The simple way to type Dr. Phil is to go through each pair of letters:
T/F: Thinking or Feeling: When solving problems, would you say that Dr. Phil focuses more on the concrete solution to those problems or more on the well-being of all involved parties? Would you say that Dr. Phil solves problems based on cool-headed logic or warm-hearted passion? In the videos reviewed for this article, we found that Dr. Phil could be very confrontational and come across as a brisk hard-liner to the person he is trying to help. As such, he is unusual as a psychologist, the majority of whom are Feeling. All in all, we found Dr. Phil to very clear in his preference for Thinking and in his championing of principles, which, according to him, will work for anybody.
P/J: Judging or Perceiving: Does Dr. Phil like to narrow things down or does he prefer to keep his options open? When Dr. Phil wraps up a case, does the audience find his message ambiguous, or was there a clear bottom-line? Our answer: In all of Dr. Phil’s work, that is, the 10 Question Personality Quiz, the notion that any person’s life can be broken down into 10 defining moments, 7 critical choices, and 5 pivotal people, speaks strongly in favour of a psyche that has a preference for narrowing things down. Furthermore, when working with clients, Dr. Phil typically goes straight to the bottom line. Two of his favorite retorts when working with clients are: “How is that working out for you?” (typically a response to someone stuck in a detrimental life situation) and “Get real!” (typically a response to a client that is having a hard time facing the facts) – so we also put our money on Judging. Taken together, these factors suggest that Dr. Phil is likely an xxTJ.
S/N: Sensing or iNtuitive: This one is a little harder than the first two. But let us see: Does Dr. Phil prefer to ponder abstract associations and meanings, or does he like to cut straight to the chase? – Does Dr. Phil prefer patterns (and life histories from which to infer them), or does he prefer the concrete problem in the here and the now? Both of the admins of Celebrity Types are dominant iNtuitives, whose imaginations are immediately stirred by iNtuitive abstractions, reflections and mystical/unexpected associations. And while Dr. Phil is an industrious and talented businessman who appears to have helped hundreds of people, there simply isn’t much mysticism or that is esoteric about the teachings of Dr. Phil (for contrast, compare the work of Dr. Phil with the interests of the iNtuitive psychologist C.G. Jung – there is little overlap). We thus believe Dr. Phil to have a preference for Sensing, and thus, to be an xSTJ.
So the simple method of typing suggests that Dr. Phil is an xSTJ. Certainly, some writers in the field of psychological type have speculated that Dr. Phil must be introverted and thus an ISTJ. By contrast, however, we now argue that Dr. Phil is more likely an extrovert and thus an ESTJ.
ESTJ rather than ISTJ, Argument 1:
He conducts himself as an extrovert in interviews and on screen; he exudes a lot of extroverted, outgoing energy, he is snappy and quick to retort when challenged, and he is uncannily cognizant of what is going on around him (as well as to the facts presented to him). And to add some concrete data to this argument, Dr. Phil did a show where he presented his own test scores where he came out as an extrovert. In fact, during this show, Dr. Phil made the unfortunate mistake of addressing introversion as something pathological, which it is not, as well as to confuse the orientation of being an extrovert with the ability to open up and share your feelings, which, again, is not the same thing. This is not at all meant as an attack on Dr. Phil; we very much admire his ability to cut straight to the chase, but for the many misunderstood introverts out here, it is unfortunate that he chose to popularize the notion that introverts are unable to open up. (Being able to ‘open up’ to friends and significant others is in fact dependent upon other factors than introversion/extroversion and many introverts are fully able to share their feelings with others – they just need time, trust and to feel safe.)
ESTJ rather than ISTJ, Argument 2 :
When solving problems Dr. Phil’s focus is naturally on the solution and only then on the client’s experience. He is very action-oriented. The initial phase of problem-solving, where the client states his problem, appears as a mere necessary drudge before he can get down to (what he perceives as) the actual business of telling the client what to do.
This trait was already apparent in his youth where he wrote his PhD on how to get the largest bang for the buck out of the smallest amount of actual therapy. In other words, where ISTJs are sometimes referred to as ‘inspectors’ (as they may have a need to make sure that everything is proceeding according to the book), ESTJs thrive more on the actual execution of events. As one training manual says of ESTJs:
ESTJs like to take charge of groups and are comfortable issuing orders.
ESTJ rather than ISTJ, Argument 3:
If one were to look at the flaws associated with his otherwise industrious personality, it would be that Dr. Phil can be bossy and overbearing at times, which is most characteristic of the two types that are dominant Extroverted Thinkers (ESTJ, ENTJ). To contrast, the chief flaw of the Introverted Sensing dominant personality (ISTJ, ISFJ) is that they have trouble letting loose and shifting lanes in life. From gym-owner, to academic researcher, to talk show host, author and weight loss consultant, Dr. Phil has never been one to be stuck in the slow lane.