Enneagram FAQs

Fri Feb 10 2023

Enneagram FAQs

Below are the frequently asked questions about the Enneagram, personality and 9takes.

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a personality framework that describes nine distinct personality types, each with its own unique motivations, fears, and core values. Each type is represented by a number, and individuals may identify with one or more of these types based on their personality traits and tendencies. The Enneagram system can be used as a tool for self-awareness and personal growth, as well as for understanding and improving relationships communication, and team dynamics in various settings.

What is enneagram?

The term "Enneagram" comes from the Greek words "ennea" and "gramma".

"Ennea" is the Greek word for nine, and "gramma" means something written or drawn. So, combined, "Enneagram" essentially translates to "nine-pointed diagram."

The Enneagram symbol itself is a circle with nine points on its circumference, each point representing one of the nine fundamental personality types. These points are connected by lines to form a geometric figure that illustrates the connections and interactions among the types.

Though the exact origins of the Enneagram system are a subject of debate, it is generally believed to have ancient roots, with influences from mystical aspects of Christianity, Sufism, and other spiritual traditions. The modern usage of the Enneagram as a personality typology is largely credited to the Bolivian psychologist and philosopher Oscar Ichazo in the mid-20th century, and later developed by psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo.

What are the nine Enneagram types?

The nine Enneagram types are as follows:

  • Type 1: The Perfectionist
  • Type 2: The Helper
  • Type 3: The Achiever
  • Type 4: The Individualist
  • Type 5: The Investigator
  • Type 6: The Loyalist
  • Type 7: The Enthusiast
  • Type 8: The Challenger
  • Type 9: The Peacemaker

Each type is characterized by a core motivation, core fear, and core desire that underlie their personality and behavior patterns.

How do I identify my Enneagram type?

There are various online tests and assessments that can help individuals identify their Enneagram type, but these should be used as a starting point for self-reflection and exploration, rather than as a definitive answer. The Enneagram system is complex and nuanced, and it can take time and self-awareness to accurately identify one's type. Some individuals may find it helpful to read about each type and reflect on which one resonates most with their personality traits, tendencies, and motivations.

Can your Enneagram type change over time?

While individuals may exhibit traits or tendencies from other Enneagram types throughout their lives, the core motivations, fears, and desires that define each type typically remain relatively stable over time. However, the Enneagram system emphasizes personal growth and self-awareness, and individuals can work to become more balanced and integrated within their type, as well as to develop traits and qualities associated with other types.

How does Enneagram differ from other personality tests like Myers-Briggs or the Big Five?

The Enneagram differs from other personality tests in its focus on core motivations and fears, as well as its emphasis on personal growth and self-awareness. While other tests may categorize individuals based on traits or tendencies, the Enneagram seeks to uncover the underlying motivations and desires that drive behavior. Additionally, the Enneagram can be used as a tool for personal growth and self-awareness, while other tests may primarily be used for career or job placement.

Is Enneagram scientific?

The Enneagram system is not based on scientific research or empirical data, but rather on anecdotal evidence and personal observation. The official origins are somewhat convoluted but can be traced back to a Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo and further back to a Bolivian spiritual teacher named Oscar Ichazo. However, the general principles of the enneagram are eerily similar to Sigmund Freud's works on the id, ego and superego. Furthermore this three part distinction of the human psyche goes even further back and parallels Plato's description of the human soul (see here).

Can Enneagram be used in therapy?

Yes, the Enneagram can be used in therapy as a tool for increasing self-awareness, understanding core motivations and fears, and improving communication and relationship dynamics. Therapists may use the Enneagram in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities to help clients achieve personal growth and healing.

Can Enneagram be used in the workplace?

Yes, the Enneagram can be used in the workplace to improve team dynamics, communication, and conflict resolution. Employers may use the Enneagram as a tool for leadership development, talent management, and working-in-teams. Additionally, understanding individual Enneagram types can help employees better understand their own

What are the ideas behind the Enneagram?

At a high level the Enneagram delves into personality, motivations, and personal growth. As you get deeper into it you explore the 9 types, the centers of intelligence, connecting lines, instincts, and wings (see here).

Do psychologists use the Enneagram?

Some psychologists use the Enneagram as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth, recognizing its value in fostering self-awareness, understanding motivations, and identifying areas for development.

How does the Enneagram relate to psychology?

The Enneagram is a psychological and spiritual framework that shares similarities with other theories, such as Freud's model of the human psyche and Plato's concept of the human soul (see here), offering insights into human behavior and growth.

Who created the Enneagram?

The modern Enneagram system was developed by Oscar Ichazo and further refined by Claudio Naranjo, with roots in ancient wisdom traditions, including the Desert Fathers, Kabbalah, and Sufi tradition (see here).

Is there any science behind the Enneagram?

The Enneagram has been widely used within many religious traditions, but it is also often used outside of any religious context.

Is the Enneagram a religious thing?

While the Enneagram has gained recognition in psychology and personal development fields, it is not as extensively researched as other personality theories. However, some studies and anecdotal evidence support its usefulness in understanding personality patterns.

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