The Value of the Enneagram

"Don't Put Me in a Box": One of the main questions that I tend to get about the Enneagram, is in regards to the value in "personality typing" systems like the Enneagram. There is a conception amongst some people that personality typing is limiting, as they perceive that it creates a schema that "puts people into boxes".

Indeed the Enneagram is categorical and tends to put people in categories, however in my opinion, this is an inherently human tendency and has a practical usefulness in understanding the world.

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Introduction to the 9 Types

This should serve as a basic crash course in the Enneagram types and provide newcomers and long time students with a refresher on the basic type and wing combinations of the Enneagram. The Enneagram system is separated into three triads which characterize the central concerns of the three types within each triad, each type underexpresses, overexpresses, and controls the energy of the center in a particular way. The types are influenced by the types on either side of them on the Enneagram. The influence of these types is referred to as a "wing". Most people have a dominant wing that influences their type but some find they are affected equally by the types on either side of their dominant type. For example some Twos are primarily influenced by Three on one side and thus are referred to as a Two with a Three wing, (written in this blog as 2w3) while others are influenced more by the One on the other side of the Two and are referred to as a Two with a One wing, or 2w1.

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Introduction to the Enneagram

We realized that some people may not be familiar with the Enneagram so many of these blog posts will be a little like reading a foreign language so we thought writing a brief intro to the system and the Nine types would be beneficial for those not acquainted with the system. 


The Enneagram has unclear beginnings that can be traced back as far as ancient Babylon and ancient Egypt which makes theoretical attribution difficult due to its inherently oral nature. The word Enneagram is translated into “nine diagram” which points to the geometric figure that represents the system as a whole (see figure “a”). With nine equidistant points drawn inside of a circle, the symbols use as a theoretical model are likely mathematical and were discovered by mathematician Pythagoras (Riso and Hudson, p.12 1996). The symbol was thought of as a pictorial/geometric representation of the “process of renewal” and was likely passed down generationally from the Greeks to the Arabs and Moslems in the early 14th and 15th centuries (Riso and Hudson, p.12 1996).

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