hand stopping dominoes from falling risk. Enneagram 6 Loyal skeptic core desire for safety security support guidance


General Archetypal Names: Loyalist, Guardian, Devil’s Advocate, Troubleshooter, Loyal Skeptic

Core Motivational Theme: Safety/Security, Support/Guidance

Core Fear: feeling unsafe; being unprepared (for danger, disaster, worst case scenarios); lacking security, guidance, support; being blamed/called out/scrutinized; being corrupted by power; physical death and the afterlife, ego annihilation (loss of control, free will) 

Core Desire: feeling safe, secure, prepared; having guidance, mentorship, support; knowing who/what to trust; being consistent/loyal; having certitude/reassurance 

Center of Intelligence: head/thinking

Connecting Points: 3 (heart/feeling), 9 (gut/intrinsic)

6 Subtypes: Counterphobic and Phobic

A distinguishing aspect of point 6 on the Enneagram is that there are two archetypal subtypes that arise out of it, phobic and counterphobic. Phobic describes the tendency to move towards things that reduce fear by providing a sense of security and support: groups, leaders, institutions, belief systems, mentors, family etc… Counterphobic describes the tendency to fight back and confront things that are deeply (and often unconsciously) perceived as a threat to safety and security. As 6s tend to feel and grapple with fear mostly intensely, you can think of counterphobic and phobic the mental, psychological counterpart to the body’s autonomic, physiological reaction to stress: fight-or-flight. Ironically, sixes often battle each other, literally and figuratively, as the counterphobic pattern tends to resist and confront the very same groups, leaders, and ideologies that the phobic pattern is drawn towards.

Based on observable behaviors only, phobic and counterphobic archetypes may appear to have next to nothing in common and could easily be assumed to be different Enneagram types.  However, the fact that they are the same type should serve as an important reminder that what distinguishes one Enneagram type from another is not traits, behaviors, and outer roles; but inner motivation—core fear and desire.  Whether one is predominately phobic or predominately counterphobic, the core motivation at point 6 is the same: safety, security, support, and guidance.

Common archetypal names used to describe Enneagram point 6 include Loyalist, Guardian, Skeptic, Troubleshooter, and Devil’s Advocate. However, these names may preferentially emphasize aspects of one subtype of six over the other.  Therefore,  I find Loyal Skeptic to be the best general descriptor for type 6 as it more directly acknowledges both the phobic (Loyal) and counterphobic (Skeptic) aspects.

While no “type 6” person is strictly just phobic or just counterphobic (nor is any person just a 6, just a 2, or just a 9), for the sake of understanding these archetypal drives it is useful to discreetly differentiate them.