What Exactly Is the Enneagram? A Counselor’s Take

What exactly is the enneagram? A counselors take

Mental health counselor William B. Bowes gives a clinician’s perspective on the Enneagram and cautions us against deterministic thinking in this Christian Post article.

Several weeks ago I was in a coffee shop near Boston, and unlike many of the patrons, I actually had come simply to buy coffee. If you have noticed, the coffee shop in our time has become an especially popular place for young people to congregate and talk about ideas in a way not unlike how I would imagine the marketplace Athenians in Acts 17:21. If you have either been around younger people of this sort or perused some of the more popular youth-oriented magazines and newspapers, I do not doubt that you will have heard of the Enneagram. While I was getting my coffee that day, I overheard a certain conversation where a young man attributed some of his behaviors and circumstances to the fact that he is “a two” on the Enneagram.

Because the Enneagram is related to psychology and I work in mental health, I hear this sort of language often. Even so, it has found its way out of the personality psychology world and into just about every other area of life, including the life of the church. At the time of this writing I simply searched “Enneagram” on the website of a popular Christian publication and over 30 articles were written about it directly or indirectly about it in the last two years. We are all very interested in the Enneagram. But before we decide whether that is good or bad, or whether we should even care, we have to answer a more important question: What is it?

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