Theories: Yours & Mine (Intro)

February 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Let’s make a deal. If you write a theory of personality, I’ll write one too. They don’t have to be perfect; just an expression of our thoughts. They don’t have to be created from scratch. We can incorporate other people’s ideas. And they don’t have to be permanent. We can change them when needed.


Your Theory of Personality

Your theory will be completely up to you. It can be as detailed or as short as you wish. You could state your theory in one sentence: “I agree with Freud on everything.” But if you are going to give all of the theories consideration, I doubt short would do the job. As a guideline, I suggest you treat it as if it were a class project and aim for 10-15 pages.

Since writing your theory can be a major undertaking, here are some suggestions to help guide your effort. As much as possible, a theory should be clear. Clarity doesn’t make the theory itself good but it helps other people understand what you mean. They may not agree but at least you and they will know why. Second, I generally assume that fewer assumptions the better. Every theory makes assumptions but if you have a choice, try to use as few as possible. Combining these two ideas together, being clear about your assumptions will go a long way in achieving your goal. Read more

Tangen’s Theory Of Personality

February 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Part 1

Having given you some ideas of what should be included in your theory of personality, it seems only fair for me to propose my version. This is my theory as of June 4, 2008. It is subject to change without notice.


I think of personality as a summary of what we know about people. So let me start with my top two basic principles: (a) people have a tremendous capacity to change, and (b) they seldom do. Read more

Tangen’s Theory (con’t)

February 2, 2009 by · 2 Comments 


Counseling is simply the application of personality theory to specific problems. It is the practical side of personality theory, and it comes down to three questions: (a) why are people the way they are; (b) can people change; and (c) how do they change? Read more