Which Personality Type Makes the Best Counselors?

best personality type for counselors

Those contemplating pursuing an MS degree in professional counseling may wonder if a career in the counseling field is right for them. 

While the profession attracts those who like to talk to different kinds of people and to help others, there are some additional, specific commonalities when it comes to effective counselors. Indeed, whether you are interested in entering the field of addictions counseling or clinical mental health counseling, if you are a certain type of person, as defined by either a set of personality traits or a specific personality type, you are likely to find it to be a great career choice. 

Personality Traits that Define Effective Counselors

There are several traits of an effective counselor, including (but not necessarily limited to) the following:

Empathy. Effective counselors must be empathetic to put themselves in the shoes of their clients. 
Listening skills. Listening effectively also includes the ability to pick up on non-verbal cues.
Creativity. Because every client’s situation will be different in some way, counselors must be able to come up with solutions that are applicable to the individual and their unique circumstances.
Self-awareness. Counselors need to recognize their own biases, perspectives, and experiences, so as to not project them onto their clients. 
Commitment. When it comes to counseling, patience is a necessity, as most clients usually require long periods of time—sometimes years—to realize breakthroughs and overcome their challenges or addictions.

The Personality Type Best Suited for a Counseling Career 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a self-report inventory designed to identify a person’s personality type. It also identifies their strengths and preferences. By answering a series of questions, people can determine which of 16 personality types best describes them. 

Research has shown that effective counselors fit one specific personality type: Introvertive, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging (INFJ). This research concluded that counselors tend to be quiet and reserved and enjoy learning through observation. They also rely on intuition, are creative, are focused on the future, and value close relationships. They can reach out to clients with tolerance and understanding, and they prefer lifestyles defined by stability, planning, and organization. 

In all, this unique composite picture for counselors applies to less than 2 percent of the population. If it applies to you, you likely will find counseling to be a rewarding career that is a great fit for you!

Get started on the path to a professional counseling career by pursuing an MS in Professional Counseling from Carlow University in Pittsburgh. This accredited program will train you to work with children, adults, and families in a variety of settings, and allow you to tailor your degree by choosing a concentration in addiction counseling, or a clinical concentration such as child and adolescent, trauma-informed, or forensic counseling.