by Annie K. Young, EGCM®, GCM®
Sawubona LLC
dba Sawubona Ranch

Introduction: This capstone project explores the transformative potential of GCM® experiential sessions coupled with a greater self-awareness achieved via the Keirsey system. Keirsey temperament types provide clients with a unique perspective on their personality, preferences, and challenges.

Significance: Analyzing the phenomenon of how experiential learning allows for deeper connections and understanding of oneself, and thus, can lead to powerful healing and development of self-awareness and self-compassion in clients.

Purpose: The purpose of this Capstone was to look at the difference in a client’s understanding of their personal typology scores when given only a verbal explanation of their test results versus a verbal explanation coupled with a GCM® experience.

Setting and Participants: The sessions devoted to individual typology were done at Sawubona Ranch in Littleton, CO and involved 5 women between the ages of 40-60 years. Two participants had filled out the Kiersey-Bates Temperament Sorter previously with a vague recollection of their results, one client had done other types of personality tests, and two clients had never taken a personality test.

Capstone Description/Process: In the initial session each participant was administered the Kiersey-Bates Temperament Sorter. The questionnaire was filled out and tallied on site. Each client’s test results were reviewed with them verbally, their questions answered, and examples for clarification were given to them. Each participant was given time to share related stories that fit their personal typology.

In a second session, each participant was asked how knowing their typology had impacted their awareness of their behavior, moods, or viewpoint in the time between sessions. This second session was devoted to the experience of looking at their individual parts of typology inclusive of  their less dominate numbers. Attention was given to how these different typology parts compete with each other. Experientially, two different sized hula hoops were used to represent the major and minor categories/traits identified. Large hoops, 36 inches in diameter, represented the dominate categories while 24-inch hoops represented the less dominate traits. One client of special interest, who achieved the highest score possible in the area of Feeling, also received a smaller hoop to represent their traits in the Thinking category that went unidentified by the test.  

In ongoing sessions, work continued with frequent reflection on each individual’s typology scores.

Capstone Results/Impact: Focused observations revealed that, after a verbal explanation of typology, very little understanding was retained by the client along with a weak recollection of how typology showed up in their lives.

After the GCM® experience, 100% of the participants gained a noticeably deeper understanding of themselves and how typology impacts their everyday life. There was also an increase in their ability to become more introspective in their personal work. Several participants reported having more patience and compassion with themselves and others, even if they did not know the other person’s typology.

Capstone Evaluation:  Participants were queried verbally on their understanding of their typology and how it relates to their way of being in their life after receiving their test results verbally, and then again, after their Gestalt experience.

Prior to the experiential learning, all participants demonstrated a low level of recall as to their alpha and numerical test results and the meaning of the same. The category of Extrovert/Introvert was an exception. In some cases, there was zero retention of the explanations that were given verbally.

After the GCM® experience, clients were able to confidently describe, not only their letters, but also their numbers and how these influenced one’s persona and personal presentation to others. In later sessions, participants made references to their typology without prompting. With the heightened awareness of their topology, there was a noticeable increased ability for clients to intensify their level of introspection and resolve their issues more quickly.

Future Directions: The obvious increase in the understanding, retention, and application of knowledge of one’s typology, after a GCM® experience, invites further examination.

Future study efforts could include looking at how a client’s typological acuity informs, and thus facilitates, the coach’s therapeutic process.

Additionally, looking at what role the equine co-coach plays in the exploration of the client’s typology and how their personal growth is positively altered with this added element.

Acknowledgments: Gratitude and thanks to Melisa Pearce for serving as a mentor, trainer and guide; Peggy MacArthur for being a mentor and friend; Lorrin Maughn for guidance and support during initial training; Risa August for getting me through the home stretch of master training; my equine partners, Kit Kat and Rolo, for being as passionate to work with clients as I am. And, for the late Klondike Bar who continues to lift my energy from the other side of the vail.


Keirsey, D and Bates, M. (1984). Please Understand Me, Fifth Edition: Prometheus Nemesis Book Company

Pearce, M and Fitzpatrick, C. (2015). Equusology: Touched by a Horse®, Inc