Understanding John Beebe's 8 Function Model: A Comprehensive Guide

The John Beebe 8 Function Model has been around for years, but many people still don't understand it.

This article will explain the eight function model developed by Jungian analyst John Beebe in detail. Beebe is an ENTP, and a past president of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

The first step is to know about all eight functions of consciousness and how they work together to create meaning and understanding on both an individual and collective level.

Understanding each function will help you better understand yourself, as well as those around you!

Function Stacks

I've gone over the primary functions (dominant function, auxiliary function, tertiary function, and inferior function) before, as well as covered the shadow functions, but here's a quick recap:

Primary Functions

Primary cognitive functions are the ones that nearly anyone who has an interest in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator), personality psychology, typology, or Jungian depth psychology is most familiar with.

There are four primary functions, and depending on which one is the dominant function, the auxiliary function, the tertiary function, or the inferior function, you get one of the 16 known personality types.

In our function stack, these are the first four functions.

Shadow Functions

A shadow function is concerned with unconscious processes such as feelings and intuitions rather than logical decisions based on facts like those dealt by our other cognitive functions (eg.: Thinking & Feeling).

Aspects of these deeper aspects of one's psyche may not even be known in order for them to come out into consciousness which means they may remain hidden from what we consciously think about ourselves therefore making an individual unaware when they might need to do some introspective work.

In our function stack, these are the last four functions.

Beyond The 4 Letters of Personality Type

This is something that those most familiar with the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) usually aren't aware of.

This is because the 16personalities test, for example, is inherently flawed.

Going deeper into the Depth Psychology and Typology function model, it becomes clear that what drives our psyche, ego (conscious self), and shadow (unconscious self) is dependent on the hierarchy of the 8 cognitive functions.

An INFJ has introverted intuition (Ni) as their dominant function (hero), but so does an INTJ.

Whereas an INFJ has introverted thinking (Ti) as their tertiary function (eternal child), but an INTJ has that same Ti function as their critical parent.

The position of these 8 cognitive functions in our function stack greatly impacts how we observe the world, assess the world, operate in it, and our mental processes.

Beebe's Eight Function Model

Because I am an INFJ (based on the position of my Jungian functions), I'll use my own function stack as the example going forward.

My full function stack is:

  • Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Extraverted Sensing (Se)
  • Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  • Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  • Introverted Sensing (Si)

John Beebe's eight function model assigns 'characters', or archetypes to all of these, resulting in eight archetypes.

All of these characters have their own needs and behaviors and, depending on their position, are used either in development of self & identity, or when interacting with others.

Thinking of these archetypes as characters in a story will also help in understanding each of their roles.

The Archetypes

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My full function stack, with the John Beebe 8 Function Model

Primary functions: (ego / conscious)

  1. Hero: Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  2. Parent: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)
  3. Eternal child: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  4. Inferior: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Shadow functions: (shadow / unconscious)

  1. Opposing personality: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)
  2. Witch/Senex (or Critical Parent) : Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  3. Trickster: Extraverted Thinking (Te)
  4. Demon: Introverted Sensing (Si)

Shadow Types

Keen observers of my shadow function stack can spot that this is also the Primary function stack of the ENFP.

In turn, an ENFP's shadow function stack is the INFJs' primary function stack.

In other words, this also means that an extroverted INFJ doesn't simply turn ENFJ.

I hope that this article has helped you come to a deeper understanding of the John Beebe's eight function model, and how it impacts your personality (and others).

Additional Resources

  • jjjj says:

    You haven’t said anything beyond a basic knowledge of mbti, I think you want to tell everyone you are an infj which means you have typed yourself incorrect. Infj’s would rather they were not infjs because healthy infjs have the wisdom to understand that they are a bit out on a limb and know when to have the humility to not sit on the tree branch but to anchor themselves on the trunk of the truth of all humanity’s contributions, gifts and talents.

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