personality archetypesWhy does one person develop an obsessive compulsive disorder when they’re anxious, yet another person reacts in a more physically disabling way with a illness?

Well, it depends on your personality archetype; how you are as a person will influence your symptoms of anxiety and will also influence the cause of your anxiety.

In his best selling book Warriors, Settlers & Nomads Terence Watts describes how we each have a dominant personality type evolving from our early ancestors.  We can have a mixture of these personalities, but one will be a dominant influence.  Understanding how we, and those around us, operate, can be very helpful in resolving issues.

Once we were all nomadic, we would wander around the world, following our food as it migrated, but as we evolved a group of people got together and thought it would be a good idea to stay in one place, settle down and form communities.  It allowed them to help and look after each others needs, look out for each other, share tasks and have more stability.  So that’s what they did and they became what we now call SETTLERS. 

Then another group evolved and they looked at the settlers and thought it was a good idea, except they weren’t very well protected against wild animals or other wild tribesmen and they could do with being a bit more structured and organised, so they moved in, offered the settlers their protection in return for being nurtured and looked after and they became the WARRIORS.

The third group of people were the original nomadic tribes; they looked at the Settlers and Warrior and decided they didn’t want to be responsible for looking after other people and they didn’t want to be taking orders, they liked their lifestyle of being on the move, constant change, discovering new exciting things and having adventures not knowing what was around the corner, so they carried on doing that and became the NOMADS.


Settlers are always lovely gentle people, they are our nurturers, they are happiest building a home and family and looking after other people.  They are not usually hugely ambitious or career minded and tend to gravitate towards jobs which are about nurturing or caring for others such as nursery school or primary school teachers, care workers, nursing etc, or in an office environment they will tend to be the support, admin, personal assistants.  They are very good at anticipating other people needs. They are all about other people and are at their best helping others.

However, the flip side of their coin also is about people and  quite often their anxiety comes from worrying about other people and what other people think about them.  In a family, it will be the Settler who worries about everyone else’s problems, even if it isn’t anything to do with them – for example, say two siblings have fallen out and their is a third sibling who is a settler, that third sibling will worry constantly about the fall out and just want them to make up.  They can be quite sensitive, especially to other people’s comments and words and are easily hurt and will worry what people think about them or what they have said.

Because Settlers are all about other people, they can internalise their own problems and take on board other peoples; they don’t want to worry anyone with their problems, so they just worry inside their own mind instead and this may manifest in physical anxiety related illnesses such as headaches, migraine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), skin disorders, weight loss or weight gain and over long periods develop into serious illnesses like ME, MS and Fibromyalgia.


Warriors are leaders, they are at their best being in charge, making decisions and competing.  Unsurprisingly, you find a lot of warriors in the military as they are very good at not only giving orders, but also following orders – if they respect the person giving them the order.  Their attention to detail is second to none, they are very tenacious and don’t do anything without careful considerations of the pros and cons.  They are extremely organised, strategic and want to get to the top, at all costs.  They are quite formal, liking procedures, hierarchy and structure and do things the ‘right’ way because that’s how it should be done.  Ultimately they are about control and strive to be in control of themselves, their environment and people around them.

The flip side of their coin is also control – over control.  If something is out of control in their life, they try even harder to get it back in control or to take control of something else that they can.  They will tend to micro-manage and want everything done their way (because that’s the right way!) and don’t understand that other people think and behave differently.  They live in ‘should land’ and will be critical of people who do things differently to them.  They are also a little rigid and inflexible, for example, because they are so organised, they will have their whole day or week planned and if someone else changes their plans, it will cause them anxiety or stress (usually in the form of annoyance).

Often a Warrior’s anxiety manifests in inappropriate over control.  Typical anxiety disorders of Warriors include OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), anger, being over controlling of partners and eating disorders.  At Old Town Hypnotherapy we are seeing more and more children with unusual eating habits or fussy eaters.  It’s not about the food and it’s not about food for people with anorexia, bulimia or overeating – something else is out of their control that they are worrying about.   Children aren’t in control of much in their little lives, but they can always control what they put in their mouths and by being over controlling about their eating, they usually end up controlling the adults in their lives or the dinner time ritual.  The teenage years are the most stressful and chaotic of our lives and much may seem out of control, but again, control of food is something they can always do.  Cleaning OCDs are also very common or being over fussy on how things are done and re-checking locks or that things are switch off multiple times.  Rituals and rigid schedules become more rigid and more elaborate with attention to the tiniest detail in Warriors as the anxiety builds.


Nomads are adventurers, they thrive on excitement and new experiences and starting anything new with great enthusiasm and determination.  Entrepreneurs, marketing, sales, actors, musicians, artists or anything creative are all highly populated by Nomads.  They are inspirational to others and can make the dullest of presentations sound exciting and interesting.  They love to be centre of attention and you can often spot a nomad just by looking at them,  something will make them stand out in a crowd, brightly coloured hair, unusual or flamboyant clothing, a flash car.  They are not afraid of going places not man (or woman) has been before, their mind it quick and agile and are at their best when having to handle multiple situations or tasks, but they get bored very quickly with the mundane and you can forget attention to detail.  They are all about the concept, the detail will work itself out later (or someone else will).

So the flip side of their coin is finding it hard to stick at things and they get bored very easily.  When the going gets tough, the Nomads get going.  They are not very structured and their flexible minds become quite chaotic.  The drama queen in the nomad will make a mountain out of a molehill, the problem will be enormous, unsolvable and a complete disaster.  Everything will become a problem, their job, relationship, house and they won’t just move house, they will move country.

A Nomad with anxiety will tend to walk away from things rather than seeing it through, they might hand in their notice on the spur of the moment when upset about something, or over-react and finish a relationship prematurely.  They will turn their back and go off in search of new excitement.  A nomad is quite independent, of the three personality types, the nomad needs other people the least and when anxious, rather than talk about it, they are prone to withdraw or immerse themselves in something where they don’t have to think about it.

Why is this relevant?

The reason personality archetypes are relevant in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is because it helps us to understand ourselves and take a step back from the situation.  For example, for the Warrior with road rage – is that something we can just let go? Judging other people for how they look or behave – is that your job? As a Settler, do you really need to worry that your sister has a boyfriend you don’t think is right for her?  Is that your thing to worry about or hers?  Who is it affecting – you!   And for the Nomad, do you really need to pack in your job and disappear into deepest Borneo, or do you need to get some excitement into your life outside work?  Nomads need to be active and it’s OK to get bored of a hobby and want a new one, acknowledge that the white water rafting is done now and you can move on to something else and learn something new.

Equally important is accepting others for what they are and not expecting them to be like you  a Nomad will forget birthdays and let you down at the last minute because they’ve changed their mind, a Warrior is direct, confrontational and will tell you what you should do and how you should do it and a Settler won’t want to make the decision about what to do this evening or where to eat out, when they say “I don’t mind, I’m happy to do what you want” they genuinely mean it.

Embracing our best qualities and accepting others for what  or who they are and not judging them from our own perspective reduces our own anxieties, stresses, annoyances and worries.

Understanding personality archetypes is part of the practice of all the hypnotherapists at Old Town Hypnotherapy, if you would like to learn more, why not arrange a free initial consultation, either at a branch near you or by Skype.


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