Based on the theories of Carl Jung, and published in his 1921 work, Psychological Types, is a personality questionnaire published by CPP, Inc. known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, during World War II, it identifies different types of psychological personalities.
The original Keirsey test I took a few years back indicated that I was an INFP, or Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceptive individual; what is now termed "Idealist Healer".
According to the report, Idealists are enthuisastic, romantic, self-seekers who trust their own intuition, prize meaningful relationships and dream of attaining wisdom. They pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic and tend to be "giving, trusting, and spiritual" and focus on personal journeys and human potentials. Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.
The "healer" aspect, has the following meaning, according to the report and website:
Healers are concerned with keeping the world whole and complete and will make great sacrifices for causes they believe in. They like to develop deep relationships with others and be a source of personal growth ideas and practices.
Healers like to have time to reflect on their thoughts, ideas, or pending decisions and like to give people a lot of space to do the same. They encourage curiosity and compassion, and often create a harmonious environment in which people can explore opportunities and express themselves.
Another site has this to say about the formerly-titled INFP-personality:
INFPs are quiet, creative , sensitive and perceptive souls who often strike others as shy, reserved and cool. These folks have a rare capacity for deep caring and commitment--both to the people and causes they idealise. INFPs guide their behavior by a strong inner sense of values, rather than by convential logic and reason. Forced to cope with this facts-and-figures 'real' world we inhabit, INFPs may appear to have been imported from another galaxy! They gravitate toward creative or human service careers which allow them to use their instinctive sense of empathy and remarkable communication skills. Strongly religious, spiritual or philosophical people, INFPs may see the purpose of their lives as an inner journey, quest or personal unfolding. More practical or rational types may tend to discredit the INFP's sources or understanding as mystical. The search for a soulmate is a preoccupation for many INFPs , who must balance their need for privacy and peace with their yearning for human connection. If there seems to be an air of sadness INFP's spirit, blame it on this type's longing for the perfect in all things.
Which all, I'd have to say, is pretty damn accurate. Especially poignant, for me, was this write-up on stress and the INFP-personality by Doug Dean:
INFPs feel internal turmoil when they find themselves in situations in which there is conflict between their inner code of ethics and their relationships with others. They feel caught between pleasing others and maintaining their own integrity. Their natural tendency to identify with others, compounded with their self-sacrificial dispositions, tends to leave them confused as to who they really are. Their quiet personalities further feeds their feelings of depersonalization. The INFP's quest for self-identity then seems even more alluring - but increasingly impossible to attain.
As with all NFs, the INFP will feel lost and perplexed at stressful times. As stress builds, INFPs become disconnected from their own personality and perceived place in life. They will lose sight of who they are in relation to time and place. They may not make basic observations, while instead they will focus on the more abstract and symbolic meanings of a particular interaction. This can sometimes baffle those who expect more direct communication and a fairly concrete relationship.
This webpage has a wonderful and thorough write-up - including some of the bits above - on the INFP personality. For more on the updated, and newly-titled Idealist Healer, I recommend you visit this webpage.
2015 Update: Recently I retook the test, and was told I am an INFP-T (Mediator). At 16Personalities - where I took the latest test - there is a great rundown of the INFP personality type, which 4% of the population belong to.
It is long and hard and painful to create life: it is short and easy to steal the life others have made.
- George Bernard Shaw.