Life produces some difficulties! Having a better understanding of ourselves helps us learn how to cope with many kinds of issues, circumstances, and setbacks. This includes interpersonal (with others) and intrapersonal (the self).
Temperament Therapy is treatment based on the theory that individuals have an inborn character with strengths and weaknesses. This temperament will remain with us throughout our lives; but how we express, or do not express this temperament, can be affected by the following:
- Our upbringing (how we were raised as children)
- Our environment
- Our knowledge & understanding of ourselves
This nature, and how we were nurtured, determines our perception and understanding of ourselves and of the people we interact with. This encompasses our spouse, family members, co-workers, and even the casual encounters within our community.
Sometimes A Mask
Sometimes a person can learn or select behavior that is very different from their inborn temperament; this "mask" hides the true temperament. As a result this person's temperament needs are not met, and he/she feels stress and conflict.
Every person is unique and has different temperament needs. When we attempt to get these needs met apart from our relationship with God, we have conflict in our lives. These conflicts are caused by:
- Trying to get our needs met apart from God's plan for our lives.
- Not getting certain needs met because we are spending all our energy meeting some needs while ignoring others.
- Reacting in a negative (angry, frustrated) way to unmet temperament needs.
Strengths and Growth Areas
Every temperament has strengths and growth areas (might we say, "weaknesses?"). The description of your temperament is revealed by taking a temperament analysis that consists of simple, yet probing questions about yourself. Knowing your temperament does not mean that you personally manifest these strengths and weaknesses in your individual, unique life each day. However, it does reveal to you some of the areas of strengths that can be encouraged and implemented, as well as some areas that you need to be aware of and further grow. Knowing and understanding your temperament will aid you in understanding "why I'm like this."
Three Areas of Temperament
The three areas of temperament are as follows:
1. Inclusion: the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship with people in the area of surface relationships, associations and socialization (parties, social gatherings, and people who come in and out of our lives every day).
- How many people do I approach for socializing?
- How many people do I want to approach me for socializing?
2. Control: the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship with people in respect to issues of control and power.
- How many people do I want to control?
- How many people will I allow to control me?
3. Affection: the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship with others in regard to love and affection (deep one-on-one relationships such as spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends, parents, children, and trusted friends).
- How much love and affection do I express to others?
- How much love and affection do I want expressed to me?
Things To Remember
As you learn your temperament, it is critical to remember that this is a general diagnosis and not a specific interpretation of your life or behavior. Attending therapeutic sessions is valuable because it will help you discover the strengths you may develop as well as the growth areas you may resist. It will also reveal unmet needs that can cause stress and conflict in your life and your relationships with others. It is difficult to consider possible weaknesses in our lives; however, if we are open to change, understanding these areas can enhance our lives. We are better able to resolve conflicts, improve our relationships with loved ones (and ourselves!), deal with troubling events, and even help guide us into particular career fields.