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To understand the ISFP’s development, we have to understand the hierarchy of mental functions for the ISFP. The hierarchy of mental functions for the ISFP is about which mental function (Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking or Feeling) the ISFP is most comfortable with using and which they are least comfortable in using.
Without going too much into Type dynamics, let’s look at the ISFP’s hierarchy of mental functions:
The ISFP will develop the Dominant Function Introverted Feeling first and then Inferior Function Extraverted Thinking last.
DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED FEELING
As a child, ISFPs will develop Introverted Feeling. They will be sensitive to the emotional climate of the home and will be affected if there are conflicts or quarrels.
They may perform acts of services at home and in the classroom to seek approval and encouragement from their teachers, peers or parents. They are also more expressive with their emotions and will laugh or cry more easily than their Thinking counterparts.
If this function has not been nurtured or developed, they may be caught up in present realities so much so that they do not know how to make an effective decision.
DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRAVERTED SENSING
During puberty, the ISFP will start developing the auxiliary function, Extraverted Sensing. They become extremely observant of their surroundings, noticing small details in colour, shape, smell, taste and more.
They will also prefer doing activities and playing games as compared to reading and listening in the classroom, which they will most likely be restless in. They may do very well in subjects that require the use of their hands and may struggle subjects dealing with abstract theory.
If their development of this function is not supported, they may not know how to gather data from the external world to make a well-informed decision.
Assuming the environment is supportive of their, most ISFPs would have developed Extraverted Sensing and Introverted Feeling by 20 years or so.
Their areas of improvement will most likely come from the underdeveloped sides of Extraverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition. Below are some suggestions for improvement:
DEVELOPMENT OF INTROVERTED INTUITION
If these behaviours are not trained by the age of 30, the ISFP will feel the tension to continue growing, firstly to start developing the Tertiary Function, Introverted Intuition. They may begin to be more comfortable with abstract language and the use of concepts and abstract ideas in their work and everyday living. They may also start considering long-term goals in their pursuits.
Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Introverted Intuition function:
DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRAVERTED THINKING
From midlife onward, the ISFP’s focus turns toward the inferior function, Extraverted Thinking. Their underdeveloped Extraverted Thinking comes out in a childish and undeveloped way when they are under stress, and they may question their competence or become extremely critical or sarcastic toward others.
But in midlife, there is an unconscious shift and desire to develop that inferior function to achieve wholeness and continual growth. It is an uncomfortable but necessary transition.
Here are some simple exercises to consciously develop the Extraverted Thinking function: