New Series - Enneagram and Social Psychology
Dear Fellow Enneagram-Aficionados,
Although the field of academic psychology does not currently intersect widely with the study of the Enneagram (with some exceptions - see note below for details), there is a well-developed tradition in psychology of studying related topics such as individual differences, motivation and personality, both for individuals and in a social context.
For those not familiar with the area known as social psychology - it comprises a fairly wide discipline that generally involves empirical experiments involving how people interact with and perceive one another. Though much of social psychology seeks to model human behavior in a general context (across individual differences), there are also many studies that probe personality dimensions, some clearly overlapping with those underlying the Enneagram.
Two regular members of our group have current or recent experience doing graduate study in this area (Barbara in Social-Organizational Psychology; Nicholas in Social-Cognitive Psychology). We will leverage their recent experience to see what we can learn as a group from contemporary research psychology, particularly those areas that have an immediate application to issues of concern in our lives.
Session one - April 2 - Attachment Theory (Nicholas presenting)
The area of attachment theory - pioneered by psychologists like Bowlby and Ainsworth - has to do with various forms of secure and insecure attachment-bonds, originally formed in infancy with caregivers and also patterned in relationships through adult life, often in ways thought to reflect long-term patterns.
We'll discuss a very brief overview of current research in this area, and perhaps as a group take a simple (short) assessment-test (just a few written, multiple-choice questions - for those willing - results to be discussed at a future meeting). There will be time afterwards for open discussion, of this and other Enneagram-related areas.
A Note on the Enneagram and Academic Psychology
There are many reasons for the fact that the Enneagram is so little studied by psychologists today: first, the system's roots in spiritual development groups gives it a foreign flavor for science-based psychology. Another reason surely has to with the difficulty of ascertaining people's Ennegram types with sufficient objectivity, based on a simple and convenient test or criterion. (Though there are several published tests, these are acknowledged to be imperfect -- but then again, other, typically simpler personality measures used in experimental psychology are also subject to error.)
For those interested, there are a (very) few dissertations on the subject (easily searchable on the web), and the IEA maintains a list of Ennegram classes currently taught at universities at http://www.internationalenneagram.org/education/index.html, but these latter are made up of a somewhat hodgepodge group of psychology, counseling, and management/business offerings.