Integrating the "Four Sides of the Mind"

John Beebe is a Jungian analyst who is well known for his Four Sides of the Mind theory and his advocacy for integrating all eight function-attitudes into the idea of personality type. Since we are part of the movement to take typology out of its inherent boxiness and into a more fluid paradigm, we believe his theories are important. The Four Sides of the Mind theory takes the idea that a person has one best fit type and expands it to four possible types that one could act out within that one type. Thanks to CS Joseph, this theory seems to have captured the imagination of many people.

For the last seven years, my thought partner Doric Olson and I have been observing ourselves, others we know, and people in our classes to find out how people tend to integrate all 8 of the Jungian function-attitudes. We believe everyone actually has the potential for all types within them, but that potential starts from a home base that we call our best fit type. The Four Sides of the Mind theory is a good start on the idea of a more polyphonic self. In this article, I'll attempt to expand that polyphony by adding Four Paths of Integration to the Four Sides of the Mind.  First, let's look at the Four Sides of the Mind. As an example, we'll use my INFP type.

As a side note, it's really tough to decently define each function-attitude with one to three words. If you want a really detailed description of each function-attitude go here.

Side 1

Beebe calls the first side of my mind the Ego because this is the side of my mind that I most identify with as "me" and that I tend to be most conscious of.  Of course, there's much more to me than just this one side. From most conscious to least conscious function-attitude, the first side of the mind looks like this for an INFP:

  1. Introverted Feeling (authenticating the feeling).
  2. Extraverted intuition (identifying the possibilities).
  3. Introverted Sensing (finding the precedent).
  4. Extraverted Thinking (producing the outcome).

Side 2

The second side of my mind is basically the first side flipped upside-down, as if on an axis. Beebe calls it the subconscious or the aspirational personality, because we so often aspire to become better at our 4th and 3rd functions. For us INFPs, we aspire to be more like ESTJs, who, ironically, are often like thorns in an INFP's side.

  1. Extraverted Thinking (producing the outcome).
  2. Introverted Sensing (identifying the precedent).
  3. Extraverted Intuition (identifying the possibilities).
  4. Introverted Feeling (authenticating the feeling).

As you can imagine, living life upside-down like this would be a strain. Have you ever seen an INFP try to be like an ESTJ? I have been that INFP and I experienced it as very stressful to say the least. Think about the times when you've had to use your #4 and #3 function-attitudes simultaneously. I bet most of those times were at the least a bit aggravating and at the most felt like a dissociated hell realm.

Side 3

For the third side of the mind, we delve into what Beebe calls our unconscious or shadow. These are function-attitudes that we tend to be less aware of because they're on the shadow side of our preferred functions. It's kind of like if Feeling was a moon, Introverted Feeling would be on my light side and Extraverted Feeling would be on my dark side. For an INFP, the subconscious would look like this:

  1. Extraverted Feeling (protecting the collective).
  2. Introverted Intuition (seeing the vision).
  3. Extraverted Sensing (direct experiencing).
  4. Introverted Thinking (authenticating the logic).

Now we're asking our INFP type to be like an ENFJ instead of an ESTJ. Not upside-down but inside-out.  That might not be comfortable either, however, at some point my natural authenticating process transforms to helping or it's not really fulfilled.  If I start with helping and neglect my authenticating process, I start questioning my own integrity. At some point my brainstorming transforms into a compelling vision or I never act on it. I don't tend to trust my intuitive visions until I've entertained several possibilities.

Side 4

Last but not least, we come to the fourth side of the mind, which is also labeled as the Superego or the Superfluous Ego. This side is also called the Demonic/Daemonic personality. Now the INFP type is upside-down and inside-out. Oy! That's gotta hurt. My INFP personality has become like an ISTP. This could look like Keanu Reeves (who is reputedly an INFP type) playing the John Wick character; a legendary assassin bent on revenge. I believe this comparison came from CS Joseph.

  1. Introverted Thinking (authenticating the logic).
  2. Extraverted Sensing (experiencing directly).
  3. Introverted Intuition (seeing the vision).
  4. Extraverted Feeling (protecting the collective).


While the first side of the mind is our best fit type, the other three sides draw a stark contrast to that type. In my INFP example, the second side (ESTJ) is upside-down, the third side (ENFJ) is inside-out, and the fourth side (ISTP) is upside-down and inside-out. It's usually a disaster when we just flip into another side of the mind. This has been well documented by personality experts, such as Naomi Quenk and Catherine Von Franz, for the last half century.  However, it is imperative that we develop and integrate all four sides of the mind. If we don't, we're prone to projecting our own darkness onto others, which causes much of the violence and chaos in our present day world on small and large scales. But, how is that integration accomplished in a way that promotes well being?

How do we integrate the Four Sides of the Mind?

We've noticed that people seem to stick with their favored functions in everyday life. For example, I favor Feeling and Intuition as an INFP. Most of the time I would rather visit the shadow sides of those preferred functions (in my case Extraverted \Feeling and Introverted Intuition) than engage in Thinking and Sensing together, which just feels foreign. Being like an ESTJ, ESTP, ISTJ, or ISTP is a tough thing for an INFP to pull off. We could do it, for sure, but it's not going to be comfortable and it might just be ugly.

Another thing we've noticed is that when we switch into our favored paths of integration, we tend to do so in complementary function-attitude pairs. As an example, the primary function-attitude pair for an INFP is:

  1. Introverted Feeling (authenticating the feeling).
  2. Extraverted Intuition (identifying the possibilities).

These two function-attitudes describe an INFP's home base or comfort zone. The reason these two function-attitudes are complementary is because they have absolutely nothing in common. One is extraverted while the other is introverted. One is perceiving while the other is deciding. This makes a nice and tight bond between the two function-attitudes. The following describes four paths of integration to the other three sides of my mind that allow me to stay anchored in either my Feeling or Intuition.

Path 1

As an INFP, I would much rather be like an ENTJ than an ESTJ. An ENTJ's home base is:

  1. Extraverted Thinking (producing the outcome).
  2. Introverted Intuition (seeing the vision).

An ESTJ's home base is:

  1. Extraverted Thinking (producing the outcome).
  2. Introverted Sensing (identifying the precedent).

As an INFP, when I apply my inferior Extraverted Thinking to something, my tendency is to be more inspired by an intuitive vision of what I need to produce rather than verifying proper procedures of some kind. It's not that I ignore procedure altogether, but when I'm faced with putting together IKEA furniture, I'll ignore the instructions unless I absolutely can't make sense of the thing myself. This rarely happens. When I used to play with LEGO bricks as a kid, I hardly ever built what the kit suggested. Instead, a vision would appear in my mind, and I would build that. I doubt there are many INFP kids out there joyfully following LEGO instructions to the letter. That's just not how we work. We improvise and use our Extraverted Intuition for sure, but then a "grand" vision appears at some point and we're off to the races. Detailed and sequential instructions make INFPs nervous. Ask any of us.

Path 2

I would rather be like an ISFP than an ISTP. It's actually not much of a stretch for me to go into an ISFP kind of mode. An ISFP's home base is:

  1. Introverted Feeling (authenticating the feeling). Hey! That's what I lead with anyway.
  2. Extraverted Sensing (experiencing directly).

As a musician, I use my Introverted Feeling with Extraverted Sensing all the time. One of my favorite things to do is to improvise on the guitar, especially with a band. It brings me a lot of joy. It's like fusing my Extraverted Intuition with my Extraverted Sensing. When I improvise on the guitar there are so many possibilities and yet it's so immediate and in the moment. On the other hand, being an ISTP like Bruce Lee or Bear Grills would be a big stretch for my Intuitive and Feeling home base. Those are some very tough minded dudes. I have to be pushed to the very edge like John Wick before I become like an ISTP for any length of time. Actually, I have been kind of like that a few times, when I was forced to physically fight my way out of a situation. I realize there is much more to being an ISTP than martial arts and survival skills, but for an INFP, that's when the inner ISTP comes out.

Path 3

It's clear I also have an ISFJ mode I go into whenever I mow the lawn or weed my garden. An ISFJ's home base is:

  1. Introverted Sensing (identifying the precedent).
  2. Extraverted Feeling (protecting the collective).

This kind of activity is not preferable with my Introverted Feeling values, but I do it somewhat grudgingly based on neighborhood precedent and the existing social values. So, while it's true that I aspire to develop my #3 Introverted Sensing and #4 Extraverted Thinking, I don't tend to do this while becoming like an ESTJ. Rather, I integrate these two function-attitudes by being more like an ISFJ at times and more like an ENTJ at other times. I more rarely abandon both feeling and intuition. Also, of course, if I'm staying happy and functional, there is some of my #1 Introverted Feeling staying in charge of these sub-personality modes.

Path 4

I've also displayed a fairly prominent ENTP mode. The ENTP home base looks like this:

  1. Extraverted Intuition (identifying the possibilities) This is my #2. I already do this pretty well.
  2. Introverted Thinking (authenticating the logic) This is my #8. It's often pretty clueless, but with my Introverted Thinking friends it comes alive.

I also find that when I'm working on a logic model I sometimes wake up in the middle of night to work on it. My interpretation is that I can reach my #8 function-attitude better when everything is quieted down.

Further thoughts

One might ask, wouldn't the ENTJ and ENTP modes of an INFP be more like INTJ and INTP modes? Well, kind of. But when I go into ENTJ mode I am usually building something that appears in the outside world in a tangible way, like this website. Going into ENTJ mode is how I've always done shop projects. Yes, INFPs can do shop projects. We just need a compelling vision. Forget the directions. 🙂 As for the ENTP mode, my Extraverted Sensing is much more conscious than my Introverted Thinking. It's really difficult for me to grock how Doric (INTP) actually has logic models inhabiting his proverbial mind palace. My head is alive with possibilities, but seeing the logic model behind those possibilities is only something I've gradually grown into. However, to use either of these modes in a healthy way, my Hero Introverted Feeling must be on board with the program. So, there is an 'introversion first' aspect to both modes.

All this is not to say that I can't go into an ESTJ, ENFJ, or ISTP mode. The other day Doric and I had a disagreement about how to punctuate bullet points. This was primarily a rules/precedent issue. I went ESTJ (my subconscious) on him, "I got the rules down, let's move on." He went ESFJ (INTP subconscious) on me, "You're disregarding my opinion, that's not the way you should treat me." Good thing we're so mature or it might have broken us up as thought partners.

Labeling the Four Paths of Integration

Through my ENTJ, ISFP, ISFJ, and ENTP modes I'm able to integrate all 8 function-attitudes. It's our belief that this is how it works for all types most of the time. We integrate the four sides of our mind by sticking with our favored functions rather than contorting ourselves into more alien functions that would cause us significant stress.

The figure below describes the different sub personalities that an INFP might flex to. They key to flexing in a healthy way is to make sure that one's 1st function and usually the 2nd function as well is bought off on the process. As INFP, this means my Introverted Feeling values must condone the activity I'm doing and my Extraverted Intuition possibilities function-attitude usually needs to have some kind of involvement too.

  1. The INFP part of me is golden because that's what I identify with the most. Go team INFP! We call the first two function-attitudes in any type the Ego Identity because together they represent how we like to see ourselves, and they provide a good home base for a healthy ego.
  2. The ISFP part of me is called the Reality Check because it provides another way of perceiving.
  3. The ENTP part of me is called the Conscience because it provides another way of deciding.
  4. The ESTJ part of me, Beebe's subconscious or aspirational, is red because using these two functions together is painful and it's often consciously painful. For this reason we call this part of the mind the Antagonist.
  5. The ISFJ part of me is called the Shield because we noticed it is often used defensively, like when I'm mowing my lawn to basically stay good with the neighbors. I personally like dandelions. They're so bright and beautiful! Alas, the dandelions must go if I'm to stay with neighborhood standards. In these cases I notice my 1st Introverted Feeling function-attitude is always a little agitated.
  6. The ENTJ part of me is called the Sword because it is often used offensively. This is how I get myself out in the world - finally. My normally laid back personality becomes hyper-focused to produce what is needed.
  7. The ENFJ part of me is blue because it's under the water line of consciousness. I often see the ENFJ part of me come out when I'm teaching classes and making Feeling decisions for the good of the group.
  8. The ISTP superego part of me is gray because I often experience it as indistinct and ephemeral. We call this sub personality the Shadow because of it's murkiness. I can't remember accessing this part of me without, at the very least, being a little uncomfortable. Mostly I remember my ISTP sub personality coming out when I need to fight for my life.

There it is, the Four Sides of The Mind with Four Paths of Integration: The Reality Check, The Conscience, The Shield, and The Sword.


Organizing the Four Paths of Integration into a holistic model

Here's another way to look at it. The yin yang symbol in the center represents the Jungian idea of the Self; the totality of being within each of us. We're each more than a particular personality structure. The Four Sides of the Mind and the Four Paths of Integration represent possible ways to step outside of our own ego identities and venture out into that totality of being. In Christianity this might be called the Christ Self. In Buddhism, this might be called the Buddha Nature of each person. In Hinduism, this may be called the Atman. In Taoism it's represented by the yin yang symbol we chose to use because it graphically illustrates both our dualistic and holistic natures.



  1. Dave on September 12, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Could you provide some references to Beebe’s work (first hand) here please? Need to know where you are getting this.

    • John Utter on September 12, 2020 at 6:21 pm

      Hi Dave. Thanks for commenting. All my knowledge of Beebe is from
      “Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type” and Mark Hunziker’s book, “Depth Typology”. I’ve found no reference to the term “Four sides of the mind” in either book. I came across the term while watching the CS Joseph video at: My impression from the video was that the “Four sides of the mind” term was from Beebe and wrote the article above with that assumption in mind. However, I’ve had no success finding this term anywhere on the Internet with any attribution to Beebe. It all seems to point back to CS Joseph. I’ve reached out to CS Joseph in order to clarify whether “Four sides of the mind” is his term or something I may have missed from Beebe’s other work, or from something I’ve missed in Jung’s work. Depending on the outcome of my inquiry I may need to change how I reference the term in the article above.

      • Dave on October 30, 2020 at 11:04 am

        Thank you for doing that. Appreciated. I know Beebe championed the eight function model. BUt I am worried CS Joesph is giving out misinformation and telling people it’s real Jungian research.

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