- How can I find out my Enneagram type?
- Is there a test I can take to learn my type?
- Is there a correlation between the Enneagram and the MBTI?
- What are “Wings?”
- Can you have more than one “Wing”?
- Can you be more than one Enneagram type?
- Do you ever change Enneagram types?
- Where can I find out more about the Enneagram?
- Can you recommend a good book about the Enneagram?
- Ok, I know my type. How does that help me?
- What are “subtypes”?
- Do the personality types have a corresponding compatible personality type?
How can I find out my type?
You have many alternatives, depending upon your resources of time and money. Perhaps the best place to start is to attend an Enneagram class or workshop in your area. Many good books also are available which can stimulate your insight about your mental and emotional patterns. For a comprehensive list of what’s been published, please see Enneagram Resources, which is located on this web site. Additionally, you may want to utilize the services of someone who has been trained in the Enneagram and is competent at helping people identify their type.
Learning one’s type often can be a confusing and frustrating experience. The reason is that type is determined by patterns that are usually, or, relatively, unconscious to the individual seeking to know his or her type. Being unconscious, these patterns are hard to recognize. Also, many of the Enneagram Types look alike when you are examining the ways they show up in the world. The key, then, is to become aware of one’s own internal patterns and compare those patterns to the various type descriptions which you will find described in workshops, tapes and books.
Is there a test I can take to learn my type?
There are a number of written tests that have been published recently. Some of these tests appear in the various books which have been published on the Enneagram. Tests also are available on the internet. Unfortunately, few, if any, of these tests have been determined to be consistently reliable. Thus, the results from tests should be considered as no more than a possible indicator of your type.
Web sites with tests:
- Personality Online: 180 questions, at: http://www.freshy.com/personality/
- The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) Version 2.0
Books with tests:
- Understanding the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso
- Discovering Your Personality Type: The New Enneagram Questionnaire by Don Riso
Is there a correlation between the Enneagram and the MBTI?
There is no proven, conclusive, correlation between the nine personality types of the Enneagram and the sixteen personality types of the MBTI. Some comparisons show that certain Enneagram types seem to match certain MBTI types with a higher degree of frequency than other MBTI types. But there is no reliable data to show that such matches are consistent on a large segment of the population. The Enneagram and the MBTI measure or evaluate different aspects of a person’s personality. The Enneagram focuses on an individual’s habits of attention and other patterns of thoughts, feelings and emotions. The MBTI looks at what are called mental functions. Nevertheless, there is ongoing discussion and research on such a correlation. See for example, the article, “Correlating the Ennneatypes With the Myers-Briggs Preferences,” by John Richards (Enneagram Monthly; June, 1997. You also may want to visit the site, The Enneagram and the MBTI.
What are “Wings?”
“Wings” are the Enneagram points immediately adjacent to, and on either side of, a person’s core point. An Enneagram Type Four, for example, would have “wings” of Three and Five. This means that, depending on the circumstances of a particular situation, the Point Four’s core characteristics will be influenced by the manifested characteristics of either the type Three, or, the type Five. Thus, a person’s core type can be colored by the characteristics of either or both of its “Wings”, depending upon the situation that stimulates reactive patterns.
Can you have more than one “Wing”?
Yes. A wing is the Enneagram Type on either side of the core type. A person will have two wings. However, the extent to which an individual manifests the characteristics of his or her wings is a matter of degree. One wing may be more dominant than another. Also, the characteristics of a person’s “heart”, or “stress” point may be stronger than the characteristics of either of his or her wings.
Can you be more than one Enneagram type?
An Enneagram personality type is a constellation of inner patterns including, but not limited to, patterns of emotion, feeling, thinking, perceiving and habits of attention. Each individual is a composite of all nine Enneagram types. In other words, we each have all the patterns to a lessor or greater degree. But there is one set or constellation of patterns that seem to dominate, and that particular set we call our “core point” or personality type.
Patterns are fixated ways of reacting to circumstances. The patterns we experience internally and present to the outer world vary according to the circumstances or situations which stimulate the arising of patterns from within. Thus, in the course of a lifetime, or even within the course of a day, we can manifest any one or all nine of the Enneagram personality types. Yet, one set of patterns is more dominant and most common and that set is the patterns of our personality type.
The patterns of our personality type are deeply ingrained and though we may mellow and be less fixated as we grow and mature through many life experiences, the affects of these ingrained patterns affect us throughout our lives. Thus, we are said to have one personality type throughout our lifetime though we may experience the patterns of all nine Enneagram personality types.
Do you ever change Enneagram types?
No. The patterns that make up our personality type are so deeply ingrained that they continue to dominate our experiences throughout our lives. We do, however, experience and manifest the patterns of other personality types.
Fundamental to the teaching of the Enneagram is the theory of movement along the lines and around the circle. We experience this movement as manifesting and experiencing the characteristics of other Enneagram personality types. So, in effect, it may seem from time to time that we have become another personality type.
Where can I find out more about the Enneagram?
Many books and articles have been published about the Enneagram which are available at your local library or bookstore. There also are a number of audio and video tapes available. For a list of what has been published, please see Enneagram Resources.
Additionally, there are many professionally trained Enneagram teachers who are available for counseling and/or classes, workshops and seminars. The more serious student of the Enneagram also may want to look into professional training and certification programs. Some of these resources can be found at Enneagram Links.
Can you recommend a good book about the Enneagram?
There are many good books published on the Enneagram written by authors representing several of the Enneagram personality types. Some books are light, easy reading, and deal primarily with the descriptions of the nine Enneagram personality types. Other books focus on the Enneagram and its teaching without the more recent personality overlays. Then there are books with more of a spiritual orientation which typically reflect the spiritual and/or religious orientation of the writer. You also will find books written from the orientation of psychologists and psychotherapists. So, there really is quite a variety and you can trust your own guidance in finding a good Enneagram book which speaks to your own curiosity and interest. A listing of these various books can be found here.
Ok, I know my type. How does that help me?
That depends on your level of curiosity, interest and commitment to learning more about the Enneagram and about yourself. You may be satisfied with improving your relationships. Knowing the characteristics of each of the types may help you do that. Or, perhaps you want to go deeper into understanding yourself. Becoming acquainted with your own motivations and internal patterns can help you with that. Regardless of your level of interest, here are a few suggestions which you might find useful.
- Become acquainted with the thoughts, feelings, and emotions, preoccupations and conversational styles associated with your personality type.
- Read the material, which pertains to your point in one or more of the excellent books recently, published on the Enneagram.
- Attend workshops, Enneagram panels and meetings of point groups to become more familiar with your own point as it is experienced by others of the same point.
- Develop your inner observer.
- Learn to distinguish between what’s really going on in an interaction as opposed to what old belief systems and thought patterns suggest is going on.
- Learn to ignore the inner critic or “voice of judgment”.
- Learn to observe your thoughts, feelings, emotions, imaginations and fantasies without judging or repressing them. Develop the habit of allowing and observing.
- Learn to make the distinction between you and your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Learn to choose alternatives to your usual and habitual thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Develop an attention practice, such as meditation.
What are “subtypes”?
The teaching describes three subtypes for each of the nine Enneagram personality types. These subtypes are the self-preservation, sexual and social. All nine Enneagram personality types have these three subtypes.
The “self-preservation” has to do with meeting the needs of survival issues. The “sexual” subtype has to do with the reactions we experience in one-to-one relationships. The “social” subtype has to do with our relationship to groups.
We each have access to characteristics of each of the three subtypes of our overall personality type, but usually one of the subtypes will be dominant and significantly influence how we manifest the characteristics of our overall core type.
Do the personality types have a corresponding compatible personality type?
Yes and No. “Yes” in the sense that some types share common characteristics, as for example a One with a Two wing and a Two with a One wing. Another example is a Seven and One can “meet” at either Seven or One.
“No” in the sense that any two types can be compatible as long as they are relatively healthy individuals.
As a practical matter, and perhaps more often then not, types that are adjacent to one another on the circle, as in the example above with Points One and Two, will relate well together because of the compatibility inherent in the characteristics of type which they share.
Presently, there is no research data available to indicate tendencies toward compatibility between any of the various types.
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