The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Labels and identity

The Process Communication Model is one out of many personality type models. It is one of those I invested myself in becoming a certified trainer and coach. What I appreciate about that model is its focus on communication and how it is based on a behavioral-based approach. Its connection with Transactional Analysis also made it a natural go-to model for me.

However there is something about models like this, that needs our caution. It’s the complexity of human nature being presented in simplistic terms.

I’ve seen it in numerous training and subsequent meetings how it becomes for many an invitation to use labels to describe one another.

Stereotyping is based on the hope to attain clarity. We use stereotypes and categories to have a way to recognize others or group ideas we want a way to relate to. With personality type models it is the quest to ease our understanding of others. In our search for truth, it is a natural reaction, however, it is also a way to leave all the nuances aside. This is just as true when we self-identify when embarking on a journey to greater self-awareness.

Such models serve as an orientation, they provide possible interpretations and give us the means to learn more about ourselves and others.

However, when self-identifying and labeling others, we close us off. The label becomes the definition. It closes our mind that doesn’t see a reason to investigate further. The longer we rely on them, the more they close us off from the very things we want to understand or identify with. They replace our ability to see the uniqueness of the person in front of us.

This is true for any label available, may it be a color, a religion, a nationality, or an organization one belongs to.

The problem lies neither in the label nor in the stereotype. It’s how we use them.

Seeing the uniqueness of the person in front of us or of the situation requires a conscious effort.


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