The Enneagram
a profound
map of the soul

The Enneagram

I use the Enneagram in my coaching because it provides a complete map of the human soul, thus making the terrain we are navigating together more understandable. Each Enneagram type represents one of nine different facets of our Essential Nature. Discovering this default patterning of your soul can help you get really clear about what’s keeping you from creating the rich and soul-fulfilling life you want to live and help you focus your growth work in ways that actually bear fruit.

The Enneagram is a system of nine personality types, as well as a map of nine different paths of reconnection with your authentic self. Understanding what type is primary, what specific set of beliefs normally drive your life, can help you to find your way back home, opening the way to greater ease, happiness, and freedom in your life.

How the Enneagram Can Support You:

The Short Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Descriptions

The descriptions below are very brief thumbnails of what the nine Enneagram types look like in isolation. In reality, we all have all nine types within us, so no-one’s personality is contained completely in one type description; however, if you think about how you’ve behaved over the course of your life, you will likely be able to identify a dominant pattern.

In order to get a fuller experience of the types, click on the two collages connected to each one to make them bigger. Take in the overall feel and look at the individual images and words. The collages on the left represent the type’s potentials, gifts, and strengths. The collages on the right depict what happens when the type gets stressed, less present, and reactive. When you land on your primary type you will recognize yourself in both.

Type One: The Reformer
Principled, purposeful, self-controlled & perfectionistic

The principled, idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience.

At their Best: Wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

(“And suddenly happiness of Being entered me” from “Priceless Gifts” by Anna Swir, from Talking to My Body translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard E. Nathan)

Type Two: The Helper
Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing & possessive

The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs.

At their Best: Unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.

Type Three: The Achiever
Adaptable, excelling, driven & image-conscious

The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness.

At their Best: Self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be-role models who inspire others.

Type Four: The Individualist
Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed & temperamental

The introspective, romantic type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.

At their Best: Inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you!
I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for being able to participate in the sessions that I attended with you.
I learned so much about myself, and most importantly it gave me the courage and the desire to want
to explore more and truly find clarity in my identity. I wish you both holidays filled with only peace and joy.
Know that you have made an impact on this soul.

~ Sue, Minnesota, Read more.

Type Five: The Investigator
Perceptive, innovative, secretive & isolated

The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation.

At their Best: Visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way

Type Six: The Loyalist
Engaging, responsible, anxious & suspicious

The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious-running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion.

At their Best: Internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.

Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive & scattered

The busy, productive type. Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness.

At their Best: They focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Type Eight: The Challenger
Self-confident, decisive, willful & confrontational

The powerful, aggressive type. Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

At their Best: Self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Receptive, reassuring, agreeable & complacent

The easy-going, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually grounded, supportive, and often creative, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent and emotionally distant, simplifying problems and ignoring anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness.

At their Best: Indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

Short Riso-Hudson Type Descriptions Copyright 2015 The Enneagram Institute, Used with Permission; Type Collages Copyright 2015 Katy Taylor

Enneagram Test

So, you’re probably hoping that we will give you a test to tell you who you are. Unfortunately, no test can do that! And, we find that taking tests, while it can be fun, can also be misleading…

Instead of taking a test, we recommend that you take some time to read the type descriptions on this page and look carefully at the collages that accompany them. You should see a whole range of your behaviors—from your strengths and potentials to the ways you get caught in what we call “normally neurotic” behaviors.

Remember that all nine types are operating in you—the task is to find the one that is leading the show. Your type is the persona your ego took on in an attempt to successfully navigate the world. Egos try to be safe and succeed—but there are nine different ways to do this, so see which feels most true for you.

That said, if you’re having a lot of trouble deciding and you’d like to try a test, we recommend this one. Let your answers reflect how you’ve been most of your life–even if you are growing and changing now. 

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