INFP self therapy

October 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm (INFP, Psychology, Stress)

[It is a long time since I last wrote on this blog. This means that I was either too busy or simply happy. It is in the dark times that I write the most – not only on the blog, but also in my personal diary.]

I want to share the method that I consider the most useful in improving an INFP’s state of mind. It probably applies to all MBTI types and mostly to all introvert types.

Those that have a good knowledge of psychotherapy will probably tell me that what I present here is basically cognitive therapy. However, I want to present how this works for me as an INFP and as something that anyone can apply alone without any knowledge of psychotherapy.

When I was in college I learned about the Ego Defense Mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is ‘rationalization’. A description of this mechanism sounds like this: supplying a logical or rational reason as opposed to the real reason. And here is an example (taken from a website): stating that you were fired because you didn’t kiss up the the boss, when the real reason was your poor performance.

As a defense mechanism, rationalization is kind of unconsciously lying to oneself. However, I think that knowing about this defense mechanism is good because it makes as realize that our state of mind is a direct consequence of what we think.

I will give you some examples of situations when I had to consciously rationalize things in order to lift my mood up.

But before that I just want to say that sometimes outside life seems to me like a trap. It can make us want things that we don’t actually want.

Example 1.

A few years ago I bought a car. Before buying it I have analyzed more options. I have made a written comparison of all the models that I thought about buying and finally made up my mind. From time to time it happens that I get buyer’s remorse. I think that maybe I should have bought another model. What I have found that works in this situations is for me to go home and review the written comparison that had made when I bought the car. Reminds me exactly of all the reasons for which I didn’t buy the other models and why I bought the one that I have. No more buying remorse for me.

Example 2.

I am almost 30 years old but I don’t feel settled yet on a career path. In the past I have quit one college before graduating another one, I have worked in more than one work field but every time I found myself changing jobs and fields. Sometimes, when I meet some of my friends that are doing good in their careers I feel kind of bad about myself. But if I take the time to think about my personal history and all the decisions that I took and the reasons that I had, I actually feel kind of good of myself because I understand that I have come such a long way in getting closer to what I really want my life to be like. [As someone commented on a previous post, most people that seem a lot better off, that seem to have an easy way finding what they want and having an 8 to 5 job, usually encounter a crisis later in life.]

Example 3.

Sometime I feel low without realizing what the reason is. Many times, after doing a bit of introspection – usually in writing -, I realize that it has to do with a future event that stresses me or with a lack of money in the near future. Most of the times I manage to find a way to rationalize things so that the next moment I can feel good about myself, sometimes even great. As a note: recently had such stress about a future event. When doing my introspection I realized that I didn’t actually need to take part in it. I simply canceled my participation. I know that for many people such situations are obvious and they have no such problems, but I find myself sometimes in this kind of situations – and I think that this goes for other INFPs too. It is like I am acting disconnected from my inner self or as if outer life is full of traps for the INFPs.


Important final note: sometimes we might even ‘lie’ to ourselves. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if the explanation that I attach to something is right or wrong as long as it helps me keep my life on the right track!



  1. messytruth said,

    Thank you!

  2. Thomas said,

    I like to hint to you a more recent view on defence mechanisms. Wonderfull book: illusions by Ingeborg Bosh. Not available in english, but her previous one on the same topic is.–dvd

    • Thomas said,

      called: Rediscovering The True Self

  3. Dewey said,

    Wow. Everything on this blog is identical to my life. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Very similar to your second example, I have quite several jobs, gone to several schools, and never found satisfaction. I keep thinking I’m getting closer, and sometime regret not having “figured it out” in school, before I got started at my current company, since I think I could have done it better, before I got stuck in a place I don’t feel is right for me. However, I get the feeling now that no matter what I choose, I would have felt that way. On the other hand, maybe I just haven’t found it yet.

    I see how people here, who I knew when we all started (been here 8 years – wow!) have changed, especially those who took on management roles. I got the chance to work closely with a once significant other who works here with me, and I was very surprised to see how much her personality seems to have warped to fit her new job. I can’t understand how people just shift to augment their work personality like that. I always thought my unwillingness to do that was because of my upbringing by a single parent and subsequent rebellious nature. Now I’m starting to see that the INFP is like that more or less, no matter their background. I think it must be because of our generally not being moved by what moves the rest of the world, as far as definitions of success go.

    I feel bad that I apparently didn’t do whatever should have been done to get a role in management for myself, yet I somehow also know instinctively that I wouldn’t be happy, and would likely feel overloaded by the job. I wish I could do it…but I know it’s not right for me, and that I would soon start to feel burned out. I wish I could be that way. It’s very disheartening to me, since I have a need for security that I can’t seem to find in the world, at least as far as getting to the “upper levels” of the business world. At first I thought I was lazy. Now I know it’s just not who I am. But the question remains – can I be successful as far as the world’s definition, but while doing something that moves me as an INFP?

    Are there any INFPs out there who feel their careers are very rewarding, even if they’re not “traditional” work-at-a-company-forever type careers?
    Somebody please help!

    • infpidealist said,

      Dear Dewey,
      It’s been around five years since I posted this blog entry. I can tell you that at the moment I am doing fine in my career. I am working as a trainer/teacher but not in a traditional surrounding. We have more freedom in choosing our methods and design our lessons. Money are not a lot, but I have found out a long time ago that, as long as I have enough to get by, money are not important to me. What I want to say is that because I believe in the purpose of my work I can manage to deal with mundane tasks that would have made me quit my job in the past.
      Hope this helps.

  4. board free games said,

    Everyone loves it whenever people come together
    and share ideas. Great website,
    keep it up!

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