Ethical Guidelines for IEA Members

The Enneagram is a profound system for understanding human nature.  The IEA is a global membership and learning community dedicated to the understanding and ethical use of the Enneagram as a powerful tool for growth and transformation. IEA members range from seasoned professionals to those discovering it for the first time. All IEA members agree to abide by the IEA’s General Ethical Guidelines. In addition, those accredited by the IEA have committed to uphold and support the Code of Ethics for IEA Accredited Professionals.

By joining the IEA or seeking accreditation by the IEA, members and professionals demonstrate their commitment to the IEA’s mission to support the ethical use of the Enneagram.  We encourage students and others interested in learning or applying the Enneagram to seek out IEA Accredited Professionals, Training Programs and Enneagram Schools, and we encourage Enneagram teachers to seek to become IEA Accredited Professionals and obtain IEA accreditation for their training programs and schools.

The IEA has established an Ethical Conduct Review Process to create clear guidelines for the filing and handling of complaints alleging violation of the Ethical Guidelines and/or Code of Ethics.  An online Complaint Form has been created to provide a confidential way for anyone who believes they have been harmed as a result of a violation of these policies to initiate a complaint. Our goal is to provide a fair process that respects the dignity of all.  This depends on timely and factual information being reported by those who have directly experienced or witnessed behavior in violation of the ethical standards.

Click Here to Download the IEA Ethical Guidelines and Code of Ethics of Accredited Professionals

1. Shared Commitment to the Development and Use of the Enneagram –

IEA members share a commitment to the development, understanding and use of the Enneagram.

  • We acknowledge that no individual or group owns the Enneagram or can restrict the right to communicate, develop and share information about the system.
  • We understand the Enneagram to be a work in progress; many teachers, writers and practitioners have contributed to it and will continue to do so in the future. We honor the originality and hard work of those contributing to its development by giving credit and citing sources when teaching and communicating about the system.
  • We commit to high standards of knowledge and scholarship and to creating and maintaining a collegial atmosphere for the sharing of ideas and information. While the vigorous exchange of ideas and debate about Enneagram theory and practice is encouraged, we will listen respectfully and remain open to the possibilities in different points of view, experiences, applications and theories.
  • The Enneagram aids us in waking up from ego habits and recurring defensive patterns. We support each other in this lifelong work.

2.The Enneagram as a Tool for Personal Growth –

The Enneagram of personality is primarily an instrument for self-knowledge and personal transformation.

  • We believe in respectfully using the Enneagram to inspire compassion for ourselves and others; it should not be used to stereotype people or limit their growth and possibilities. In seeing the intentions and logic of other types, we become less likely to dismiss, judge or demean each other.
  • We believe that Enneagram type does not fully describe an individual. While part of the story, it does not encompass other aspects of personhood, such as personal history, character, intelligence, talents, social location, belief systems and the impacts of privilege and/or oppression.
  • We support others in discovering their Enneagram type patterns at their own pace as much as possible. The Enneagram has profound effects on people. We are sensitive to the reactions that can occur upon becoming aware of deep-seated patterns and are patient with the time and effort required to integrate new information and adjust to a changing picture of the self.
  • We personally commit to working on ourselves and to the on-going process of self-knowledge and self-transformation, inquiring into our own motives, reactions and defenses, while remaining open to feedback that supports healing and growth.

3.Using the Enneagram System with Others –

The Enneagram may be used by people from a wide variety of backgrounds and in a broad range of contexts and applications. It is a powerful and complex system. As such, it is important that those who use it with others do so in a competent, ethical and respectful manner.

  • We agree that it is essential that every person who benefits financially from teaching or working with the Enneagram has a deep knowledge of the system and is personally well grounded.
  • We commit to only teaching and practicing Enneagram applications that are within our areas of professional training and expertise. Students and clients are encouraged to inquire about practitioners’ training and experience and to choose teachers and practitioners who are well suited to their particular needs and circumstances.
  • We acknowledge that all Enneagram teachers and practitioners have professional limitations. Students and clients are encouraged to consider other tools and systems of support when needed, particularly in situations involving trauma, mental health issues, psychological and/or spiritual wounds or abuse.
  • Teachers and practitioners using the Enneagram system with others must “walk the talk” in order to embody the work of transformation and exemplify the constructive use of the system.
  • Those teaching or using the Enneagram professionally with others agree they will not knowingly take advantage of their students or clients financially or otherwise. They will also refrain from engaging in any emotionally, psychologically or sexually manipulative, abusive or exploitive behaviors with students or clients. They will not engage in any inappropriate relationships with students or clients, such as relationships marked by significant power differentials as a result of age, experience, influence, control or other factors.
  • Maintaining direct, open and clear channels of communication between teachers and students or practitioners and clients is essential. Misunderstandings should be worked out so that all parties can grow, heal and evolve in a mature manner.

4.IEA Community Standards –

The IEA and its members are committed to these foundational standards:

  • We will be honest and act with integrity and respect in our dealings with each other.
  • We will keep confidential personal information conveyed to us in confidence to the extent possible (subject to applicable laws, rules and regulations).
  • We will strive to create an equitable and inclusive environment. We will not discriminate or tolerate discrimination based on race, color, gender, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, creed, national origin, marital status or military status.
  • We will not tolerate abuse in the IEA, including behavior that is manipulative, exploitive, demeaning, harassing, retaliatory or cruel.
  • Violation of these Ethical Guidelines may result in the termination of membership or the withdrawal of the right to participate in various benefits of membership.

Click here to download the IEA Ethical Guidelines and Code of Ethics for IEA Accredited Professionals

IEA Accredited Professionals are committed to the highest standards of excellence, integrity and ethical conduct.  As recognized and respected members of the IEA and broader Enneagram community, IEA Accredited Professionals agree to uphold and affirm the IEA’s General Ethical Guidelines and this Code of Ethics for IEA Accredited Professionals.

1.Relationship with the IEA and Enneagram Community –

a. IEA Accredited Professionals will demonstrate and promote the highest level of integrity in the study, teaching, practice, development and use of the Enneagram. They will put the interests of the Enneagram community at large and the interests of their students and clients in particular ahead of their own self-interest.
b. IEA Accredited Professionals will not confuse the public about their relationship with the IEA or misrepresent the extent of their association or the authorization or endorsement of their programs, products or services by the IEA.
c. IEA Accredited Professionals will not misuse the IEA’s resources for their own personal gain.
d. This Code of Ethics applies primarily to the Enneagram-related activities and work of IEA Accredited Professionals. Personal beliefs, standards and worldview are generally a private matter; however, IEA Accredited Professionals will ensure that their behavior and interactions with others that directly or indirectly relate to or have a bearing or impact on their Enneagram-related work bring honor and respect to the IEA and contribute positively to the public perception of the Enneagram.
e. While the vigorous exchange of ideas and debate about Enneagram theory and practice is encouraged, IEA Accredited Professionals will show respect for and open-mindedness toward the views of others. Disagreements in public forums with respect to Enneagram theory and practice will be conducted in a civil manner. Criticisms or opposing views are to be expressly identified as based on personal opinion and experience and addressed toward the content or theory and not the person.
f. The IEA is an international community. IEA Accredited Professionals must be sensitive to cultural differences because what is acceptable in one culture may be unacceptable in another.  IEA Accredited Professionals agree to respect and adapt their behavior as appropriate to conform to the culture of their students and clients.

2.Professional Expertise and Integrity –

a. IEA Accredited Professionals will maintain a high level of integrity and professional competence in their fields of expertise. They will represent their credentials, training and expertise honestly. They will recognize the need for and obtain ongoing education in order to remain professionally competent in their fields, and use the appropriate technical, administrative and other resources needed to ensure quality.
b. IEA Accredited Professionals recognize and acknowledge the limitations of their expertise and will undertake only those tasks or engagements for which they are qualified by education, training, or experience. If, in the course of an engagement, it becomes clear that other professional services or expertise is required, the IEA Accredited Professional will communicate this to the student or client and take appropriate steps to modify, supplement or terminate the engagement.
c. IEA Accredited Professionals working in a field with legal, licensing, educational or other identified standards will adhere to the standards and regulations of their field and licensing requirements. Any revocation or suspension of a license or right to practice in a field directly related to the Accredited Professional’s Enneagram work must be promptly reported to the IEA.
d. IEA Accredited Professionals will be honest and clear in their dealings with and agreements about money and other forms of compensation. They will not knowingly take any personal, professional, monetary or other business advantage of students, clients, colleagues, the IEA or others in their Enneagram-related work beyond that which is clearly communicated and mutually agreed to through contract or otherwise.
e. IEA Accredited Professionals will not make any false claims about their own services or those of their competitors. This includes claims made in paid or unpaid advertising, interviews, press releases, media promotions, social media posts and comments, etc. IEA Accredited Professionals are responsible for and will correct as necessary public statements made by their agents.

3.Professional Conduct with Students and Clients –

a. IEA Accredited Professionals will acknowledge the power differential and potential for projection and transference inherent in coaching, teaching, therapeutic and other similar relationships. They will establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries and avoid exploiting or abusing the trust, authority or influential position that students or clients may bestow on them.
b. IEA Accredited Professionals will not enter into any inappropriate personal or business relationships with their students or clients. Inappropriate relationships are marked by differences in power such as by: age; education; emotional or psychological health; control of income; fear; other forms of influence, authority or control the professional may have or be perceived to have over the personal or work life of the student, client, colleague or other individual; or by a difference in the relative abilities of the parties to understand the implications of such a relationship.
c. If an IEA Accredited Professional recognizes any personal limitation or problem that might interfere with their ability to provide quality service to others, whether as a result of illness, addiction or other personal issues or concerns, they will seek advice and counsel from one who is qualified to give it. If necessary, the professional will cease teaching or working with clients until the limitations or problems are resolved or appropriately managed and will provide timely and appropriate communication to students and clients.
d. IEA Accredited Professionals show the utmost respect for the rights of privacy of others. They respect the confidentiality of their clients’ and students’ information as required by, and to the extent permitted by, applicable laws, regulations or rules. To the extent confidential or private information is shared in a training or on a panel, or photographs or video or audio recordings are made, the Accredited Professional must obtain explicit permission from the student or client to share or discuss the information beyond the confines of that training or panel or to use or share any such photographs or recordings.
e. Since the needs of the client or student are paramount, IEA Accredited Professionals will terminate their services to a particular client or student should it become reasonably clear that the services are not providing benefit to the recipient.
f. IEA Accredited Professionals will clearly describe and consistently apply the training objectives, requirements and expectations, if any, that must be met for satisfactory completion of all certification programs they deliver.
g. IEA Accredited Professionals will strive to present their ideas in a way that is understandable to and appropriate for their audience, and will remain open to feedback from their clients, students or audience regarding their content and style of delivery.

4.Ethical Pledge –

a. All IEA Accredited Professionals acknowledge and agree to abide by the expectations contained in the IEA Ethical Guidelines and IEA Code of Ethics as amended periodically .
b. IEA Accredited Professionals further acknowledge and agree that any alleged violation of the provisions of such Ethical Guidelines and Code of Ethics will be investigated and responded to by the IEA as outlined in the IEA’s Ethical Conduct Review Process as amended periodically (the “ECRP”), and that sanctions may be imposed as described therein, including possible suspension or revocation of IEA accreditation and/or professional membership.
c. All IEA Accredited Professionals agree to participate in good faith in the IEA’s review and handling of any actions or complaints under the ECRP. IEA Accredited Professionals also agree not to harass, retaliate against or defame any person who brings a complaint, provides information or is otherwise involved (or suspected of being involved) in the situation complained of or in the investigation and handling of the complaint.
d. All IEA Accredited Professionals agree that the IEA, its officers, directors, staff, volunteers and agents are not liable for and will be held harmless from:

    1. any alleged harm or injury, financial or otherwise, that might result from the investigation and handling of a complaint against the Accredited Professional (or any organization with which they are affiliated) alleging a violation of the IEA’s Ethical Guidelines and/or Code of Ethics under the ECRP or otherwise,
    2. any sanction imposed as a result of such complaint and investigation, including possible suspension or revocation of IEA accreditation and/or membership,
    3. any violation or alleged violation of the Ethical Guidelines and/or Code of Ethics by any other individual, and any action or failure to act on the part of the IEA, its staff, officers, directors or agents in connection with such alleged violation.

Click here to download the Overview of IEA Ethical Conduct Review Process
Click Here to download the IEA Ethical Conduct Review Process
Complaint Form

Overview of IEA Ethical Conduct Review Process

Maintaining a high level of ethical standards in the teaching and use of the Enneagram by its members and those it accredits is central to the mission of the IEA. The Enneagram is a powerful tool for human understanding and is used in many different contexts, applications and professional settings. All members of the IEA are subject to the IEA Ethical Guidelines and all IEA Accredited Professionals, Training Programs and Enneagram Schools are also subject to the IEA Code of Ethics. The IEA strongly encourages members and Accredited Professionals to surface and resolve their differences with each other directly to the extent possible and to use the Enneagram system as a tool for accountability, transformation and reconciliation.

The IEA is committed to providing a process whereby individuals can bring complaints against IEA members, IEA Accredited Professionals, Training Programs, and Enneagram Schools for practices and behaviors that are alleged to violate the Ethical Guidelines and/or Code of Ethics. The IEA strives to provide a fair process for the investigation and response to such complaints that respects the dignity of all parties, and as a result has adopted the Ethical Conduct Review Process (“ECRP”) to provide a clear set of policies and procedures. A complete copy of the policy is available on the IEA website.

All complaints alleging ethical violations will be handled in accordance with the ECRP. If you are not able or willing to file a complaint, be interviewed or otherwise participate in an investigation, or to have the person whom you believe has harmed you in violation of our ethical policies be made aware of your complaint, we may not be able to investigate or respond to your complaint.  If you have been harmed by unethical behavior or abusive conduct, we encourage you to seek supportive services from a therapist, clergy or other trusted professional.

The IEA Board has created a special Ethical Conduct Review Committee (the “Committee”) for the sole purpose of investigating and making recommendations with respect to complaints alleging ethical violations. The Committee consists of 3-5 members including representatives from the current Board and Accredited Professionals who are not currently serving on the Board.

1.Filing a Complaint – 

Complainants are requested to fill out this online Complaint Form.

If you need assistance with the form or have questions, you may email the IEA at [email protected].  Please note that all complaints must provide the requested information in order to be processed and that email communications are not as secure as the online form.  Timeliness – In general, we request that complaints be filed within two years of the occurrence of the event or discovery of the harm. However, we recognize that in certain circumstances, particularly those involving patterns of abusive conduct where there is a power differential or fear of retribution, it may take longer for those harmed to come forward.  We encourage complaints in those situations to be made as soon as possible.

2.Referral to the Committee – 

When a complaint is received, the IEA’s administrative staff will check the membership and accreditation status of the person against whom the complaint is made (the “Respondent”) and whether the Respondent currently has other roles or relationships with the IEA. If the Respondent is currently a member or Accredited Professional or has other current roles or relationships with the IEA, the staff will forward the complaint and relevant information to the Committee.

3. Committee Investigation and Recommendation – 

The Committee will meet as promptly as is practicable and two Committee members will be assigned to interview the Complainant, the Respondent and anyone identified as having direct information concerning the alleged violation(s). They will report their findings to the Committee which will determine whether any additional investigation or information is needed. If there are prior complaints involving one or more of the same individuals, further investigation extending beyond the facts of the current complaint may be necessary to determine whether there is a pattern of behavior.

After completing the investigation, the Committee will consider and weigh various factors in order to determine a recommended course of action.  Such factors include:

  • Whether a prepondenance of the evidence supports a conclusion that there has been a violation
  • The seriousness of the alleged violation
  • The likelihood of future violations and potential for ongoing or future harm
  • Any record of previous violations or complaints,
  • Remedial steps taken or committed to be taken by the Respondent
  • Any reparative or mediation process between the parties, and
  • Whether the recommended course of action is proportionate to the violation that occurred.

The recommended course of action may include:

  • Suspension or revocation of IEA membership
  • Suspension or revocation of IEA accreditation
  • Modification, suspension and/or severance of other IEA roles, relationships or membership benefits
  • Period of ban and/or additional requirements to be satisfied before being able to re-apply for membership or accreditation or to participate in other IEA roles, relationships or benefits
  • Cautionary conversation(s) and written follow-up with the Respondent and/or Complainant
  • Other specific action(s) warranted by the facts and circumstances known at the time
  • No action to be taken based on a determination that no violation has occurred or that none of the above actions are warranted.

4.Determination of Response – 

Depending on the facts and circumstances, the Committee’s recommendation may be acted on by either the Executive Committee of the IEA Board or referred to the full IEA Board for decision.

5.Communication and Implementation of Response – 

The Complainant and Respondent will both be notified of the determination made.

The IEA will not generally publicly announce or otherwise comment on complaints received or determinations made under this policy except as may be required to clarify the status of an individual, program or school with respect to the IEA and its sponsored activities or accreditation program. Sanctioned individuals, programs and schools will be removed from directories, programs and public listings and must immediately cease use of all IEA watermarks and logos.

6.Some Things to Note – 

Nature and Limitations of Authority of IEA  – The IEA is a non-profit, volunteer-run membership association with members in many countries around the world. We do not have the authority of a court of law or professional licensing board. We do not have any ability to issue injunctions or award monetary damages. We do not inquire into our members’ private lives or unrelated business matters unless the alleged violation directly or indirectly impacts on the member’s Enneagram teaching and use or on his or her involvement with the IEA. If your complaint involves a professional in a field that has its own licensing board or legal and/or ethical requirements, or who is a member of other organizations that have certified or otherwise endorsed the professional’s work, you are encouraged to pursue any remedies available to you legally or through those avenues as well.

Confidentiality To the extent possible, information about the complaint and the parties and witnesses named in it will be restricted to those with a “need to know” in order to investigate and respond to the complaint or other complaints involving the same parties. However, an assurance of total confidentiality is not possible.  Depending on the facts and circumstances, the Complainant’s identity or other identifying details may be disclosed to the Respondent in the course of the investigation or may otherwise become known, particularly if action is taken to remove the Respondent’s membership or accreditation or to terminate other relationships and roles with the IEA.

Other Conflict Resolution Methods Encouraged – We strongly encourage Complainants and Respondents to surface and resolve their differences with each other directly to the extent possible.  The Enneagram system can be used as a tool for deep work around accountability, transformation, reconciliation and healing. We encourage all parties to engage constructively and respectfully in this work and engage third party resources to assist as needed.

Retaliation Prohibited – We expect all parties to treat others involved in this process with courtesy and respect. No retaliation, harassment or abuse will be tolerated against those who file complaints or who provide information or participate in the investigation and handling of such complaints.