Temperament Corner


  • A careless word may kindle strife;
  • A cruel word may wreck a life.
  • A bitter word may hate instill;
  • A brutal word may smite and kill.
  • A gracious word may smooth the way;
  • A joyous word may light the day.
  • A timely word may lessen stress;
  • A loving word may heal and bless.
  • Author Unknown
A word fitly spoken is like Apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverb 25:11
But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37


Temperament Corner by, Dr. Phyllis J. ArnoCommunication is the key to all relationships. When we do not communicate properly, the results can be devastating. Miscommunicating can cause anger, wars, murders, family splits, divorces, etc.

The Free Dictionary on the Internet describes the word communication to mean: “a. the art and technology of using words effectively to impact information or ideas. This would be verbal communication.”

Archie Bunker, the rather blunt father in the old TV series, “All in the Family,” made this statement:


I am sure that at one time or another, we have probably all felt like saying that to someone who does not understand what we are trying to communicate to them.

However, when counseling, you cannot say what Archie Bunker said, but what you can do is learn to understand your counselee’s God-given temperament.

As a temperament counselor you know that we are not all “wired” the same. Each temperament acts, responds and perceives things differently.

When you are counseling a temperament different than yours, you need to learn to set your temperament tendencies aside and counsel this person according to their temperament.

As a counselor, you generate a Clinical APS Report. When you are disseminating the information to the counselee, you need to present it in a manner that will not offend or upset them. You need to present them with their Strengths and Weaknesses in a manner that will not make them feel hopeless.

In this issue we are going to look at the MELANCHOLY in Inclusion to see how to communicate with them according to their temperament.

When you communicate with them:

  1. You should not say:
    You don’t like to be around people and you hate going out to social events, meetings,etc. You would rather be at home.
    You should probably say:
    You tend not to relate well to people, so you prefer small group functions rather than large ones.
  2. You should not say:
    You tend to be very moody and negative.
    You should probably say:
    You tend to sometimes have negative thoughts which can make you feel down and sad.
  3. You should not say:
    You have a fear of economic failure.
    You should probably say:
    You tend to fear that you will not have enough money to live on and to pay your bills.
  4. You should not say:
    You have a fear of rejection because you have a low self-esteem and think that others do not feel you have any value.
    You should probably say:
    You tend to fear that others will reject you because you do not feel that you measure up to them.
  5. You should not say:
    You are easily offended or insulted by what other people say.
    You should probably say:
    You tend to sometimes misunderstand what other people are saying because you may perceive or think that they do not like or accept you.
  6. You should not say:
    You tend to be a perfectionist, and you set too high standards for yourself and others. You tend to become angry if they do not live up to your expectations.
    You should probably say:
    You tend to sometimes expect more of people than what they can do, and you tend to become upset with them. You need to remember that only Jesus is perfect—the rest of us are works in progress.

When counseling a Melancholy in Inclusion, you need to be aware of the following regarding this temperament:

You do not want to approach the Melancholy in Inclusion by being overly friendly. You need to welcome them and be professional.

Love is patient, Love is kind... Love never fails.
Love is patient, Love is kind… Love never fails.

You need to be willing to answer the many questions they may have about your qualifications. Your qualifications are very important to them as they need to know that they can trust you with the information they will share with you.

When counseling a Melancholy in Inclusion you need to, at the end of the session, recap what was discussed. This is because Melancholies in Inclusion tend to think a great deal and you may have said something that triggered a memory, so they did not hear everything you said. When this happens, they can leave your office misunderstanding what you had told them.

Family and friends may try to push the Melancholy in Inclusion to socialize, and this may cause them stress since their temperament cannot handle being with people all the time. This is because they are task-oriented, not relationship-oriented. They can usually do tasks all day long without becoming stressed.

If the Melancholy in Inclusion must be with people and/or work with people all day long, they need to learn to take some short breaks and go out for a walk or sit and read alone. This will lessen their stress. Also, when they come home from work or school, they need some quiet, down time before they interact with the family.

At times Melancholies in Inclusion can have negative thoughts and become moody and depressed. They need to learn to think positive thoughts. Teach them a Scripture that they can pull strength from when they start to think downward thoughts, such as:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Melancholies in Inclusion tend to have a fear of economic failure, and they may deny it if you word it this way; however, when you give them the following examples, they will understand what it means to have a fear of economic failure:

  • Need to clip coupons
  • Need to purchase items on sale
  • Need to pay cash for something rather than take out a loan
  • Need a certain amount of money in their checking account
  • Need to carry a certain amount of money in their pocket

Melancholies in Inclusion tend to perceive rejection and will search for messages that they are not liked or accepted. The Melancholy in Inclusion will then tend to avoid this person so they will not be rejected.

Also, because of this perceived fear, Melancholies in Inclusion are, at times, easily offended or insulted. They need to learn to search the Scriptures for messages that they are loved and accepted. They need to learn that God loves them, and He will never forsake them. John 3:16 tells us:

Abstract red shapes of hearts“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Melancholies in Inclusion tend to be perfectionistic and set standards that are too high for anyone to attain, including themselves. If people do not meet these standards, Melancholies tend to become very critical. They need to remember that God only requires reasonable service and so should they.

Please remember, God created Melancholies in Inclusion with artistic, creative capabilities which are needed for the Kingdom of God. We need to encourage the Melancholy not only to use his gifts but also to share them with others.

PLEASE NOTE: These are temperament tendencies, and, as always, while you are counseling the Melancholy in Inclusion you must take into consideration their walk with the Lord, learned behavior, personality and birth order.

In the next issue we will look at ways to communicate with a Phlegmatic in Inclusion counselee.

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10 thoughts on “Temperament Corner”

  1. I am counseling a you g man that is Mc in Inclusion a d has asbergers also. His mother and he are polar opposites. They are having anger issues primarily over household chores.
    Any insight is welcome, please.
    Thank you.
    PS He is an adult.

    1. Barbara, I will contact you via e-mail as this is a counseling question that should be discussed in private.

  2. Thank you for this article! The recommendations for how to communicate with the Melancholy will be very helpful. As I was reading it, I could’nt help but wonder if there would be a way for the APS reports to be worded in the most beneficial way for each temperament as they’re printed. I don’t know if it would be possible, but I think this might especially help students as they’re learning to generate these reports.
    Thank you for your ministry and all you do!

    1. When you are learning about the temperaments to become a counselor you need the Clinical information. The information in the Clinical report is for your eyes only and you are to disseminate the information in a way that will not offend the counselee. When you give them a weakness put the weakness in your own words saying something like:
      People with your temperament tend to…… You can also purchase the Special Personal Profiles
      (for adults) SPP so that after you generate the Clinical report for you, you can generate an SPP to give to the counslee.

    1. We are truly blessed that we have you as a fellow worker for Christ and to help this hurting world!

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