there is no
other map to the human personality that is so accurate nor so comprehensive in
its scope and potential.
Some Examples of
PersonessenceTM in Practice
thirty years of private practice working with individuals, groups, families,
couples, management teams and people in crisis, I have been privy to the
healthy and dysfunctional dynamics of human interaction. I have seen the value
and benefit of applying even the smallest bits of information from the system.
The following examples from individual and group level sessions illustrate the
power and focus of this information in directing us through education and self
awareness toward compatibility and workability.
With this goal in mind, I will use some terms from the system that may
seem unfamiliar to you within this context. My intention is to give you a taste
of how a basic understanding of this system and its personal application can
provide you with greater self knowledge, useful in navigating the complexities
and obscurities in the world around us. I will fully explain the various terms
and components of PersonessenceTM system in chapter one.
Couples and Families
three years of law school, a twenty eight year old man was nearly suicidal
after failing to pass the bar exam a third time. Following some discussion
using the PersonessenceTM system as a tool for greater self reflection and
understanding, the man realized that he had actually sabotaged his own efforts
to pass the bar exam because he didn't actually want to be a lawyer. It became
clear that he had been responding to family pressure and would be much more
interested in graphic design, something he spent most of his spare time doing.
Using this system, the man became increasingly self aware and realized that he
was a pragmatic artisan with a need for expression, not the skeptical warrior
with a need for exchange that he had been trying to be.
acute distress a couple reported that they were having great ambivalence about
marrying after being engaged for a year. He was upset because he felt she
wanted to talk about everything and he simply wanted to be quiet together. She
accused him of never wanting to talk. Each thought the other dysfunctional.
Their personalities revealed that he was a rule oriented stoical warrior with
reserve mode while she was a relationship oriented, idealistic, intellectual
sage with a need for exchange. With this understanding, they were able to
observe their differences without judgment, but with a greater degree of
acceptance. Realizing the challenge posed by such different personalities, they
decided not to get married and found great solace in the decision.
In another case, two parents, committed to making the
right decision regarding their eight year old son, argued about whether he was
old enough to attend a two week summer camp in the mountains. Dad felt he
wasn't ready and should perhaps wait until next year. Mom felt that it would do
him a world of good and that he should go. Their son Danny was caught in the
middle wanting to please dad but wanting very badly to go. Danny's personality
revealed that he was naturally growth oriented with a moving center, and power
mode. This suggested that he was an excellent candidate for camp. Dad had
caution mode and was nervous about Danny going. Mom was in observation mode and
had seen that he was ready. After acknowledging his own fears and personality
make-up, Danny's father cautiously agreed to let him go if he agreed to call
every other day. Danny went to camp.
Companies, and Large Organizations
wealthy, accomplished doctor who specialized in hearing loss set up a number of
clinics with several partners with whom he was having great conflict. His partners were success oriented and pushed
for unlimited, rapid expansion. Being relationship-oriented, the doctor was
concerned that service was being compromised. Because he realized the
incompatibility of the two approaches to the business, he decided to buy his
partners out and establish policies more in line with his own true values of
law firm set up teams of three to prepare and litigate small cases. However,
the teams were not working harmoniously and the bickering was taking a toll on
productivity. Each staff member was interviewed, tested and informed about
their particular value set, needs, roles, goals etc. Each team pored over the
results and it became evident why they were not getting along. They were able
to personally suggest changes and after careful consideration management
implemented some of them along with their own. The teams were changed according
to a better balance of personalities. The problem was solved.
large food processing corporation was mystified why they experienced such a
high turnover rate with employees After a study of staff members was done, it
became clear that there was a disconnect between their hiring practices and the
positions needing to be filled. The company was inadvertently hiring for
leaders who were then put into positions where they could not exercise their
leadership abilities. Frustrated, they would leave shortly after the company
had invested in an expensive training program. This left the corporation two
options. Change interviewing practices to hire different personality types or
offer employees more outlets to exhibit leadership skills. After a review the
corporation made some changes in both areas and retention improved
multinational corporation noticed that morale was low in one of their divisions
and chose to address the problem. In that division there were people of various
nationalities with a wide range of dispositions that resulted in some tension.
There was some racial intolerance especially among management there. They
decided to introduce to management a set of training seminars with a focus on
diversity and the personality system. Managers were exposed to information about
differing values, attitudes, needs, reaction centers and so on. Following the
training, there were 2 significant results. First the managers had a new
appreciation for similarities and differences that extended beyond stereotypes
of race, culture and religion that enabled them to communicate more effectively
with their staff. They experienced an expanded world view. Secondly, the managers
realized the need to realign staff with managers of similar values. In this way
tolerance for diversity increased and tension was reduced.
examples illustrate that the PersonessenceTM System is not an arbitrary
collection of personality traits grouped together haphazardly. The traits and
characteristics are arranged according to a deeply meaningful pattern with
profound intent in their arrangement. As you become acquainted with the chart
and the way it works you may begin to appreciate its solid foundation in the
natural world. It is not within the scope of this book to explain the
relationship of the system to mathematical and physical laws of nature yet they
do underlay the entire structure of the chart.
map of personality is based on the number seven. Each aspect of the map is
divided into three sets of pairs and a neutral category, making seven in all.
When clear light shines through a prism, the light breaks into seven colors of
the color spectrum. All seven are derived from the same source, white light,
however they have different frequencies that make them appear distinct. In the
same way, humans come from the same source yet they manifest in distinctly
different ways as exhibited by their varying specialties, talents, and styles
There are seven categories, each with
seven choices. They are as follows:
Archetypal Roles: the seven primary character types
Goals: the seven primary motivations that lead people to seek certain
Attitudes: the seven primary perspectives
Dragons or Obstacles: the seven primary obstacles or fear patterns
Modes: the seven primary methods or styles of approaching a task
Centers: the seven primary ways of reacting or processing information
- Values: the seven primary ways of perceiving what is
important in life
addition to these seven layers there is one additional dimension that adds depth
to our already comprehensive map of personality-the nine needs. This is the
only category that has nine instead of seven aspects.
the perennial favorite game of clue where you are asked to combine elements in
a murder mystery, any one of the seven roles can go with any of the seven
attitudes, or seven modes, or seven goals, or seven obstacles and so on so the
possibilities are practically endless. Yet the different categories are so
simple and intuitive that just by reading the different options you can often
see yourself clearly.