The Supine Temperament

For centuries, there had been four generally-accepted human typologies. Amazingly, in 1981, after extensive research, Drs. Richard and Phyllis Arno of the National Christian Counselors Association discovered a fifth temperament — the Supine — which was added to the other four inborn natures that had been understood for centuries.

Prior to the discovery of the Supine temperament there were people that didn’t “fit” into any of the existing four categories.  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 (APS) is necessary in order to accurately identify a person’s temperament.

The Supine Is A Servant

Young woman serving African child

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.” 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.

On a separate page on this site entitled “The Temperament Advantage”, I went into detail about the three areas of human interaction. Here is just a brief review of those basic natures: 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).

Research has found that only two percent of the tens of thousands of individuals who’ve completed the APS profile possess the very same temperament type in all three of these relational areas. Suffice it to say then, every human being is created with a unique combination of several of the possible temperament types.

Specific to the Supine temperament, here are some of the strengths and weaknesses an individual may possess:

Strengths of The Supine

Inclusion — Mind
They have a great capacity for service, liking people, and the desire to serve others. They possess an inborn gentle spirit.

Control — Will
They are highly dependable. They tend to enforce “the rules” set by others, and willingly serve those they follow (i.e. caretakers, bosses, leaders) with absolute loyalty.

Affection — Emotion
They have 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.

Weaknesses of The Supine

Inclusion — Mind
They exhibit indirect behavior that expects others to read their mind. They have a fear of rejection, and tend to harbor anger, yet refer to it as “hurt feelings.”

Control — Will
They often possess aggressive disorders. They can be openly dependent. Will become defensive against loss of position. Due to their weak willpower, they have a tendency to feel powerless and at the mercy of others.

Affection — Emotion
They seem to be unwilling to initiate love and affection. They require constant reassurance that they are loved, needed, and appreciated. They fear abandonment, which can cause them to have difficulty letting go of someone they love.

Contact Us To Discover Your God-Given, Inborn Temperament

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.