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Supine Temperament

For many years, there have been four generally accepted temperament types. As a result of study by Drs. Richard & Phyllis Arno of the National Christian Counselors Association, the Supine temperament was added to the list and incorporated into the Arno Profile System.


Up until that time in 1984 there were people that didn’t “fit” into any of the other four temperaments. It is important to understand that, as for all types, temperament cannot be accurately assessed just by observation; temperament analysis via the Arno Profile System is necessary to accurately identify a person’s temperament.

The dictionary definition of Supine is “lying on the back or with the face turned upward.” Some dictionaries go on to say “having no interest or care, inactive, negligent, listless.” It must be noted that the NCCA’s choice of the name Supine is based ONLY on the first definition of “lying on the back or with the face turned upward.”, like a servant looking up to their master.

There are three areas of the temperament: Inclusion (social interaction, surface relationships and intellectual energies), Control (decision making abilities, willingness to take on responsibilities, and the need for independence) and Affection (the need for love and affection and for deep personal relationships). Few people are the same temperament in all three areas. Let’s now look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Supine in these three areas.

Inclusion Strengths of the Supine:

A great capacity for service, liking people, and the desire to serve others. The possess an inborn gentle spirit.

Inclusion Weaknesses of the Supine:

Indirect behavior that expects others to read their mind, high fear of rejection, and harboring anger viewed as “hurt feelings”.

Control Strengths of the Supine:

Dependability, ability to enforce “the policies” set by others and to serve those they follow, their caretakers, with absolute loyalty.

Control Weaknesses of The Supine:

Aggressive disorders, open dependence, defensive against loss of position, weak willpower, a tendency to feel powerless and at the mercy of others.

Affection Strengths of the Supine:

The ability to respond to love and to open up emotionally when they feel emotionally “safe.” If treated properly, they are capable of absolute and total commitment to deep personal relationships.

Affection Weaknesses of the Supine:

The inability to initiate love and affection. They require constant reassurance that they are loved, needed, and appreciated

While this is just a brief overview of the Supine temperament, you can see the importance of learning to live in the strengths of one’s temperament instead of living in the weaknesses. The Supine temperament is a beautiful temperament; it “naturally” has “the servant’s heart.” The Supine just like the other temperaments can be open to abuse, unless they learn to live in the strengths of their temperament under the control of Christ.