Does your Type change?
Short answer — no.
According to Jung’s theory, our cognitive process preference is innate, somewhat like handedness. However, there are many factors that affect this preference. Dr. Linda Berens explains it thus:
“In the very beginning was our Core Self-the self we were intended to be, the self that is in our Genes, our DNA. (Of course we can never really know what that is for sure until we have more research supporting a DNA basis!
). But as we interacted with the environment, we developed an Adapted Self that may be either more or less consistent with the True Self. We also have a Contextual Self (or Selves) that represents our current behavior. It, too, might be in sync with our Core Selves or it may be quite different. That depends on what the situation at the time requires.” (Excerpted from Validating Type: What is True Type Anyway?)
What this means is that our preference for certain Jungian cognitive processes is innate — our “Core Self”. So all INTJs, at their core, prefer Ni, then Te, then Fi, then Se.
However, over time, we may become influenced by family, friends, community, school, etc., causing us to adapt to the use of less-preferred processes. For example, an INTJ raised by ISTJ parents in an ISTJ community might develop an adapted use of Si. In my own case, I’ve been a corporate trainer for over 30 years and I’ve adapted to using Fe in order to connect more effectively with my students.
The contextual use of less-preferred processes arises based on the needs of the immediate environment. For example, when driving my car in an unfamiliar area, I might draw upon Se to be more alert to road signs and traffic conditions. When engaged in a brainstorming session at work, I might use Ne more that usual. You get the idea…
Another factor that affects our cognitive process use is age. As theorized by Jung, and supported by Dr. Harold Grant’s research, we develop more proficiency with our less-preferred processes as we age. This development can make it seem like our type is changing, but all that’s happening is that we’re getting better at handling other processes. This change in proficiency is often reflected in type assessments, like the MBTI, which is one reason why I rarely use them professionally.
Supposedly, we become reasonably well-balanced in our use of the four conscious processes by about age 50, and spend the rest of our lives getting in touch with the other four “Shadow” processes. Jung called this process “individuation” and said it was the highest goal of human psychological development.
Regardless of all this growth and development, an INTJ will always be an INTJ inside — will always have a preference for Ni, then Te, etc. But there will be a sense of change, noticed both within and by others — that’s one of the fascinating things about studying the human psyche — it’s so dynamic!
So I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying that your type does not change over time — but the way you use your cognitive processes does.