APT Canada


APT Guidelines for Feedback
Distance Guidelines
Voice to Voice
Internet Interpretation


The Ethical Challenge

An awareness of the power of psychological type has dramatically increased the number of professionals administering and interpreting type.  At the same time, advances in communication technology offer open access of type information to the general public.  These trends create a concern for the proper use of type instruments and the accurate and positive interpretation of type  scores.  Reports of misuses of type are growing in number.

The primary mission professional associations such as APT Canada is twofold:

bulletto expand knowledge about psychological type
bulletto support the ethical use of psychological type and type instruments.

APT Canada encourages all professionals to become familiar with and to practice ethical principles in the various applications of type theory.

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Reminders & Guidelines

bulletAPT Guidelines for Administering and Giving Feedback on Psychological Type Instruments.
bulletSummary Reminders for Distance Interpretations
bulletVoice to Voice,
bulletImage to Image, 
bulletEmail to Email

Reminders For Professionals


About the Effective and Ethical Use of Type


Additional Points for the Effective and Ethical Use of Type in Groups and Workshops

bulletWhere to Turn With Your Ethical Concerns

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Reminders for Professionals

bulletAdditional Resources
Accurately represent your competence and expertise to clients.
bulletBe sure you are professionally qualified before using any psychological instrument.
bulletParticipate in conferences, workshops and networking with colleagues to keep your knowledge of psychological type theory, applications and research up-to-date.  Be aware of new materials related to psychological type, especially in your area of expertise.
bulletHonor copyright laws; do not reproduce copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright holder.
bulletBe aware of and adhere to federal and state laws governing the conduct of professionals using psychological instruments.
bulletBe responsible to educate others who misuse type.
bulletIf you make reference to the MBTIÒ instrument be sure to use the trademark Ò and use the term MBTIÒ only as an adjective (MBTIÒ instrument) or adverb (MBTIÒ qualified), not alone.

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Reminders About The Effective and Ethical Use of Type

bulletProvide face to face interpretation and time in workshops to answer individual questions.
bulletBe sure to present the type preferences and types as describing preferred patterns of behaviour, rather than fixed "trait like" behaviours
bulletBe sure to remind the individual receiving type feedback that he or she is the expert - only the individual can verify which type fits best.
bulletPresent type as a working "hypothesis" allowing for deeper and richer exploration of self and others.
bulletExplain that type is not "pigeon holing", because individual types are complex, dynamic and capable of unique patterns of behaviour and development.
bulletWhen using career related data, such as type tables, stress that type theory has no implications for competence, capability or performance in a career path, but is excellent for examining career interest tendencies and choices.
bulletWhen sharing type data, be sure to distinguish between research and anecdotal evidence.
bulletBe sure to provide materials for further study.
bulletEmphasize and illustrate the dangers of oversimplifying or misusing type theory.

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Additional Points for Effective and Ethical Use of Type in Groups and Workshops

bulletBe sure participants know that taking a psychological type instrument is voluntary.
bulletCommunicate and make certain that all individual type results are the property of the individual to be shared or not as that person chooses.
bulletProvide supporting materials that describe all 16 types and basic information about psychological type for participants to take.
bulletDescribe preferences and present type descriptions prior to sharing results to allow for individual self-assessment of their preferences.
bulletUse language that says "Your preferences..." rather than "You are..."
bulletInform the participants that preference scores do not imply excellence, competence, or ability but are an indication of consistency in "voting" for the preferences when they filled out the inventory.
bulletRemind the participants that they are the final judges of their best-fit type.  This may not be the same as the reported type they receive as results from an inventory.
bulletProvide time and opportunity for individual questions about type results.
bulletBe aware of your own type biases and how these might influence your communication of type information.

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Where to Turn With Your Ethical Concerns

If you have concerns about the ethical use of type,


call APT Headquarters at (847) 375-4717 for the phone number of the current Chair of the APT Ethics Committee.

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Additional Resources

The following articles are provided to further clarify the ethical use of psychological type instruments.

bulletAPA Ethical Principles Sections 3, 4, & 9
bulletPerson-to-Person by Roger R. Pearman, APT Bulletin of Psychological Type, Early Spring 2002.
bullet“Person-To-Person” Interpretation Is New Minimum Standard by Ray Zeisset, APT Bulletin of Psychological Type, Late Autumn 2002
bulletThrowing the Baby Out With the Bathwater by Roger R. Pearman, APT Bulletin of Psychological Type, Winter, 2003.

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Last updated: January 28, 2005.