Are Enneagrams A Part Of Psychology?

This article will take a look at what enneagrams are and explain whether they are a part of psychology despite the fact that they are focused on the topic of personality. Furthermore, the article will shed light on what the scientific method is and what components enneagrams are made of!

Are Enneagrams A Part Of Psychology?

Enneagrams are not a part of psychology because the discipline of psychology is defined as the scientific study of the mind and behaviour hence it entails the scientific method which has some certain standards; these standards are not met by the enneagram system which are mostly theoretical in nature and based on untested assumptions and purely observation based findings – no experimentation is involved.

What Is The Scientific Method?

The main element in the scientific method is the element of observation! Observation refers to the process whereby an external stimulus is perceived by our senses and catches our attention to the extent that we are curious enough to want to learn more about it! Take an example! The first time an apple fell on Newton’s head is an example of observation; he saw this happen and this prompted him to study why something like this would occur – why would things fall down for example and not up!

Making an observation is the first step in the scientific method! We will take a look at the rest of the steps in the next section.

Enneagrams are not backed by any scientific evidence nor has extensive research been done on them. Despite this, they have been gaining widespread popularity and people use them everyday to study their own selves and others too. The popularity this personality system has gained shows that it accurately defines people and their traits and behaviours.

Not much is known about its history and it is rumoured to pull its roots from a number of traditions. A philosopher, as well as mystic known by the name of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, has been identified and given recognition for bringing the Enneagram figure to the attention of the world, although he did not use it to categorize personality types. Oscar Ichazo, the founder of a school for human potential and self-development, assigned different personality types to each of the nine positions in the Enneagram diagram.

Later, psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo expanded the theory to expand the nine types in psychological terms.

Despite the clouded mystery of where this personality system came from, it has gained much worldwide popularity to the extent that it is used frequently by people all over the world!

The 6 Steps Of The Scientific Method

Here are the 6 steps of the scientific method:

  • Make an observation.
  • Ask a question.
  • Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
  • Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  • Test the prediction.
  • Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

We will understand each of these steps with the help of an example.

Make An Observation

You wanted to ride your bike today but you saw that the tyres are flat and hence they have no air in them!

Ask A Question

You may start wondering immediately why your bike’s tyres are flat!

Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.

Some explanations may pop up in your head or you may force your brain to think about what happened. It is possible some naughty kid’s decided to play a prank or you rode over some bad patches on the road that caused your tyres to burst!

Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.

You can make a prediction based on the hypothesis that if you ride your bike in a more ‘safe’ environment or make sure the gate is locked then your tyres won’t end up in this state.

Test The Prediction

Now you have to test the prediction – this may take a while in the example we are using.


Use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions. If your prediction is correct then take this information to guide your behaviour so that your bike remains safe. Also, if it is not correct then explore other avenues.

Enneagrams And Their Validity

The enneagram test is legit to a large extent because it does provide reliable results and people often agree with what enneagram they are associated with. The fact that enneagrams may not be scientific does not necessarily mean they are not reliable either.

Bustle reported that “The website Statistical Solutions reported that The Enneagram Institute’s Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) is 72 percent accurate, which is a pretty high score for this type of test. “Studies concluded the instrument as scientifically ‘valid and reliable’ as a test instrument with ‘solid psychometrics.’ The internal consistency reliability scores show that the RHETI ranges from 56 [percent] to 82 [percent] accurate on various types; with an overall accuracy of 72 [percent].”

Also, the enneagram system is quite accurate because it takes into account many factors which other systems do not. For example, it recognizes the fact that a person may have traits from two personalities and hence the concept of ‘wings’ is present in this system. The enneagram system also realizes that people are motivated by fears and desires that also shape their personality. All these factors help make this system more reliable and hence legit.

What Are Enneagrams? 

The enneagram is a typology system which describes human behaviour as a set of interrelated parts with each part having unique characteristics and behaviours or a set of defining traits that distinguish it from other parts in the system. This typology has a total of 9 parts of enneagrams that have different personalities and hence titles. For example, there is the enneagram type 1 which is also known as the Reformer and they have unique traits such as strong moral values, strive for integrity and may at times be judgemental.

Enneagrams – The Components That Make Them Up

In this section we will take a look at the components that not only make up the enneagram system but also make them unique from other personality systems like that of the MBTI.


Like other personality typologies, the enneagram one also highlights the traits of the personalities it has in its system. For every enneagram it has, it has highlighted a distinct set of traits that describe the enneagram in a detailed manner so people have an idea of how they behave. For example, one enneagram may be bold and courageous while another may be shy and quiet.


Each enneagram has a set of strengths that differentiate it from other enneagrams and adds to its overall personality. These strengths are also indirectly related to its desires that give it the motivation to move on in life. Some enneagrams may have strengths like being able to remain calm in a stressful situation while others may be great negotiators; each enneagram has their own set of strengths.


Naturally, strengths are accompanied by weaknesses so each enneagram also has a set of weaknesses that stem from its fears. Nonetheless, these weaknesses make the enneagram vulnerable to the outside world and may include ones like not being able to sustain relationships, becoming afraid of confronting someone about their behaviour or being unable to take a stand for themselves.


What is quite unique about the enneagram typology is that it highlights the fears of each enneagram. The fears of an enneagram are quite integral to their personality and affect other components such as desires and weaknesses. An enneagram usually has one central theme for a fear such as the fear of being controlled or the fear of not being loved.


It is natural to have desires and hence enneagrams also have their own desires. Similar to fears, the enneagram type usually has one central theme for a desire such as becoming quite powerful or gaining love and recognition.


A very unique thing about the enneagram system is the fact that it acknowledges that personalities may overlap and they represent this through the use of wings. Enneagrams may share traits from ‘neighboring’ enneagrams. So, for example, the type 5 enneagram may have a wing from either the type 4 or 6 enneagram.


This article took a look at whether or not enneagrams are considered an important part of psychology because of the fact that they focus on personality and what it is. Furthermore, the article talked about the scientific method and provided an in-depth introduction to enneagrams.