Do Psychologists Use Enneagrams? (A Complete Understanding)

This article will take a look at whether psychologists use enneagrams when they are practicing and also what different views exist with regards to the enneagram typology. The article will also highlight what enneagrams are and who is considered a psychologist.

Do Psychologists Use Enneagrams?

Some psychologists do use enneagrams because they are a good way to classify people into different personality types as well as describe their behaviours in detail. Generally, human behaviour is quite predictable if we can study it deep enough and understand the person and their background as well as their intent. 

Hence, enneagrams may not be scientific but they are definitely a good way to classify a person’s personality for ease and deeper understanding as well as further research.

In this article, we will discuss two classes of psychologists and their opinions when it comes to enneagrams. Also, we will discuss what enneagrams basically are.

Psychologists & Enneagrams – The 2 Views

Psychologists hold either of the 2 views when it comes to enneagrams:

  • Proponents
  • Critics

Let us discuss these views in more detail.

Proponents

This group of psychologists actually encourage the use of enneagrams in their practice because they believe this model of personality is quite unique and practical. The way the enneagram system defines the different personality types as well as acknowledges the fact that people may possess various elements of personality – the concept of wings – is pretty interesting and unique. It hence acknowledges the fact that people can be a blend of personalities rather than just put into one box.

The personalities defined are quite unique and although they may seem to overlap, what distinguishes them is their inner core beliefs, fears and desires which the enneagram model also lists and discusses.

Critics

Critics include those psychologists who reject the enneagram model as well as other models such as the MBTI inventory of personalities; they believe there is either not enough evidence to define these models as scientific or they are not holistic enough in their approach.

Critics hence rely on other tools and theories rather than the enneagram and MBTI models.

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.

At the same time, this personality system assumes and believes that no one person is of a single type – that is they cannot be a type 1 or type 9 purely but will be influenced by other adjacent types that are also known as wings. These wings influence but do not change the overall personality type.

Who Is A Psychologist

Psychologists focus on treating children, adolescents, adults and elderly people using psychotherapy. They diagnose patients using medical tests, psychological and emotional assessments and even observation. They also use medication to an extent to treat clients but unlike psychiatrists, they are trained to employ psycho and behavioral therapy. Most fields of psychology require a doctorate (Ph.D. or PsyD); all psychologists must fulfill state requirements for providing psychiatric care and services before being granted a license

Are Enneagrams Real?

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!

Examples Of Enneagrams – 3 Enneagrams

In this section, the article will list three enneagrams to give the audience a basic understanding of the topic.

Who Is An Enneagram Type 1?

The enneagram type 1 is also known as the Reformer because of their desire to change the world for the better – they believe they are on a mission to set things right! They are rational and idealistic and can be described by the terms self disciplined, purposeful, possibly perfectionists and hold values high.

These individuals are always on the move to make things better but they have this fear that they may make a mistake. Nonetheless they strive to produce perfect output and this may make them over critical of not only their own self but that of others too. This also causes them stress and anxiety as they are worried things may not go as planned – which is usually the case when it comes to life!

  • Strong Moral Values
  • Against Corruption
  • Judgemental
  • Integrity
  • Right & Wrong

Who Is An Enneagram Type 2?

An enneagram type 2 is also known as the Helper because of their desire to help others and make their tasks easier or remove any burden upon them.  They are very caring and have great interpersonal skills that allow them to interact with people to help them and understand their situation and needs. Personality traits used to describe type 2s include possessive, demonstrative, helpful and people pleasing.

People with this type are very empathetic and have profound emotional intelligence thus it makes them more approachable and appealing to people who are in need of help and find it difficult to ask. They are friendly, generous and self sacrificing hence they overlook their own needs to fulfill those of others!

  • Invests In Relationship
  • Generous
  • Genuine
  • Loyal
  • Desires Attention

Who Is A Type 3 Enneagram?

A type 3 enneagram is also called the ‘Achiever’ because of their desire that drives them to accomplish the big things in life. They are very hard working; putting in much time and energy in their work in order to achieve the success they desire!

These individuals are known to be very confident and have high levels of self efficacy, determination and the will to compete with others. However, they are also concerned about how others think of them and their image in the public which is sometimes very stressful.

However, there is a dark side to these enneagrams as well! When their personality integrates, usually because their fear has taken over or they are experiencing failure at multiple fronts, the type 3 enneagram’s darker traits come to life.

If they are insecure and feel humiliated, they will try to ensure that others do not succeed either so that others feel it was the situation that caused the failure and not the person themself. If it gets serious, they can become obsessive with ruining things for others especially if it reminds them of what they could not achieve. If they can’t have happiness then no one should!

  • Hardworking
  • Ambitious
  • Image Conscious
  • Gets Stressed Out


The Enneagram Types – What Are They?

In total, there are 9 enneagram types that have been listed below:

  • Type 1 – Reformer
  • Type 2 – Helper
  • Type 3 – Achiever
  • Type 4 – Individualist
  • Type 5 – Investigator
  • Type 6 – Loyalist
  • Type 7 – Enthusiast
  • Type 8 – Challenger
  • Type 9 – Peacemaker

Conclusion

This article took an in-depth approach when it comes to the views of psychologists on the enneagram model. It first explained the different views that psychologists have on the enneagram model and why. The article also explained what enneagrams were and whether or not they are real. The article went on to further explain what a psychologist is and also provided three examples of enneagrams to help the audience to understand more about the topic.

References

https://www.quora.com/What-do-psychologists-think-of-the-Enneagram
https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
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