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The effect of the Enneagram on psychological well-being and unconditional self-acceptance of young adults

Dissertation
Author: Jeanne Godin
Abstract:
This quasi-experimental study investigated whether the knowledge of the Enneagram system affects unconditional self-acceptance and psychological well-being of university students who have been attending university for at least a year. It also measured the correlation between the total scores on the psychological well-being instrument and unconditional self-acceptance questionnaire. A two-group design was employed, wherein a control and an experimental group completed a pre- and two post-tests on psychological well-being and unconditional self-acceptance. The randomly selected experimental group received three weekly educational sessions on the Enneagram system. Results show that the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system does not have a significant effect on psychological well-being. Due to a small sample size and violation of the assumptions required to conduct an ANCOVA it was not possible to determine if the knowledge of the Enneagram affects unconditional self-acceptance. Findings indicate also a low to moderate positive correlation between the Unconditional self-acceptance questionnaire Chamberlain and Haaga (2001a) and Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale (1989). Recommendations include using a larger sample, changing the number of educational sessions or their format, and using an additional test to measure irrational thoughts. Therefore, in a future study it may be favorable that the intervention be an integral part of a family and consumer sciences university course. Finally, despite the results of this study there are some indicators that suggest the Enneagram system be taught in schools and university to help prepare students to be more conscious of how marketing agencies may manipulate such knowledge to their advantage. Keywords. psychological well-being, unconditional self-acceptance, Enneagram, personality, family and consumer sciences.

ii TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ………………………………………………… . iv LIST OF FIGURES..…………………………………….…............. v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ………………………………………... vi ABSTRACT………………………………………………………… viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background of study ………………………………………… 1 Significance of study ………………………………………… 5 Research questions …………………………………………... 9 Key terms ……………………………………………………. 10 Assumptions …………………………………………………. 11 Limitations …………………………………………………… 11 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Theoretical perspective ..……………………………………. 12 REBT and personality ………………………………. 15 REBT and unconditional self-acceptance…………… 17 Related research……………………………………………. . 18 Unconditional self-acceptance ……………………… 18 The Enneagram system ……………………………… 22 Psychological well-being …………………………… 28 CHAPTER 3 METHOD Rationale …………………………………………………… 33 Design ……………………………………………………….. 33 Participants…………… …………………………………...... 33 Instrumentation ………………………………………………. 38 Intervention…. ………………………………………………. 42 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Data analysis………………………………………………... 45 Results……..………………………………………………... 46 Discussion…………………………………………………... 54

iii Summary and recommendations…………………………… 58 REFERENCES ……………………………………………………… 62 APPENDIX A: Family and consumer sciences Body of knowledge model. ……………………………………………… 74 APPENDIX B: Nine Enneagram personality types and other typologies ... 75 APPENDIX C: Research Ethics Board of Mount Allison University.. 76 APPENDIX D: Reply email confirming approval from Mount Allison University…………………………………… 78 APPENDIX E: Institutional Review Board of Iowa State University. 79 APPENDIX F: Consent form……………………..…………………. 81 APPENDIX G: Questionnaire………………………..………………. 83

iv

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Participants’ Attendance………………………….………….. 39 Table 2 Psychometric Properties of Subscales of PWB ….………….. 40 Table 3 Descriptive Statistics for Total Scores ……………………… 47 Table 4 Means and Adjusted Means ………………………….…….. 48 Table 5 Intercorrelations Between PWB and USA Scales ………….. 54

v LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. The Enneagram system ….……………………………….. 3 Figure 2. Assumption of linearity between psychological well-being total score at Time 1and Time 3 (violated) ……………….. 50 Figure 3. Assumption of linearity between unconditional self-acceptance total score at Time 1 and Time 3 (violated). 50 Figure 4. Assumption of linearity between unconditional self-acceptance total score at Time 1 and Time 3 (violated). 51 Figure 5. Assumption of linearity between psychological well-being total score at Time 1 and Time 2 (not violated) ………….. 51

vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The completion of a project of this magnitude cannot be accomplished successfully without the help and support of many. First, I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks and gratitude to my committee members. My co-major professors, Dr. Cheryl Hausafus and Dr. Linda Peterat showed continuous support by sharing their knowledge and expertise and by providing feedback throughout this research. Special thanks to Dr. Peterat who kindly received my weekly early morning calls with patience and understanding. To Dr. Nathaniel Wade, Dr. Mack Shelley, and Dr. Penny Ralston, your dedication and input to this project was immensely appreciated. Second, I am thankful to Dr. David Bruce, Chair of the Mount Allison University Research Ethics Board and to the participants of this research. Your help and commitment made this endeavour possible. Thanks also to the New Brunswick Home Economics Association for the financial support needed to complete this venture. I also wish to thank my best friend Nicole Marquis for being my confidante, my cheerleader and also my English language corrector! You are a model of dedication and a visionary, two qualities which have inspired me to stay focused and motivated during the past five years. To Henri Gibbs, who has closely witnessed my ups and downs during the process of completing this degree: thank you for being in my life. Your advice and great company led me not only to persevere but also to enjoy life in between deadlines.

vii MERCI to my family: my Papa Aurèle, my sisters Dolorès, Marie, Colette, and Catherine and my brothers Gérard-Raymond and Paul-Émile. Finally, the last grateful words go to my Maman Ovilda who, from above, has been my guiding strength.

viii ABSTRACT

This quasi-experimental study investigated whether the knowledge of the Enneagram system affects unconditional self-acceptance and psychological well-being of university students who have been attending university for at least a year. It also measured the correlation between the total scores on the psychological well-being instrument and unconditional self-acceptance questionnaire. A two-group design was employed, wherein a control and an experimental group completed a pre- and two post-tests on psychological well-being and unconditional self-acceptance. The randomly selected experimental group received three weekly educational sessions on the Enneagram system. Results show that the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system does not have a significant effect on psychological well-being. Due to a small sample size and violation of the assumptions required to conduct an ANCOVA it was not possible to determine if the knowledge of the Enneagram affects unconditional self-acceptance. Findings indicate also a low to moderate positive correlation between the Unconditional self-acceptance questionnaire Chamberlain and Haaga (2001a) and Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale (1989). Recommendations include using a larger sample, changing the number of educational sessions or their format, and using an additional test to measure irrational thoughts. Therefore, in a future study it may be favorable that the intervention be an integral part of a family and consumer sciences university course. Finally, despite the results of this study there are some indicators that suggest the Enneagram system be taught in schools and

ix university to help prepare students to be more conscious of how marketing agencies may manipulate such knowledge to their advantage.

Keywords: psychological well-being, unconditional self-acceptance, Enneagram, personality, family and consumer sciences

1 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

Background of study

The well-being of individuals and families has been central to the mission of family and consumer sciences educators for over 100 years (International Federation for Home Economics, 2010). The current family and consumer sciences body of knowledge model prepared by Nickols, Ralston, Anderson, Browne, Schroeder, Thomas, and Wild (2009) outlines the conceptual scope of the field. One of the core concepts of the model is individual well-being which the authors characterize as being “a central tenet of family and consumer sciences” (p. 273). Brown and Paolucci (1979), who philosophically defined the field, state that the family, being one of the primary agents of socialization, instils ways of thinking in their children, which then dictates how they will interact with others. Brown and Paolucci (1979) and Brown (1993) add that self reflection and self-knowledge can help identify thought patterns that may be detrimental to individuals, their families and other interpersonal relationships and thus hamper their well-being. Their claim implies that individuals should critically look at thought patterns that have developed through socialization and seek to identify those that promote personal well-being and those that should be reassessed, abandoned or changed. Although Brown and Paolucci propose that self-knowledge is an important means to achieving well-being and that the family and consumer sciences educator’s role is to assist individuals and families to achieve a better state of well-being, they provide little guidance on how this can be accomplished. The Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory (REBT) developed by Ellis (Ellis & Abrams, 2009) suggests that the concept self-knowledge is part of the broader concept of

2 unconditional self-acceptance. Ellis explains that everyone possesses levels of self- knowledge but the key factor to improving one’s well-being is through unconditional self- acceptance (USA). According to Ellis’s theory and Chamberlain (1999), Chamberlain and Haaga (2001a, 2001b), and Davies’ (2006) research, personality plays a critical role in self- acceptance. Besides the work of these authors, there is limited evidence about how USA can be improved and if it affects well-being. The knowledge of the Enneagram system (Dallaire, 2000, 2004, 2010; De Lassus, 2006; Riso & Hudson, 1999), a theory based on nine personality types, has helped me gain USA and enhance relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers, and therefore improved my well-being. The Enneagram is called a system because it provides knowledge beyond the identification of one’s personality type (Riso & Hudson, 1999). This system provides not only information about one’s personality type assessed with the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, but also knowledge of how and why each type will possess certain qualities or favor certain actions over others (Enneagram Institute, 2010). It also explains the relationship and interconnectedness between each type, as shown in Figure 1. Therefore, the Enneagram system, according to De Lassus (2006), helps individuals understand and accept not only themselves, but also others which can lead to more compassionate relationships and improved well-being. The Enneagram has been investigated in a few research studies. Wagner (1981), Wagner and Walker (1983), Newgent (2001), Newgent, Parr, and Newman (2002), Newgent, Parr, Newman, and Higgins (2004), Bartman and Brown (2005), and Brown and Bartram (2005) evaluated the reliability and validity of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, the instrument used to identify the personality type. Cohen (2007) suggests applications of

3 the Enneagram to psychological assessment and Matise (2007) promotes the Enneagram as a tool in counseling relationships. Jervis (2006) argues its symbolism and contemporary use. Kale and Shirvastava (2001), Kale and De (2006), and Kamineni (2005) discussed how the knowledge of the Enneagram system could be applied to human resources sub-functions such as recruitment and selection, training and development, performance appraisal, pay and, compensation and motivation.

Figure 1 The Enneagram system Besides the concept of personality, King (2007), Russell (2008), and Thogersen- Ntoumani and Fox (2005) attest that the concept of well-being is being researched more, especially because it has been linked to better health, increased job satisfaction and productivity, and decreased absenteeism from work. For example, there is much research on measuring the different types of well-being of individuals such as the psychological well- being (PWB) of affluent children (Luthar & Latendresse, 2005), the economical and PWB of children and family structure (Brown, 2004), the capabilities of well-being and the ageing population of New Zealand by King (2007), and the effect of parental work stress on children’s and adolescents’ PWB (Blustein, 2008; Crouter & Bumpus, 2001). The effects of parental divorce on the well-being of children (Strohschein, 2005) and adults (Amato &

4 Keith, 1991) have also been studied. Hence, no extant research has specifically investigated if the knowledge of the Enneagram system could improve PWB. As a family and consumer sciences professor at the Université de Moncton, I prepare future educators to teach personal and social development courses in the school system. This university is the only higher education institution that offers a bachelor degree in family and consumer sciences. The province of New-Brunswick, the only bilingual province in Canada, has a dual system of education. Each linguistic community has authority over the school curriculum and the administration of its schools. To understand the Canadian societal and cultural context further, it should also be noted that family and consumer sciences does not have a national organization such as the American Association for Family and Consumer Sciences to advocate for its needs. Nevertheless, the French high school curriculum has a mandatory course in personal, social, and emotional education in grade nine and a second one in grade ten. In these courses, psychology and mental health principles are taught. Observing that the learning objectives related to personality in the current New Brunswick curriculum (New Brunswick Education Department, 2006, 2009) did not include the Enneagram led me to wonder if it could be a reliable tool to use in family and consumer sciences courses both at the university and school level. The results of these research studies, coupled with my personal and professional experience, affirm the value of the Enneagram and have led me to investigate the effects of Enneagram system instruction on USA and PWB. Specifically, the primary aim of this study is to examine if knowledge of the Enneagram system affects unconditional self-acceptance (Chamberlain & Hagga, 2001a) and psychological well-being (Ryff, 1989). Hence, the

5 research question is: Does the knowledge of the Enneagram system affect unconditional self- acceptance and well-being as measured by psychological well-being in young adults?

Significance of Study In recent years, the concept of well-being has become a concern in many fields (King, 2007; Russell, 2008; and Thogersen-Ntoumani & Fox, 2005). For example, the Department of Human Resources and Social Development of Canada has a web site called “Indicators of well-being in Canada.” This site (Canada, 2010) gathers data collected by Statistics Canada to present an overall picture of the well-being of Canadians through the following indicators: family life, social participation, leisure, health, security, environment, financial security, learning, work, and housing. For instance, under the health section, the site presents data on life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate, and includes how many Canadians smoke, are obese, or participate in physical activity. The website provides a mostly demographic, economic, and statistical picture of the way Canadians live. Moreover, organizations (Russell, 2008; Thogersen-Ntoumani & Fox, 2005) are introducing well-being committees or strategies in their human resources programs in an effort to improve public health and well-being. These initiatives by government and business demonstrate that well-being and wellness are more important issues now than they were ten years ago. This present study shares these interests while looking more closely at how self- knowledge affects the well-being of individuals. In addition, well-being is a concern of family and consumer sciences educators who strive to assist individuals and families to improve well-being and who themselves require a

6 repertoire of strategies to make this goal achievable. This present research contributes to the knowledge base of the profession, informs its practices, and fosters its mission: To enable families, both as individual units and generally as a social institution, to build and maintain systems of action which lead (1) to maturing in individual self- formation; and (2) to enlightened, cooperative participation in the critique and formulation of social goals and means for accomplishing them. (Brown & Paolucci, 1979, p. 47) Any professional field relies on a knowledge base to accomplish its mission and research is the means by which this base or body of knowledge is “replenished and codified” (Nickols et al. 2009, p. 268). The current body of knowledge model (see Appendix A for complete model) emphasizes an integrative approach to the relationships among individuals, their families, and the communities in which they live. These integrative elements are life course development and human ecosystems which provide the theoretical context. The cross-cutting themes are (a) capacity building, (b) global interdependence, (c) resource development and sustainability, (d) appropriate use of technology, and (e) wellness. These themes represent historical continuity as well as contemporary trends within society. Central to the model are four core concepts. The first and most important concept is basic human needs. Family and consumer sciences has been a major contributor to human basic needs research as it has played and continues to play a key role in nutrition, housing, and resource management. The second concept is family strengths that focus study on family resiliency and strengths of individual members that help families endure hardship, stressors and crises. The third concept presented in the model is community vitality, which is the capacity to live, grow, and develop in a cohesive community.

7 Individual well-being, which has been included in the family and consumer sciences body of knowledge from the beginning of the profession, is the fourth core concept of the body of knowledge model for family and consumer sciences prepared by Nickols et al. (2009). The authors recognize the importance of individual well-being as they reiterate the words of Brown and Paolucci (1979) in the following statement: Family and consumer sciences practice focuses on individual well-being as a clear outcome of work in the field. Stronger families or more viable communities cannot be developed without individuals “maturing in self formation” (Brown and Poalucci, 1979). In fact, bringing about change in families and communities is often reaching “one individual at a time” (Nickols et al., 2009, p. 273). The authors suggest that the model can be used in total or in part to frame research projects. Thus, this research is framed on the core concept of individual well-being and seeks to identify the ways self-knowledge through the Enneagram system may improve individual well-being. The participants of this research, young adults who have attended Mount Allison University for more than a year, are representative of the global trend of the lengthening of the transitional adolescent period. Arnett (2000) reports that in North America and Europe the average age for marriage and employment has been pushed back from 22 to 26 years. The current trend of increased education and dependency on parents is likely to be the cause of these changes (McLaughlin & Alexander, 2005). Thomson and Holland (2002) add that young people also seek to delay adulthood and suggest that the school’s curriculum has a significant part to play in this transitional period. McLaughlin and Alexander also believe that the decrease in social capital in many countries is linked to the fact that personal, social

8 and health education and citizenship remain on the periphery of educational practice rather than taking center stage. This research may widen the narrow view of intellectual development in educational circles and promote a more holistic view of the young adult. The findings may add to this body of evidence and heighten the concern of the psychological well-being and unconditional self acceptance knowledge of university students. The present research contributes theoretically to the question of whether USA and PWB can be enhanced through an education intervention, specifically the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system. The findings also will be important to family and consumer sciences educators and practitioners as they indicate if this strategy may be useful in helping young adults in reaching increased USA (and self-knowledge) and affect PWB. It also contributes to the validation of Brown and Paolucci’s (1979) philosophical proposition that self-knowledge through USA and PWB can help identify thought patterns that may be detrimental to individuals, their families and other interpersonal relationships. Finally, this research presents an opportunity to contribute to the convergent validity of the Unconditionnal self-acceptance questionnaire. Convergent validity as explained by Anastasi and Urbina (1997) is the extent to which a measure correlates with other measures to assess similar constructs. Chamberlain (1999), Chamberlain and Haaga (2001a, 2001b), Davies (2006), and Stiner (2007) all contributed to the validation of the Unconditionnal self- acceptance questionnaire. Because this questionnaire has not been used as extensively in research as Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale (1989), an analysis of the relation between them was conducted through the Pearson product-moment correlation.

9 Research questions This study is guided by the following research questions and corresponding hypothesis. Research Question 1 Does a relationship exist between the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system and PWB? H1: There is a significant relationship between the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system and total PWB scores. Research Question 2 Does a relationship exist between the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system and USA? H2: There is a significant relationship between the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system and total USA scores. Research Question 3 Does a correlation exist between the USA and the PWB total scores? H3: There is a positive correlation between the total USA scores and the total PWB scores. Key terms

Psychological well-being (PSW) : Ryff (1989) and Ryff and Singer (2008) melded the theories derived from the positive psychological functioning literature of Maslow, Rogers, Allport, Jung, Erickson, Neugarten, Frankl, Jahoda and Buhler; into the formulation of psychological well-being to describe a person functioning well in six dimensions: (a) self- acceptance, (b) positive relations with others, (c) autonomy, (d) environmental mastery, (e) purpose in life, and (f) personal growth.

10 Unconditional self-acceptance (USA) : An attribute of individuals who accept one’s good and undesirable aspects without self rating (Ellis & Abrams, 2009).

Enneagram system: A personality theory credited, according to Riso and Hudson (1999), to Oscar Ichazo who in 1950 integrated the nine personality types into the Enneagram symbol and to Claudio Naranjo, a psychiatrist, who studied under Ichazo in 1970. Naranjo, through the use of panels, elaborated further each personality type. Riso and Hudson (Enneagram Institute, 2010) define the system as a person-centered trait approach known as a prototypical approach to aid personal understanding and development. It can be thought of as a particular pattern, a profile, or a configuration of trait attributes that can include from healthy to unhealthy behaviors, motivations, values, thinking styles, and ways of problem solving. The main claims about personality in this system, according to Riso and Hudson, the creators of the Enneagram Institute (2010), are that: (a) There are only nine personality types, (b) every human being is only one type but can fluctuate between healthy and unhealthy characteristics belonging to his or her type, and (c) no personality type is superior to the other but each has strengths to contribute to the world.

Personality : Overt and covert actions, behaviors, styles of thought, speech, perception, and interpersonal interactions that are consistently characteristic of an individual (Ellis & Abrams, 2009).

11 Assumptions Three basic assumptions are contained in this research. First, it is assumed that all participants answered sincerely when responding to the instruments. Second, all respondents were capable of perceiving and accurately reporting their PWB and USA. Finally, it is assumed that three information sessions about the Enneagram personality system were sufficient to create knowledge change in the participants.

Limitations This study has limitations. First, social desirability may influence the total scores of the PWB and USA instrument. Social desirability refers to the tendency to present oneself in a good light to the researcher. Secondly, Ryff (1989), author of the PWB instrument, also warns that the questionnaire mostly depicts middle-class values. The students attending the Mount Allison University in Sackville may not all be from this social class. It should also be noted that the students volunteered to participate in the research knowing the subject was personality and well-being, therefore they had an initial interest in the subject. Finally, the funds available to complete this research were limited. The results can generalize to a student population similar to the age and demographic status of the sample.

12 CHAPTER 2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE Theoretical perspective Although all personality theories somewhat agree on the definition of personality, not all psychologists agree on how the comprehensive and reasonably consistent patterns of human behavior develop. These disagreements, according to Ellis and Abrams (2009), are the reason many theories and models have emerged. Personality psychology is called upon whenever society is threatened by human predators such as sociopaths, but more commonly, personality theories can help us understand how people differ in their thinking, behavior and processing of information. This knowledge can help individuals understand and predict behavior. Among the many personality theories available such as psychoanalytic, neo- psychoanalytic, behavioral, humanistic, genetic/biological, cognitive and trait, the one chosen to guide this research is the rational emotive behavioral theory (REBT). As will be explained in this section, REBT integrates the concepts of personality, self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and the questioning of thought patterns accumulated through socialization in order to increase well-being. This humanistic and cognitive theory was founded through the collective works of two theorists, Albert Bandura and Ulric Neisser, and a clinician, Albert Ellis (Ellis & Abrams, 2009). Bandura, an educational psychologist, is known as the first to elaborate a personality theory based on social cognition, which means information processing mediates between observing and learning and the actions we choose to take (Bandura & Walters, 1963). He was the first to demonstrate that one learns from observing the behaviors of others. For example, if a child sees another receive either a positive or negative reinforcement, the

13 observing child will learn from that experience and adapt his own behavior consequently. Bandura’s theory was constructed through the combination of his own research and the integration of his findings with those of others from anthropology, sociology and a number of clinical and psychiatric sources. Not long after, in 1967, Neisser introduced the concept of cognitive psychology. His theory marked the beginning of the shift away from behaviorism. Prior to his discovery, personality through the behaviorist lens was the sum of all stimuli-response connections. With the invention of computers, Neisser and others began to doubt that the human brain which had created the device was not as sophisticated as the “black box.” His contribution to the study of human memory and intelligence demonstrated that a part of personality is concerned with information processing. Therefore, how humans perceive and interpret the world may differ according to one’s personality (Neisser, 1967). The discoveries of these two founders supported the REBT developed by Ellis (Ellis & Abrams, 2009). As a clinician, he began by practicing traditional psychoanalytic and Rogerian psychotherapy where the therapist spends considerable time showing a patient how he or she originally became neurotic. At that time, Ellis deplored the fact that most psychoanalysis was not scientifically based or oriented. Although Ellis started publishing his more directive type of psychotherapy known as rational psychotherapy in 1955, it was not until the early 2000s that the theory was stated explicitly (Ellis & Abrams, 2009). Prior to this, his theory was mostly implied in his publications that evolved from the aforementioned rational psychotherapy to rational-emotive therapy and finally to rational emotive behavioral therapy. This model of personality was constructed on direct clinical experience and on the

14 findings of other researchers such as Schachter and Singer (1962), Kahneman, Slovic, and Tversky (1982), and LeDoux (1994). Schachter and Singer’s (1962) experiments demonstrated that cognitive interpretation has a powerful effect on how one feels and behaves. Kahneman, Slovic, and Tversky (1982) proposed that a majority of people use heuristics to make sense of the world around them, but this method leads them to incorrect conclusions or irrational beliefs, as Ellis calls them. Finally, LeDoux (1994), a neuropsychologist, studied the biological basis of emotions. His work on animals led him to discover that the thalamus, a nonconscious (as opposed to unconscious because it has been detected with neuro science) area of the brain, can produce strong emotional reaction well before the conscious cortex is notified. This explains how one can freeze when met with a difficult situation; the nonconscious takes over. LeDoux’s experiments demonstrated that this passive fear can be replaced by active coping strategies. If one initiates an easy action, the inaction and the fear disappear. This discovery followed by application to humans, solidified Ellis’s theory that conscious cognitive learning and practice or actions can mediate these nonconscious emotional reactions that keep individuals trapped in fear, dread, disgust, or rage. These research results made the REBT plausible because it provides the experimental data that support Ellis’s view that personality is influenced by the interrelation of our thoughts, behavior, and emotions. Thus having explained the research and theoretical background of the REBT, the following section will examine how Ellis views personality and why it is appropriate for this research.

15 REBT and personality

Ellis’s view of personality attests that it is fully established once the prefrontal cortex is fully developed, therefore when children and adolescents have more control over their behavior, this indicates that their personality is established. He does not subscribe to the notion of fixed developmental stages but prefers the neuro-developmental perspective proposed by Jean Piaget. He also believes that children’s personalities are linked to their innate styles of thinking and develop with the maturation of their brain (Ellis & Abrams, 2009). The essential premise of REBT is that “personality results from the interplay of learned and innate styles of thinking” (Ellis & Abrams, 2009, p. 15) hence; “human personality consists of all biological drives, impulses, and styles of information processing, both rational and irrational” (pp. 484-485). Although the rational thoughts do not seem to cause many problems, the irrational beliefs, according to the authors, can lead to distorted views of reality, ourselves, and others and bring emotional pain. Although Ellis reported in 1987 identifying hundreds of irrationalities from working with thousands of REBT clients, he began by enumerating four categories: (a) irrational beliefs about competence and success; (b) irrational beliefs about love and approval; (c) irrational beliefs about being treated unfairly; and (d) irrational beliefs about safety and comfort. Later, in 2009, Ellis and Abrams added the following ten categories: (a) prejudiced- based irrationalities that include political dogmas and social biases; (b) irrational beliefs used to support or justify habits; (c) irrationalities that maintain or encourage the development of personality disorders; (d) dogmatic religious irrationalities; (e) political, social, and, economical irrationalities; (f) irrational beliefs derived from custom and conformity; (g) ego-

16 related irrationalities that include self-deification, or the perceived need that we are superior to others; (h) errors in logic and, reason; (i) social irrationalities; and (j) irrationality regarding emotions and emotion-based reasoning. Ellis (1987) explains that when an individual has irrational thoughts about competence and success, for example, the person will first have such self-talk as, “Because I strongly desire to perform important tasks competently and successfully, I absolutely must perform them well (and I am an inadequate incompetent person if I don’t)” (p. 371). This kind of thought, Ellis proposed can easily be dismissed by thinking rationally and accepting that one cannot be competent at all times in every endeavour; therefore one ought to accept the emotions that come with this realization and move on. But what happens, Ellis explains, is that the irrational thought is transformed into a need and leads to emotional disturbance and behavioral malfunctions. The person then has what Ellis calls secondary problems, meaning the person not only gets depressed in situations of incompetence, but also gets depressed about being depressed for such a benign reason. It becomes a vicious cycle. The person’s thoughts then escalate to levels such as, “Because I strongly desire to perform important tasks competently and successfully, because I feel so anxious and depressed when I do not, my powerful feelings of worthlessness prove that I absolutely must perform well!" (Ellis & Abrams, 2009, p. 372). How REBT helps individuals reassess these thought patterns is through the realization that humans have control of their emotional state and are able to increase this control, if they work at doing so. As mentioned previously, neuropsychological research (LeDoux, 1994) also supports this theory with evidence that the majority of an individual’s emotional

Full document contains 100 pages
Abstract: This quasi-experimental study investigated whether the knowledge of the Enneagram system affects unconditional self-acceptance and psychological well-being of university students who have been attending university for at least a year. It also measured the correlation between the total scores on the psychological well-being instrument and unconditional self-acceptance questionnaire. A two-group design was employed, wherein a control and an experimental group completed a pre- and two post-tests on psychological well-being and unconditional self-acceptance. The randomly selected experimental group received three weekly educational sessions on the Enneagram system. Results show that the knowledge of the Enneagram personality system does not have a significant effect on psychological well-being. Due to a small sample size and violation of the assumptions required to conduct an ANCOVA it was not possible to determine if the knowledge of the Enneagram affects unconditional self-acceptance. Findings indicate also a low to moderate positive correlation between the Unconditional self-acceptance questionnaire Chamberlain and Haaga (2001a) and Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale (1989). Recommendations include using a larger sample, changing the number of educational sessions or their format, and using an additional test to measure irrational thoughts. Therefore, in a future study it may be favorable that the intervention be an integral part of a family and consumer sciences university course. Finally, despite the results of this study there are some indicators that suggest the Enneagram system be taught in schools and university to help prepare students to be more conscious of how marketing agencies may manipulate such knowledge to their advantage. Keywords. psychological well-being, unconditional self-acceptance, Enneagram, personality, family and consumer sciences.