Life and Spiritual Coaching

July 9, 2008

A Brief Review of Human Dynamics

Filed under: Life Coaching — by Donna Ritter @ 6:24 pm

A Brief Overview of Human Dynamics

See Bibliography at end of article


Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to get along with a certain person, a work mate, a school mate, a family member? Have you taken the time to look at the situation from their perspective?

People are all different. You probably have heard of personality assessment tests like Myers-Briggs. It turns out that they are very accurate. I have been in the computer business for 30 years, and have taken about 20 assessment tests. I wondered the other day if they all painted the same picture of me – and they did! It didn’t matter if they were short, long, 360 degree tests. They all pointed out my behaviors when I was not in a stressful situation and what may happen if I do get in a stressful situation. They also list the careers I would be best in. One very important thing they list is how I communicate to others and how I expect them to communicate to me. Communication styles are as different as personalities.

I had a friend that once said we should all where tags that said what our assessments where and how we communicated.

There is one book I highly recommend called Human Dynamics by Sandra Seagal and David Horne. I may be biased because one of my best friends contributed to it – Chris Strutt. Peter Senge, who is very well known, also contributed to it. Since Chris was into it, she tested me and her husband as soon as the book was out. It is based on the need to understand one another. We used it when I worked at Digital in the 1980s’.

It is different from most assessments in that it is not a topology. It identifies fundamental structures (the hard-wiring)[1] that underlie distinctions in the functioning of people as whole systems and describes the processes and functions of these systems. These distinct human systems are self-organizing and capable of infinite development.

“People identify their system (“personality dynamic”) through a process of self discovery. There is no paper and pencil test. People are trained to identify the personality dynamics of others through heightened awareness and sensitive learning and observation.

Human Dynamics is useful for:

·         Team functioning

·         Teaching and Learning

·         Value and leveraging diversity

·         Change Management

·         Building Conscious Community

·         Personal/Leadership Development

·         Health Maintenance

·         Cross Cultural Bridge Building”

“Basic Principles: A New Paradigm”

“Human Dynamics leads to an understanding that three frequencies detected in the voice relate to three primary aspects of human functioning; mental, emotional, and physical.

Further they have discovered that these three principals combine in highly specific “ways of being” that they have termed “personality dynamics”. They have identified 9 dynamics in all, but of these 9 four occur so rarely that the other five make up 99.9% of the population!”

“Dr. Seagal and her team have explored the interaction in people of three universal principles:

  • the mental
  • the emotional (or relational) and the
  • physical (or practical).

“In the human system, the mental principle is related to the mind–to thinking, values, structure, focus, objectivity, perspective. The emotional principle is more subjective. It is concerned with relationships–with feelings, communication, organization, and synthesis. The physical principle is pragmatic. It is the making, doing, and part of us.”

“Of the greatest significance is the discovery that the mental, emotional and physical principles combine in a dynamic interplay in people in specific ways, to form distinct personality dynamics or ways of being, each characterized by fundamentally different inner processes and ways of functioning in the world. Five such personality dynamics predominate in Western cultures, in relatively consistent, although not equal, proportions.”

“The personality dynamics do not appear to be determined by culture, age or gender. They appear in every culture; they characterize men and women in equal numbers; and they can be observed at every age level. The distinctions are so fundamental that they can be identified even in babies.”

“Each personality dynamic constitutes a whole way of functioning. Members of one personality dynamic differ distinctly from those of another personality dynamic in the way in which they process information, learn, communicate, problem-solve, function on teams, and become stressed. Each personality dynamic has specific requirements for learning, maturing and functioning optimally. Each has characteristic gifts and affinities. And the path of development is different for each.”

“Types and knowledge: To know someone’s personality dynamic, therefore, is to know a great deal about that person. Each person constitutes a whole system.

It is important to note that each personality dynamic is of equal value. Anyone of any personality dynamic may be more or less intelligent, compassionate, skilled, or gifted. And every personality dynamic has an unbounded capacity for maturation. But the way in which the members of each personality dynamic function is different.

The lack of recognition of these differences in human functioning has led to much misunderstanding, conflict, and waste of individual and group potential–in the classroom, in the workplace, and in the home.”

“Awareness of types offers new opportunities “

  • For greater individual self-understanding and growth;
  • For greater understanding of others; for improved communication and cooperation;
  • For more effective teaching and learning; and for the conscious development of balanced teams in which all of the personality dynamics are represented, and in which the participants are able to work in creative synergy through consciously respecting each other’s inherent processes and utilizing each other’s gifts.”


“The Three Principals”

The Mental Principal

Emphases: concepts, structures, ideas

Process: linear, logical, and sequential


·         Thinking

·         Envisioning

·         Planning

·         Focusing

·         Directing

·         Creating Structure

·         Seeing the overview

·         Establishing values, principals

·         Maintaining objectivity

·         Conceptualizing

·         Analyzing


People with a well developed mental principal direct their direct their action with detachment, perspective, clear vision, and well defined values, principals, while focusing on the long term. People in whom the mental principal is relatively underdeveloped act on the basis of thinking that is less clear, more irrational and unfocused, resting on a value system that may be narrow or confused.



The Emotional Principal

Emphases: relationships, organization

Process: lateral (by emotional association rather than logical connection).


·         Feeling

·         Connecting

·         Communicating

·         Relating

·         Personalizing

·         Empathizing

·         Harmonizing

·         Processing

·         Imagining

The emotional principal is the principal of relationships and connection. It is the part of us that knows and values the world of feelings in ourselves and others. It is also the part that needs and offers communication and that knows how to collaborate and organize. The creative imagination, which accesses the inner life and connects things in new ways, is also an expression of the emotional principal. As with the mental principal, the emotional principal can be expressed more or less maturely. Someone in whom the emotional principle is well developed is aware of his or her own feels without being dominated by them, expresses those feelings appropriately, is communicative and empathetic, and forms positive relationships with others. He or she is also self-aware, well organized, flexible, creative and able to find the middle ground between enjoying the diversity of life and maintaining focus.

 The Physical Principal

Emphases: actions, operations

Process: systemic (by a comprehensive process of gathering, linking, and seeing the interconnections among relevant data)



·         Doing

·         Making

·         Producing

·         Concretizing

·         Detailing

·         Making operational

·         Utilizing

·         Ensuring practicality

·         Cooperating

·         Synthesizing

·         Systematizing


“Whereas the metal principal is associated with the mind and thinking,  and the emotional principal is associated with feelings and relating, the physical principal is associated with the body and the translation into action of what is thought and felt. This principal is the pragmatic part of people, expressed in doing, making and actualizing. If a house is designed on the mental level, and its construction is organized on the emotional level, it is systematically built on the physical level.”


“In general, when the mental, emotional and physical principals are developed and integrated, individuals function well. However, when one or more principals are underdeveloped, a lack of wholeness and relative ineffectiveness exists in certain areas of a person’s life.”


Actually, most people “favor” one or two of the principals.  Most people are centered on one of the principals and also secondarily centered on one of the other principals. Think of a circle with a second circle inside of it. The inner circle is your core and how you usually process information. The outer circle with all the principals in it usually has one that is your secondary principal that drives that kind of information we tend to process.


“In Western cultures, the breakdown of personalities is:


·         Mental-mental: 5%

·         Emotional-Mental: 25% (also called Emotional Subjective)

·         Physical-Mental: 10%

·         Emotional-Physical: 55% (also called Emotional Objective)

·         Physical-Emotional: 5%”

There is so much more to talk about this subject that I encourage you to buy Human Dynamics. There are stories for each of the 5 personalities and by reading through them it is clear which one you are.

Think of the possibilities of using this in an organization or a relationship. If you learn how the other person thinks, processes information and what they need you can make great strides in building relationships and teams.







Horne, S. S. (1997). Human Dynamics. Cambridge, MA: Pegasus Communications, Inc.





[1]  Human Dynamics by Sandra Segal and David Horne

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