The Counselor Infj
Profile of the INFJ Personality Type
INFJ in a Nutshell
INFJs are creative nurturers with a strong sense of personal integrity and a drive to help others realize their potential. Creative and dedicated, they have a talent for helping others with original solutions to their personal challenges.
The Counselor has a unique ability to intuit others' emotions and motivations, and will often know how someone else is feeling before that person knows it himself. They trust their insights about others and have strong faith in their ability to read people. Although they are sensitive, they are also reserved; the INFJ is a private sort, and is selective about sharing intimate thoughts and feelings.
What Makes the INFJ Tick
INFJs are guided by a deeply considered set of personal values. They are intensely idealistic, and can clearly imagine a happier and more perfect future. They can become discouraged by the harsh realities of the present, but they are typically motivated and persistent in taking positive action nonetheless. The INFJ feels an intrinsic drive to do what they can to make the world a better place.
INFJs want a meaningful life and deep connections with other people. They do not tend to share themselves freely but appreciate emotional intimacy with a select, committed few. Although their rich inner life can sometimes make them seem mysterious or private to others, they profoundly value authentic connections with people they trust.
Recognizing an INFJ
INFJs often appear quiet, caring and sensitive, and may be found listening attentively to someone else’s ideas or concerns. They are highly perceptive about people and want to help others achieve understanding. INFJs are not afraid of complex personal problems; in fact, they are quite complex themselves, and have a rich inner life that few are privy to. They reflect at length on issues of ethics, and feel things deeply. Because Counselors initially appear so gentle and reserved, they may surprise others with their intensity when one of their values is threatened or called into question. Their calm exterior belies the complexity of their inner worlds.
Because INFJs are such complex people, they may be reluctant to engage with others who might not understand or appreciate them, and can thus be hard to get to know. Although they want to get along with others and support them in their goals, they are fiercely loyal to their own system of values and will not follow others down a path that does not feel authentic to them. When they sense that their values are not being respected, or when their intuition tells them that someone’s intentions are not pure, they are likely to withdraw.
Famous INFJs include Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Emily Bronte, Carl Jung, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Florence Nightingale, Shirley MacLaine, Jimmy Carter, and Edward Snowden.
Popular hobbies for the INFJ include writing, art appreciation, cultural events, reading, socializing in small, intimate settings, and playing or listening to music.
What the Experts Say
"The visions of the INFJs tend to concern human welfare, and their contributions are likely to be made independent of a mass movement."
- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
"These seclusive and friendly people are complicated themselves, and so can understand and deal with complex ethical issues and with deeply troubled individuals."
- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
"INFJs' nonstop search for learning, self-growth, and development—and wishing the same for everyone else—makes them very reassuring to others and people worth emulating."
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work
Research on INFJ
Interesting facts about the INFJ:
- Least common type in the population
- On personality trait scales, scored as Sincere, Sympathetic, Unassuming, Submissive, Easygoing, Reserved and Patient
- Among highest of all types in college GPA
- Among most likely to stay in college
- Most likely of all types to cope with stress by seeing a therapist
- Highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction
- Personal values include Spirituality, Learning, and Community Service
- Commonly found in careers in religion, counseling, teaching, and the arts
Work Style and Top Careers for the INFJ
INFJ at Work
At work, the INFJ is focused on the task of bettering the human condition. INFJs are dedicated, helpful, and principled workers who can be relied on to envision, plan, and carry out complex projects for humanitarian causes.
Although they are typically driven by lofty ideals, Counselors gain the most satisfaction from their work when they can turn their ideas into reality, creating constructive change for other people.
INFJs are typically organized and prefer work that allows them to complete projects in an orderly manner. They are often independent and tend to prefer a quiet environment that allows them the opportunity to fully develop their own thoughts and ideas.
The ideal work environment for an INFJ is harmonious, industrious, and oriented to a humanitarian mission, with co-workers who are similarly committed to positive change. The ideal JOB for a Counselor allows them to use their creativity in an independent, organized environment to develop and implement a vision that is consistent with their personal values.
INFJs as Leaders
In leadership positions, INFJs motivate others by sharing a positive vision. Counselor leaders are often quiet and unassuming, but win other's dedication through their own hard work, strong principles, and inspiring ideas. They are at their best when guiding a team to commit to a common vision, and when creating organizational goals to benefit people. They are insightful and creative, and bring a sense of confidence and commitment to projects they believe in.
Because INFJ leaders are often motivated by personal values, they do best in organizations with a mission consistent with these values. Their challenge is to keep their ideas and initiatives realistic, and to consider practicalities as they plan for change.
INFJs on a Team
INFJs are creative solvers of people problems, and bring innovative ideas for fostering human potential. They are usually perceptive in observing the talents of others, and good at encouraging teammates to contribute their skills. They are mindful of group process, listening attentively to the opinions of others and synthesizing varied priorities to create a unified vision. Because they prefer to accommodate all points of view, Counselors may have trouble on very competitive or conflictual teams.
On a team, the INFJ acts as a source of quiet inspiration and vision, and provides clarity of purpose to the group. INFJs seek meaning and truth, and will reflect on ideas to create a deeper understanding. Although they don’t often call attention to themselves, they can provide insight into the ethical and humanitarian issues at hand, and can often elegantly articulate the group’s mission. Counselors work best on a supportive team where they can consider issues of ethics and values and act with integrity. Teams which move to act quickly without taking time to reflect may alienate the INFJ.
Popular Careers for the INFJ
The top driver for INFJs in choosing a career is the opportunity to do something that is consistent with their values. Often, INFJs choose careers in helping professions like health care, education, or counseling. INFJs are thinkers by nature and appreciate careers that allow them to use their intellect on problems that interest them. Often, these are people problems, for instance in psychology, but INFJs can also be found in other areas of the sciences and even engineering.
Many INFJs have a creative streak which can be seen in the top INFJ career trends. Working with language is especially popular for INFJs, but they can also be found in various fields in the arts.
Top career choices for INFJs include:
Health care careers are a wonderful opportunity for INFJs to combine their deep caring for the welfare of other people with their often formidable intellectual capabilities. Many INFJs enjoy the sciences and find it extremely satisfying to put their scientific knowledge to use in helping others. Sample health care careers for INFJs include:
- Physical Therapist
- Public Health Educator
- Family Physician
- Occupational Therapist
- Physician Assistant
- Massage Therapist
- Medical Researcher
Counseling and Social Service
INFJs are typically wonderful listeners and deep, insightful thinkers when it comes to personal problems. They have a high degree of intuition about people and a deep well of patience in dealing with sticky emotional situations. All of these qualities make them talented, compassionate counselors, social servicepeople, and religious workers. Sample counseling and social service careers for INFJs include:
INFJs often enjoy the intellectual challenge of the sciences, and can be found in scientific careers that relate to their values. Sample science careers for INFJs include:
Business & Law
INFJs are often found making the business world a little more human, in HR, training, or the more humanitarian professions within the law. Sample careers for INFJs in the business and legal fields include:
Although teaching in front of a classroom is a typically Extraverted activity and can be a challenge for more Introverted INFJs, they often find it deeply satisfying to help children and adults grow and develop. Education careers that involve working with smaller groups, or one-on-one, are an especially good fit. Sample education careers for INFJs include:
Language and Arts
Many INFJs love the expressive quality of language, and they typically have the focus and concentration necessary to be excellent writers and editors. Other areas of the arts appeal as well. Sample artistic careers for INFJs include:
Least Popular Careers for INFJs
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the INFJ, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to this type. Occupations that require the INFJ to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to Counselors who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among INFJs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
The INFJ Personality Type in Relationships
INFJ Communication Style
INFJs are reserved about communication, and often keep their most treasured ideas and insights private. They are oriented to values and connection, and will search for meaning in the information they take in. They think deeply and often need time to process and evaluate before they are ready to share their ideas. They seek validation and will take the time to appreciate others and their ideas. They are often talented at making connections to bring people together and integrate ideas, values, and human potential.
INFJs as Partners
In relationships, the INFJ is supportive and guided by a sense of integrity. The INFJ's interest in human development applies to their mates as well, and they are encouraging of their partner's dreams, aspirations, and achievements.
INFJs want to maintain harmony in their relationships and are highly motivated to resolve conflicts. They tend to be creative problem-solvers and look for the emotional core of an issue to create a meeting of the minds. Although they desire cooperation, they are not willing to go along with an idea that does not feel authentic to them. When it comes to their core values and ethics, they are unwilling to compromise.
INFJs want a high degree of intimacy and emotional engagement, and are happiest when they feel they are sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with their mates. INFJs value a partner who respects their deeply held values and ethics, and one who appreciates their creativity and inspiration.
INFJs as Parents
As parents, INFJs are devoted and loving. They tend to form strong bonds with their children and are very closely tuned in to their emotional states. Counselor parents naturally see the possibilities in their children and encourage them to develop their potential.
Although they support their children in their individual interests, INFJ parents are firm disciplinarians, particularly when it comes to moral or ethical concerns. They are concerned with their children's emotional health and spiritual development, and want to create a nurturing atmosphere that promotes growth and well-being.