The Healer (Self-preservation instinct)

The Healer & The Self-Preservation Instinct

The Self-Preservation instinct is one of the twelve core enneagram types, and one of the three instinctual tendencies.


The Healer


To preserve, to protect, to uphold a natural order.

Core fears

To be controlled, used, to bring disorder and chaos.


Self-preservation types




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Nurturing type


Comfort, Discomfort


Material (Green)


Information-based, Decisive (Actor)

The Healer (Self-preservation instinct)

The self-preservation instinct makes us more occupied with our health and our well being. The healer looks at their own physical state and their material well being. This balance-driven type seeks material comforts and relaxing surroundings. Their goal is to heal and so the healer is a nurturing archetype. They are more like mentors and guides and pillars of support than do-gooders or helpers that are trying to come to your aid. Balance-driven types are generally more focused on keeping the peace than making a positive difference.

They may not engage in practical caring or giving, as the Giver types, and they may not be the archetypal friend like the Enneagram 6, but they are a relaxing oasis in a sometimes stressful world. The Healer sees how we can live healthier, richer, and happier lives. Their goal is to have a peaceful environment. To have everything that you need in terms of material comforts. 

The sexual instinct gives us a strong sense of balance. You will notice when your balance has been threatened, and you will act to maintain it in everything you do. The healer believes life has a careful order and dislikes the feeling of discomfort when this order is shaken. Their actions are shaped by seeking to restore order and peace around them, and to maintain a state of comfort.

Balance mindsets

Having a mindset associated with balance, you are always reflecting on how your situation reflects this. Am I at peace? Do I have all that I need? Is everything alright with me? Balance is something we can perceive instinctively. We feel when we are off key and when things are out of order, in every action we take, we get information telling us how things are. 

The Healer type is associated with careful restraint, they do not act too much, or too little, but seek to have an appropriate response to the situation. People with a balance-oriented mindset focus on their physical state: am I healthy? Do I have what I need? Does something feel wrong? This can lead to a focus on the body, on meditation, on healthy eating. The Healer is actively reflecting on their situations and what they do and what it gives them. 

The goal is that your actions will bring you peace and comfort, and that it will resolve issues you feel in your life. This can be associated by being overly controlling and rigid: the self-preserving type can find themselves working compulsively on eating the right food, at the right time, and saying the right thing, in the right way. This careful balancing act can make the Healer appear rigid. Many who have studied healer archetypes have found that they are often metaphorically depicted as shackled by their own power: they have the power to do amazing things, but there are so many rules, they can appear powerless.

The Nurturing Type

Despite all of that, the Healer is still a nurturing type, and a type that can offer healing feedback and comforting words and reassurance when necessary. The healer is someone that will take care of themselves and other people, insuring  we are equipped with the tools to succeed. 

The Healer can be a mentor like figure at times, offering helpful advice and support and reminding us not to stray from our paths. The Healer may not be caring or supportive in the traditional sense, but they have still got good advice, and can help us process when something is wrong. The Healer does not see their role as to control or try to fix or change something, but only to provide balance and to help ensure life remains and can thrive. 

The Healer believes that the worst is to bring hurt unto others. To lose control and to let the heat of the moment possess you. To do or say things you may regret. So the healer chooses their words, their actions, and their decisions carefully. 

Peace and suffering

Suffering is the worst experience a healer can experience, to see people suffer and hurt from wounds, to see people in anger, turmoil, and unrest. To see people act out of being hurt or being in agony. The Healer believes the worst crimes are committed by those who hurt the most. 

If we can bring comfort and can tend to their wounds, we can stop them from bringing harm to themselves and other people. The same goes for the Healer themselves, and the healers often see themselves wrestling their own dark side, fearing to be taken over by anger. 

The Healer fears that their own actions will only bring more suffering, and that is why the Healer has such strong restraints. They are aware of their own powers and they see how their actions shape the world, and they come to fear it and to set strong rules for themselves.