When Jung originated the conceptual framework of psychological type, he did so in terms of the function-attitudes. Briggs and Myers simplified the “public face” of the model, but at the same time, they also expanded its scope. Beginning in the 1980s, analytical psychologist John Beebe began to reconcile the two frames. This enabled him to expand the model to encompass the entire territory of personality, including the part of us that is not conscious. He also formally added a dimension that speaks to the energy dynamics of the psyche. This is something that had been written about extensively by Jung and by Jungians, many of whom related it to typology. By completely integrating this aspect of personality into the framework of type, Beebe enabled the model to encompass not only the cognitive modes of the function-attitudes, but also the emotional energies that we associate with them.

These energies are most easily understood in terms of the allegorical, “archetypal” images through which they are perceived by the conscious mind. Archetypes are the familiar energy patterns of human existence. The nurturing Earth Mother, the Sacred Circle as a representation of wholeness, the courageous Hero or Heroine who carries the day, and the terrifying Shadow of our animal nature are common archetypal images. Through the course of our evolution, we have gained an internal awareness of these recurring themes; which enables us to understand more about the context and implications of current situations; and thus adds to our ability to adapt and survive. Archetypes express the basic truths of human nature, our relationships, and our world.

Our awareness of archetypal templates is carried unconsciously; and it is because the unconscious mind does not have the ability to use logic or language, that they must be expressed through association-rich images. We usually notice such messages from the unconscious only when our conscious mind’s control has been relaxed: through meditation, when we are dreaming, or when we are “worn down” by stressors such as fatigue, drugs, or illness. The creative geniuses among us have learned to reach “outside the box” of their conscious minds. They have developed a higher than usual ability to tap into the information available from the unconscious. Thus, archetypal imagery is often found in the best visual art, music, prose, and poetry; as well as in the “visions” of mystics and shamans, and in cultural mythologies. By searching such sources across all cultures, it is easy to spot the universal archetypal images.

The hierarchical nature of our preference for engaging certain function-attitudes over others creates patterns of dynamic relationships—of attraction and opposition—within the psychic system. And these internal dynamics appear to attract corresponding archetypal energies. Our most preferred and comfortable—and therefore usually our most conscious and developed—function-attitude, our “dominant,” #1 in the hierarchy, for example, operates as the “hero” or “heroine” of our personality. The other function-attitude that is normally highly developed, our “auxiliary” #2, is our principal mode for supporting and supplementing the dominant; so it fills a parental role, as “mother” or “father.” In fact, for any given personality, each of the function-attitudes is like an actor, bringing its unique talents and skills to a specific role within our personal drama that is determined by its place in the internal dynamics of the personality.