Our approach to counselling can be categorized as positive psychology — it is committed to a scientific analysis of personality psychology from neurons to narratives, from biochemistry to literary biography. The study of human traits goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks who used the four bodily humors -- air, black bile, blood and yellow bile to explain personality. Personality traits have since been transformed into OCEAN — Opennes, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism by modern day psychologists.
To get an idea of the genetic basis of these traits, check out the blog post: My Genes Made Me Do It -- personality traits and the subsequent blog on neurotransmitters. Information on the measurement of these personality traits can be found at - The Big Five - and an online questionnaire on the IPIP - NEO website (take the short version) can provide you with your own personality score and more information about these traits.
The concept around the counselling (one of us, SK, is a registered clinical psychologist) is to find whether you have gotten yourself into a role where your basic personality traits do not make a good fit with your present life. The work of Professor Brian Little is a good place to start thinking about your life -- your 'personal constructs' and your 'core projects'.
Brian Little, who describes himself as an extreme introvert, provides the framework for thinking about the implications of personality psychology. He has worked in this field and has written a book entitled: "Me, Myself, and Us" and provides mini-questionaries that facilitate self-exploration of ourselves and other selves (for a book review, click here). He examines the biogenic, sociogenic and idiogenic factors that contribute to who we are. He illustrates how we function on a day-to-day basis using our personal constructs and following our ‘core projects’. We create a confederation of ‘mini-selves’ in our interactions with our spouse, our work colleagues. our children, our parents. Below are two excerpts from his last chapter:
Save the Last Dance for Me