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What is the JPAQ?
The concept of Personality Adaptations was first conceived by Paul Ware, MD a psychiatrist in Shreveport, LA, and Taibi Kahler, Ph.D., a psychologist in Little Rock, AR. Vann Joines, Ph.D. a psychologist in Chapel Hill, NC further developed it. The basic idea is that there are just so many ways an individual can adapt as a child in order to survive psychologically and to meet the expectations of one’s parents. As children, we all developed the adaptations that worked best in our family of origin. Dr. Ware identified six of these basic personality adaptations. Since these are adaptive rather than pathologic, Dr. Joines gave them descriptive names to represent both the positive and negative aspects of each. The six adaptations are:

Creative-Daydreamer - originally called Schizoid

Charming-Manipulator - originally called Antisocial

Brilliant-Skeptic - originally called Paranoid

Playful Resister - originally called Passive-Aggressive

Responsible Workaholic - originally called Obsessive-Compulsive

Enthusiastic-Overreactor - originally called Histrionic

The first three are called “surviving” adaptations and represent the best option an individual saw for taking care of him or herself in childhood when it felt like he or she could not rely on the environment.

The second three are called “performing” adaptations and represent how the child tried to be okay with the big people around him or her.

When under sufficient stress in the present, each of us will still use one or more of the “surviving” adaptations to try to take care of ourselves. Under more normal circumstances, each of us will still use one or more of the “performing” adaptations in order to try to meet the expectations of others around us.

These adaptations are universal and result from a combination of genetic programming and early life experiences. An individual can have any of the adaptations and be totally healthy or anywhere on the traditional spectrum of psychopathology.

Each individual is a unique combination of these adaptive styles. Knowing the adaptations helps us understand and appreciate ourselves and others. Each adaptation has certain strengths, possible pitfalls, areas for growth, and specific preferences for making contact and interacting with others. By learning about the adaptations we can improve our relationships with those around us. Let us now look at each of the adaptations.