I'm an INFP! (Personality typing and SLPs)

I'm a 31 year old female who is looking to change careers.  I've done quite a bit of soul searching and career testing, etc. recently and discovered I am an INFP.  I also did a specific in-depth career test and scored high for SLP and OT.  Which I think is common for INFPs.

Are you an INFP and in the SLP field already or going into it?  If so, what about the field is a good fit for your personality?

If you are not an INFP, I'd also be very interested to know what your personality type is and what attracted you to the field.

What personality traits (besides caring for people, being detail oriented and patient) do you feel are most important to be succesful as an SLP?


i don't usually buy into these personality test things, but seriously, you found something that suggested SLPs are generally introverted? i find that surprising.
No, I'm an introvert (INFP specifically), and when doing career testing, the SLP/OT fields were ones I tested high in that would fit me as an INFP.
I'm an INFP and got the same result from the Strong/MBTI test, twice in a period of a few years. I was already interested in SLP before I saw that, but it certainly made me feel even better about my choice!

I think INFPs' capacity for empathy, patience, and just all around caring for people really does have a big part in it. I also think that curiosity and interest in problem-solving are important, not that that has anything to do with INFPs in particular. :)
(Anonymous)
Working in a clinic, where I have to update parents every day on how their kids are doing... I think it would be harder for an introvert. You have to make a LOT of small talk every day. Really not just with the parents but with the kids too... you need to be able to get them talking! Some introverts are great at that but I usually associate that with extroverts. I would guess that OT is a little more introvert-friendly than SLP.

It sounds obvious but if you want to work with kids, you must love and be good with kids! I went into SLP because I like language, speech, and disorders, and not because I love kids. I was never the type to babysit and I don't have my own kids yet. Now I happen to enjoy it but sometimes I feel like it doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to people who have been babysitting their whole lives. For example you can look at developmental charts all day long, but it's harder to know right off the bat whether a 4 year old has normal speech or not, or whether a 2-3 year old is showing signs of autism when you don't really have a lot of experience with typically developing 2-3 year olds. So to make a long story short, I would say that if you are going to work with kids, you need to want to spend all day every day with kids!!!
Thanks for this really insightful comment!

What do you say OT is more introvert friendly?
Just a quick mod note - it might be easier if you combine all of your questions into one entry next time instead of making different posts for each one.
ooops! Sorry...my posts were so long I thought that if I made them all one post with multiple topics, that people would be asking me to break them apart into smaller ones lol
No, longer posts are fine! But if they are going to be long, put them under a cut so people who aren't interested don't have to scroll past the entire post.
(Anonymous)
I don't think very introverted people should become SLP's... you are talking to families, clients and collaborating with other professionals ALL day. You are the 'speech/communication expert'. If you have trouble communicating openly with others then how will you help your clients?
(Anonymous)
And you must be one of those chatty catties who feel the need to talk all the time.
(Anonymous)
Actually no, not at all. I can't stand those types of people. I just think it's silly for a 'shy' person to consider a career where they will generally be communicating with the general public. Obviously I hit a nerve with you to make such a comment - LOL
(Anonymous)
Introversion isn't the same as being shy. It's more about how you 'recharge your batteries' and if you tend to like to think first act second. The MBTI definition of introversion is more complex than being gregarious vs. quiet. I'm very outgoing at work doing commission based sales and I enjoy it, but I still test as introverted.

I'm an INFJ and I think SLP attracts NFs in general. The science and diagnosing plus creative problem solving is very 'N' and the helping others aspect is
very 'F.' Plus you generally can work autonomously, again an NF preferance. Personally I am interested in research. Ah, Ni :)
I'm an introvert but like someone else mentioned, I am not shy. I am one of those people who relax by curling up by myself rather than getting a beer at a bar. But I do enjoy interacting with people one on one and I am genuinely interested in helping people.
I'm with the poster above--another introvert here. However, I do enjoy interacting with other people and could never, never picture myself doing a job sitting in a cubicle by myself all day, never seeing another human being. I don't love the making awkward small talk thing, but I understand that's just a part of it. :)
I also just looked at an old personality test I took...listed me as ISTJ. Weird. (I guess it can't really be considered to be reputable as it was a Facebook quiz...but food for thought for me)
Thanks everyone for your comments. I hope that people understood that I was just trying to see what personality traits were good to have as an SLP. I respectfully disagree with the thought that introverts shouldn't be SLP's though; I'm an introvert and I did in-depth career/personality testing through my employer, and I tested very high for the SLP/OT positions as far as matches for my personality.

Like another poster mentioned, introverts aren't 'necessarily' shy; it's more about how they process information. For instance, an extrovert is more likely to "think AS they speak", while an introvert is more likely to think to themself, THEN speak. Just because someone's an introvert doesn't mean they can't talk to people LOL; but they may have a different work preference than an extrovert. They may prefer working one-on-one more than working on large teams. Not that they 'can't' work in teams; many introverts do perform extroverted activities in their jobs. Introversion/extroversion is on a scale; you usually lean more towards one than the other, but it's not typically an 'absolute' sort of thing. I hope I am making sense.

I think I scored high as an INFP because of the possibility for one-on-one involvement, the helping/humanitarian aspect, possibility for use of creativity in therapy, etc.

Just wanted to know what personality qualities besides patience and caring were good to possess, so I can make sure I'm not just a good student academically when I start grad school, but I'm also the best fit I can be character wise.
(Anonymous)
I'm a very strong ESFP, and I find it hard to imagine being an introverted SLP, but only because I have to talk to people and engage with people all day long. My job is fast-paced, even in the schools. I talk to teachers, staff, kids. If I needed time alone to recharge, it would be limited to about 25 minutes at lunch. (as an extrovert, I use that for time with my friends). It seems like it would be an exhausting job for an extrovert.

HOWEVER, I'm as strong of a P as can be (100% the last time I took it!) and in general, that should make this position hard, as I'm so disorganized, and I have a ton of paperwork always. However, I love my job enough that having to challenge the P side of me is worth it. :) I'm also really into research, even though I'm a strong N.

So, I'm assuming the same could be true of an Introvert in the field. It might be sometimes difficult, but a true love of SLP will get you through.
(Anonymous)
Sorry, last line of first paragraph should read, "exhausting job for an introvert."

Whoops. :)
I'm also an INFP. Go figure.


Introverted (I) 58.14% Extroverted (E) 41.86%
Intuitive (N) 54.05% Sensing (S) 45.95%
Feeling (F) 61.76% Thinking (T) 38.24%
Perceiving (P) 57.14% Judging (J) 42.86%

INFP - "Questor". High capacity for caring. Calm and pleasant face to the world. High sense of honor derived from internal values. 4.4% of total population.

INFP SLP
(Anonymous)
I am an INFP, newly qualified SLP.

I have had 7 placements in different clinical settings. Learning SLP skills has become easier but I could not help but feel threatened by my supervisors and coworkers on a daily basis. I imagine that being on clinical placement is like being in a more intense version of the real job where you have to focus social energy towards the clients, the family members, the other members of the multidisciplinary team and your supervisor and peer(s) on placement. I felt very comfortable working with the clients. I really enjoy a profession where you can speak with people in a solution focused and empathizing way about real worries in their life. Working with people of other disciplines (teachers, nursing staff, OTs) was enjoyable too....if they understood my role. If not, the process of clarifying my role was empowering for me and it usually made things easier (unless I was working with a professional who did not really listen and chose to paint their own picture of the SLP's role). In this case I felt like I was getting nowhere and I felt I'd rather not work with that person. This worried me because I want to be able to work with anyone whether they are bull headed or not (there are a lot of bull headed people out there). Which brings me to working with supervisors. I think I had very bad luck in all of these placements because I felt most threatened by these people. The main struggle I had was that I felt SLP supervisors (on placement) were very quick to criticize me and often times they criticized me without having seen/or having given me a chance to show what I can do. When they observed me doing a session and gave me feedback afterwards, I found the criticism very helpful. This is because it was focused and specific - I didn't feel it was personal. However, otherwise when they gave me general critical feedback on how I was doing, I always felt threatened and discouraged. In fact without any encouragement I found myself feeling like I wanted to distance myself from supervisors and work with clients autonomously, get all the practice in that I could without supervision. I over-thought what supervisors thought of me on a daily basis and that made me very anxious and negative about placement. I always felt that because I thought before I spoke and didn't go on and on and on, they thought I didn't have the awareness/knowledge and they judged me really harshly on this. I think people just get a feeling from me that I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't shout everything out as fast as I can. I learned that if they can't judge you on something in clinical placements because you haven't shown them explicitly (or because they forgot), they will judge you wrongly and harshly. I don't know how so many discouraging, frustrated, arrogant people became SLPs and I hope that it isn't so stressful that 3 years later I'm an absolute dragon to my trainees.
I strongly feel that for me to move forward in this profession I should act confident, even when I am not feeling that way and stop second-guessing what supervisors are thinking. I probably also need to remember not to shy away from conflict or bull headed people. (I don't know why I keep saying that! - I mean stubborn people who are inflexible in their thinking and judging without knowing). It seems when I appear contemplative, flexible or laid back other types may see it as unsure or lazy. Their response is to get frustrated and lash out at me or try to dominate/control me because they would feel better if they were in control. Since I always diplomatically step aside and let them do what they want (even though I'm usually 100% sure I've thought it through better and am acting more in the interest of the client).


INFP SLP
(Anonymous)
I know the easy part will be dealing with clients, even the ones who are challenging and frustrated. I think clients really feel my sincerity as an INFP and they are comforted by the fact that I will work very hard to find solutions for them. Even when there is little improvement (e.g.progressive disease cases) clients look forward to therapy sessions and enjoy their time with me. Sometimes they don't want to leave! And as for me, for the whole time I spend with them, I never feel shy or lost for words or intimidated like I do with supervisors. Even when leading groups. Another positive thing about INFPs which is VERY important for therapy is ability to modify tasks and have awareness of how the client feels at ALL times. You know exactly when to push them and when to let up. It's like a dance. I think because of INFPs self scrutinising, overly reflective nature we are in a similar mindset to people who have communication difficulties and are coming into therapy. The client and the INFP are both highly aware of what limitations they have and how they would like things to be in a perfect world. So the empathy and understanding makes the relationship quite harmonious.


I think there are a few things that INFPs might need to do to 'man up' and work successfully on a team of busy, well educated people (who are possibly bossy, arrogant, experienced and set in their ways).
1)Confidence, assertiveness
2)Positive self reflection (keep it specific and do it a lot)
3)Really study up so that you can use sound professional rationale to parry off pushy people and stand your ground. Negotiation is a big SLP skill.

I'm going through a negative spell after finishing the course. I feel discouraged about my skills. I'm having a hard time getting over that criticism and impatience while those who doled it out probably don't remember it or didn't intend to be harsh in the first place.

Every now and then I realise that I accomplished a goal by getting the qualification and I feel momentarily at ease. The good thing is, my training experience has not changed my wish to work as a SLP. I just think that a supportive work environment is well overdue.
INFP as well
(Anonymous)
Introvert does not mean shy or loner, or even that you need to be alone to charge your batteries. At least for me. I LOVE meeting new people and chatting and helping others out. I constantly approach strangers and get the ball rolling with every person I meet. However when it comes to la large groups of people and talking in front of them, NO WAY! It intimidates me and I get major stage fright. (I used to rehearse how I was going to answer a question in my head, before I would even raise my hand in class) I think i with INFP it is more the quantity of people we are interacting with rather than preferring to be alone... I don't know a single INFP who prefers that.
(Anonymous)
Therefore, I think SLP is a wonderful career choice. I have been looking into it myself as well. :)
I am an INTP
One of the reasons I'm currently studying speech-language pathology is because I thought majoring in psychology or linguistics like I originally wanted to would set me up for failure in finding a job. I also like the opportunity for creative problem solving, and I'm fascinated by language and the human brain (so, I'd love to work with people who have neurological disorders).

I'm highly introverted, but I actually go crazy when I'm by myself for more than a day. It's just that I prefer one-on-one situations to being in large groups. Large groups overwhelm me, making me shut down and retreat into my own thoughts, but I don't think this is a problem in this field in which I'll most often be communicating one-on-one.

The thing I'm worried about is that INTPs sometimes warn to watch out for careers that will "drain Fe".
I've personally never felt like my Fe had been drained before. This might sound sociopathic, but even if I feel like I'm lacking compassion on a certain day, my interest in understanding human minds is enough to motivate me to interact. Still, I wonder if other INTPs thought in the same way but eventually found their Fe being drained anyway.

Edited at 2013-03-27 08:57 pm (UTC)