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What Is the Enneagram?

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What is Enneagram?

Enneagram is a classification system that describes human personality as a number of interconnected personality types. Although it has gained popularity in the fields of spirituality and business, there is little research on its use and it is not widely accepted in the field of evidence-based psychology.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

The Enneagram includes a nine-point diagram. Each point represents a personality type. Enneagram figure or diagram is made up of three elements. The outer part is made up of a circle, which then contains a triangle and an irregular hexagon.

At its simplest, the Enneagram represents nine different personality types.In addition to the nine basic personality types, the development system is much more complex and includes 27 different subtypes as well as three major “centers” that focus on actions, feelings, and thoughts.

How do you know your Enneagram?

Each of the nine personality types is characterized by a dominant set of behaviors, motives, and fears. The goal of this system is to better understand your type of person so you can make the most of your strengths and address your weaknesses to reach your full potential.

Your basic type

According to Enneagram theory, people are born with a dominant personality type that can then be shaped by environmental factors and experiences.

These two forces also tend to influence each other: While innate traits and characteristics help shape how people respond to their experiences, their environment also plays a role in determining how people respond to their experiences. personality is formed and expressed.

Your Adjacent Types

The Enneagram system also assumes that no one is simply a single pure type. Instead, personality is a mix of your basic style as well as at least one or two adjacent styles known as “wings”. These adjacent personality types can affect the overall personality, but they do not change a person’s basic type.

According to Enneagram theory, people do not change from one basic personality type to another. However, not all elements of personality are always present — people fluctuate depending on factors like their health and habits.

You may recognize traits from other styles, but Enneagram suggests that your dominant type is the most important.

Types of diagrams

Each of the nine types is known by both their number and their name. Each type has its own potential strengths and weaknesses.

1. Reformer

  • Have high principles
  • Judgable and uncompromising
  • Perfectionism, purposefulness and self-control
  • Strive for Integrity
  • Fear of corruption
  • Have a strong sense of the “right” and “wrong” way to do things

2. Helper

  • Generous and pleasing to everyone
  • Have a strong desire to be loved, sometimes denying your own needs to make others happy
  • Gives a lot of energy to their relationships, but this is sometimes interpreted as a lack
  • Honest
  • Good listener
  • Tendency to underestimate their own needs

3. Achieve

  • Successful, adaptable and hardworking
  • Can be overworked or workaholic at times
  • Driven to excel
  • Consciousness of images
  • Adapt
  • Focus on success rather than emotions, but good at communicating

4. Individualism

  • Creative, forward thinking and highly expressive
  • Sometimes self-centered
  • Strong sense of identity
  • Can be erratic or self-absorbed at times

5. Investigator

  • Creative and highly perceptive
  • Smart and logical and likes to think deeply about things
  • Quiet and caring
  • Objective and logical
  • Separated and emotionless

6. Loyal person

  • Tends to take responsibility and commitment
  • Have a long term relationship
  • Reliable and dedicated
  • Tendency to worry and focus on the negative

7. Enthusiasts

  • Spontaneous, fun and flexible
  • Extroverted — they are social and love meeting new people
  • Highly adventurous and always looking for fun
  • Easily distracted and not focused
  • Quick thinking
  • Good at maintaining a positive attitude

8. Challenger

  • Bold, dominant and confrontational
  • Decisive and Confident
  • Often succeeds in leadership roles
  • Sometimes seen as domineering and belligerent
  • Straightforward and action-oriented

9. House of Peace

  • Pleasant and easygoing
  • Sometimes complacent and complacent
  • Avoid conflicts whenever possible
  • Promote harmony in the group
  • I don’t like disagreements
  • Being able to ignore their own desires and needs just to ensure peace

Uses of Enneagram

Enneagram works by categorizing people into nine different categories. The aim is to provide insight not only into the individual’s personality but also to provide valuable information on how to better relate to others.

Possible applications

  • Personal growth and development
  • Interpersonal communication, team building and leadership development
  • Build successful relationships at work and in other areas of life

Although this theory needs further study to confirm its use, it has gained popularity as a tool for building better relationships. By better understanding an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, people can find ways to better relate and communicate with their partners.

Enneagrams are also sometimes used in the field of industrial-organizational psychology to help improve employee motivation and productivity. Businesses use the test to help their employees better understand team dynamics and interpersonal communication.

The test also gained popularity on social media as people shared more about their results and discovered their strengths and weaknesses.

Effect of Enneagram

While critics note that the system is rooted in semi-occult ancient philosophy rather than scientifically valid research, there is some evidence that the Enneagram was used as a personality tool:

  • A study published in Adult Development Magazine found that people who participated in a training program on Enneagram showed improvements in self-development and personal growth.
  • A year-long investigation conducted in 2004 by researchers Saville and Holdsworth found that the Enneagram is comparable to other well-known and more accepted theories including the Type Indicator. Myers-Briggs (MBTI) and the Big Five.
  • A case study published in the journal Contemporary Family Therapy suggests that the Enneagram can be a useful tool in the counseling context, helping to support therapy and raise awareness in the counseling relationship.

Although promising, more research is still needed to explore Enneagram’s applicability and usefulness.

Tips for using results on Enneagram

The Enneagram has gained more popularity in recent years thanks in part to the growing popularity of online personality tests. Because the Enneagram deals with flaws and weaknesses as well as strengths, it is often seen as a tool for self-analysis and self-improvement. By being aware of these areas, people can work to become more self-aware and achieve more self-actualization.

There are some important things you should remember when taking these tests:

  • Personality is complex and a simple online test is not enough to tell you everything about your personality, motivations, behaviors, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Such tests can be fun and exciting, but be careful not to take your results too seriously.
  • This type of test can be a way to gain insight into your own personality and can be a starting point for gaining more personal insight and self-perception.

If you are interested in taking the test, the Riso-Hudson Diagram Type Indicator (RHETI) can be found at the Enneagram Institute website. You can buy a single-use code for $12 to take the test.

Enneagram’s hidden pitfalls

There are a few pitfalls to watch out for when taking the Enneagram test or reading more about your type:

  • Enneagram has gained popularity in some areas but has also been criticized as unscientific. It is often described as too vague and difficult to test scientifically.
  • Type descriptions have been criticized for being too general, and Barnum effect style statements sometimes appear to resemble horoscopes more than empirically tested personality descriptions. (The Barnum effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people rate personality descriptions as highly accurate and personalized, even when they are so vague that they apply to almost anyone. People).
  • Not everyone agrees on how the system works. Some Enneagram theorists believe that personality consists of a dominant type and an adjacent wing, while other theorists suggest that there are two wings. The official Enneagram site says this is an area that needs further research.

Also keep in mind that Enneagram does not suggest that one type is better or more desirable than another. Whether the characteristics associated with each are considered help or hinder depends on the individual and their culture.

History of Enneagram

The origin of the Enneagram is something of a mystery. It may date back to Ancient Greece, although its exact history is disputed. It is a synthesis of several different spiritual traditions, including elements of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

A philosopher and mystic named George Ivanovich Gurdjieff is said to have brought the Enneagram to the attention of the world, although he did not use it to categorize personality types. Oscar Ichazo, founder of a school of human potential and personal growth, assigned different personality types to each of the nine positions in the Enneagram.

Later, psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo extended the theory to extend the nine categories in terms of psychology.

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