5 Reasons Why An Enneagram Therapist Isn't the Right Choice for You!
Let me give you the straight-talk express about someone claiming to be an ‘Enneagram Therapist.’
Because there are no validated scientific-based Enneagram theories that exist, there isn’t a program that trains therapists to be “Enneagram Therapists.”
Does this mean that there will never be a licensed ‘Enneagram Therapist’ in the future?
The Enneagram may- someday- be proven to have scientific validity.
If that day comes, then you will begin to see therapists that specialize in the subject.
To be clear: It’s not that evidence points against the Enneagram as a personality test.
It’s that there is an absence of research on the topic.
It is interesting to note that in 2020, The American Journal of Psychiatry Residents’ Journal published an article entitled, “The Enneagram: A Primer For Psychiatry Residents.”
I wanted to highlight this because it shows that some in the medical community (including a peer-reviewed medical journal) are accepting the Enneagram as a valuable tool… and it is entering the mainstream medical establishment- to whatever small degree.
I’m glad this is the case for several reasons:
- When I engage in day-to-day conversations with people that are familiar with the Enneagram, I find that most people find it a very helpful tool for understanding themselves.
I don’t know about you, but when I learned my Enneagram type, I felt almost exposed… like someone had read my journal and shined the light on my less-than-stellar personality characteristics.
- If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know that research has found that you have to “name it to tame it.”
In other words, if you don’t know what you are feeling, you can’t tend to your feelings.
Many people I hear from say that the Enneagram names things that they haven’t been able to put words to.
Thus, it may help you become more self-aware and break out of how you unconsciously react.
“The Enneagram doesn’t put us in a box. It shows us the box we are already in!”
- The Enneagram describes core motivations, needs, and fears. It lays them out clearly and succinctly. Your unnamed motives, needs, and fears may be the issues that keep you stuck in life. Therefore, for some people, it can be used as a roadmap.
- Even if there is never strong scientific evidence that backs the Enneagram, it can be used as a tool to get curious and investigate your worldview, core beliefs, and relationship dynamics.
What’s a person to do if they want a therapist that has specialized knowledge about the Enneagram?
Here are three options:
- Seek out a therapist that has knowledge and additional training regarding the Enneagram. Check to see if they regularly incorporate it into their practice.
- Use a different scientifically valid and reliable personality test. Both Hogan Personality Inventory and the Big Five personality tests fit the bill.
- Seek out a spiritual director
which leads me to…
The 5 Reasons Why An Enneagram Therapist Isn't the Right Choice for You…
AND A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR MAY BE A BETTER BET!
1. The Enneagram was developed within various spiritual traditions.
In other words, it’s not based on psychology but on spirituality.
Therefore, the people with the most knowledge and ability to apply the Enneagram to your specific life will be found within various spiritual traditions (including Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism).
The people with the greatest expertise and knowledge base tend to be spiritual directors.
2. Spiritual directors aren’t therapists. Additionally, their vocation does not require a degree. It does require a two-year program where they become certified… but again, they are not licensed.
3. Most of the certificate programs provide advanced training on the Enneagram.
This is unlike licensed counselors/therapists/psychologists who do not get any training on the Enneagram… unless they seek it out.
4. In their training, most spiritual direction programs take a deep dive into the Enneagram.
5. Trainees become highly educated on the nuances of the nine types. They learn to conduct Enneagram typing interviews. They gain specific inquiry-based interview skills and are required to practice these skills in order to gain competency.
Put simply, all spiritual directors go through extensive Enneagram training.
Therapists aren’t required to go through any training.
Some therapists have elected to undergo formal Enneagram training.
You may be asking, what’s my Enneagram background?
Because I earned an M.Div with an emphasis on Spirituality at Earlham School of Religion, I was required to spend time studying the Enneagram.
While I am by no means an Enneagram expert, I do have training in the subject.
Are you ready to give therapy a go!