The Dynamics of Personality:
Three Lenses, One Approach
By Melissa Brunner
Most of us go through our day without pondering “why” we do things in our unique way, much less why others do things certain ways. However, we are usually quick to get our feathers ruffled when something goes wrong in our interactions with others. You see, at times, we all suffer from one or both syndromes: BLM and BLT.

BLM stands for Be Like Me. It’s when we expect other people to be like us and when they aren’t, we often label them as crazy, lazy, wrong, bad, weird, etc. When we are caught up in BLM, we are playing the blame game, where others who do not function like us are to blame when things go south. How does this affect our colleagues, team dynamics, and other important relationships? How does it affect our stress level and that of others?

BLT stands for Be Like Them. This is when we feel as though we aren’t good enough the way we are, thinking we must be more like someone else. BLT is about the self-blame game. We may find ourselves often adopting other cognitive processes, interaction styles, or needs that aren’t natural to our core self. How does this affect our ability to thrive and use our natural “flow state” in our work if we don’t value who we are?

So how do we become more aware of being in the grips of BLM or BLT? The answer is: A better understanding of ourselves and others . In what ways do we process information differently than others? What ways are those processes the same? What are the core motivators that drive us? Is the way in which we interact with others effective? What are the gifts that each of us brings to the table? How can we value those gifts in one another? Learning the answers to these questions is how effective teamwork and relationships can be a catalyst for improvement. 

Over the years, SRCAC’s most requested trainings have centered around working with “teams.” Whether they be multi-disciplinary teams, CAC teams, or teams of board members. As we all know, teams are made up of unique personalities who, despite our best efforts, at times can get sideways in the sandbox, so to speak. When this happens, it can affect our productivity in this all-important work of helping children, whether that be directly or indirectly.

Learning about the three lenses through which we see ourselves and others can create more self-awareness, agility, increased use of strengths, self-leadership, decreased stress, and a new appreciation for the personality patterns of ourselves and others. Each of these lenses—Essential Motivators, Interaction Styles, and Cognitive Dynamics—reveals important information that we have most likely not had a language to express.

When we interpret situations through these three lenses, we are employing the InterStrength Approach (see graphic below). Developed by Dr. Linda Berens, the InterStrength Approach integrates an understanding of our Essential Motivators with how we are inclined to express those needs through our Interaction Style to arrive at 16 personality type patterns. Each pattern can then be understood in terms of our habitual Cognitive Dynamics , so we can get a more complete picture of how we have always been, who we are now, and where we can develop further. For questions about individual or team development training using these lenses, contact me at . For further research on these integrated models: Click here .

Used by permission of The InterStrength Group

Other research on this topic:

Dario Nardi, Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People (Cheyenne, WY: Radiance House, 2011).

Melissa Brunner has been a Regional Training Specialist with SRCAC for four years and has worked in various positions within the field of Child Advocacy Centers for over 20 years. She is certified as a trainer in Cognitive Dynamics, Interaction Styles, and Essential Motivators through InterStrength.

Contact Melissa at
November 13-15, 2018
Huntsville, Alabama

$49 per person
Deadline to register is October 30th
*Space is limited*
Travel assistance is available to CAC staff located within the Southern Regional.
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Spotlight is a newsletter prepared by Southern Regional CAC that focuses on current topics, ideas, trainings, and conferences which are designed to further the knowledge and practice of CAC professionals within the region. We hope you find the information helpful! Let us know if you have specific topics you’d like to see in future newsletters.
This publication is funded through grant #2016-CI-FX-K002 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components, operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this publication (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).
Southern Regional CAC | #justtryingtohelpsomekids | Vol. 1 No. 8: October 2018