What is the Enneagram Tritype®?
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The term Tritype refers to a theory regarding the Enneagram of Personality and was coined by Enneagram researcher and coach Katherine Chernick Fauvre. The word tritype was formed from Latin, with the prefix tri meaning three, and the word type added referring to the Enneagram types. The theory was initially inspired and developed as the result of research studies Katherine conducted in 1994-1995 on the internal experience and personal image of the 9 Enneagram types.
In 1996, Katherine met a teacher from Arica that referenced Oscar Ichazo's teachings on a similar theory that he referred to as the "tri-fix", This was further confirmed Katherine's findings but there was still nothing published on Oscar Ichazo's "tri-fix" work. Finally, in December 1996 and January 1997, Enneagram Monthly published interviews with Oscar Ichazo that included the concept of tri-fix. This further validated Fauvre's 3 years of research findings that individuals have not just one, but 3 Enneagram Types.
In 2008, Katherine Fauvre coined the term Tritype in order to distinguish her vast body of research and resulting theory from Ichazo’s teachings, and the teachings of Arica.
Tritype theory suggests that while individuals primarily utilize one of the main Enneagram Types as their ‘core type,’ everyone actually employs three central Enneagram Types - the one that is the most dominant within each center of intelligence (the Head (567), Heart (234) and Gut (891) centers respectively). According to Katherine Fauvre, individuals use their main Enneagram Type along with two other types in a consistent and cascading manner, to produce a kind of ego intersection among all three types. Therefore, while each type within the Tritype is employed separately, the combination of all three types coming together gives each Tritype a unique defense strategy (or way of defending against reality) and a focus of attention. The Tritype is used to explain the distinctive ways in which each individual manages life using various combinations of ego strategies and coping mechanisms, yet Tritype (like the Enneagram) still remains a theory of motivation and not one of behavior.
Fauvre frequently refers to the "high side" and "low side" of these Tritype interactions and distinguishes each as having a separate purpose. The high side of the Tritype intersection is that it gives direction, focus and purpose to the individual ego. The low side of this Tritype intersection is that it creates a blind spot which can narrow a person's ability to accurately self-assess and may even prevent a person from achieving a higher level of self-awareness by keeping them stuck in habitual and self-defeating patterns.
The head center or the "mental triad" consists of Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7.
The heart center or the "emotional triad" consists of Enneagram types 2, 3, and 4.
The gut center or the "instinctive triad" consists of Enneagram types 8, 9, and 1.
Katherine Fauvre’s major body of work on the Enneagram and Tritype began in 1994-1995. At that time, she had initiated her research study on Enneastyle: The 9 Languages of Enneagram Type, which examined the internal experience and self-image of the nine Enneagram types. This research began with the Enneastyle Questionnaire.
Initially this questionnaire was sent to 400 participants that were already familiar with the Enneagram, so that Fauvre could examine whether or not individuals with the same Enneagram types described themselves using similar language and symbology. Although Fauvre suspected some questionnaire similarities among those with the same type, what she discovered was the likelihood that Enneagram type was possibly determinable by simply examining word choice in self-description categories. In order to test this hypothesis, Fauvre then gave the questionnaire to 100 participants that were unfamiliar with the Enneagram, and subsequently and successfully determined their Enneagram Types based on typing interviews and the language similarities that she had observed in the first set of questionnaires. Participants were followed for one year to verify the validity of Fauvre's original typings.
In 2003, using Katherine Fauvre’s initial research findings, Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre developed the Enneacards Enneagram Testing Instrument.
Tritype theory was born of the results of the research gathered from Katherine Fauvre's initial explorations into instinctual subtype, self-image, language, spirituality and intimacy from 1994-1998. After her analysis of the Enneastyle Questionnaire responses from her first research study on Enneastyle – then later in conjunction with the Enneacards Enneagram test– Fauvre consistently noticed that individuals with the same Enneagram types described themselves similarly. These individuals also used the same lexicon to communicate their internal states, self-image and motivation strategies.
Once Fauvre became familiar with the communication styles and word usage of each type, she also began to notice another pattern emerging in her research. Fauvre states that each individual expresses himself or herself using the language combinations that are distinct for the three different types that come together to form the Tritype. Analysis revealed through the use of the Enneastyle Questionnaire, Enneacards test results (measuring one’s dominant personality type, and Tritype), and follow up interviews, that Enneagram Tritype is an integral part of Enneagram Theory, as the two supporting types are illustrated and evident in the questionnaires through participants’ language and self-conception descriptions.
In 2004, David Fauvre commissioned the creation of an algorithm to code software that would detect the complex patterns of language use found in the Enneastyle Questionnaires. Since that time, both David and Katherine Fauvre have tested the Language Classifier to determine Type and Tritype using a variety of forms of written communication. The Language Classifier has been used to statistically validate that the language responses in the Enneastyle Questionnaire not only demonstrate that each Enneagram Type speaks in its own lexicon, regardless of age, sex, education or culture, but also that individuals use the lexicon of all three dominant types in their Tritype and instinctual subtype.
Katherine Fauvre has published her research in Enneastyle: The 9 Languages of Enneagram Type, The Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes, and in The 27 Tritypes Revealed: Discover Your Life Purpose and Blind Spot and, to date, over 20,000 people have taken the Fauvres' Enneastyle Questionnaire, Instinctual Subtypes Test, and the Enneacards Test. In addition, Fauvre has written articles for the "Enneagram Monthly", including one Reflections on Type that documents her experiences and understanding of an intensive workshop she attended with Claudio Naranjo in 1996.
Both Katherine and David Fauvre have presented and published their research on Tritype at the International Enneagram Association and in the International Enneagram Association's Enneagram Journal in 2012. Their article is titled Exploring Enneagram Tritype : Theory and practice.
The Tritype theory has been presented at the International Enneagram Association's annual conference, and aspects of Tritype have been presented every year from 2008-2014. In July 2011 at the IEA conference, Katherine Fauvre presented on the Tritype archetypes she has observed as well as how they relate to the instinctual subtypes.
Katherine Fauvre states that the Tritype may or may not consist of the types in the lines of connection, or next to the dominant type on the Enneagram, however the first number in the Tritype is always the dominant type, followed by the next preferred types in the other two non-dominant centers of intelligence. Therefore, having a "Tritype" means having one dominant Enneagram type in each center of intelligence.
For example: the 548 or "The Scholar" Tritype leads with the dominant Type 5 (in the mental center) and then utilizes Type 4 (in the heart center) and Type 8 (in the gut center) in that order. A Type 5 may or may not have Type 4 in their Tritype, despite it being a possible wing for the Type 5. Tritype types are employed to support the dominant type.
Katherine Fauvre states that research shows that the other types in the Tritype are employed for use when the dominant patterns and defenses are no longer effective. The Tritype is therefore usually only engaged when the defenses of both wings and all the lines of connection have been exhausted.
Another example: a person could be the 927 or "The Peacemaker" Tritype, and after utilizing the dominant Type 9 strategies the person may move to their lines of connection (Type 3 and Type 6) as well as to their possible wings (Type 1 and Type 8). However, if these connections are not effective for the person, they may move to Type 2 and become more helpful, effusive and relational, and then move subsequently to Type 7 to utilize positive reframing, escapism or future planning in order to achieve desirable results.
Another 9 may have the 935 Tritype or "The Thinker" Tritype, and this Tritype will present very differently from another 9 Tritype. The 935 will utilize the Type 9 strategy as dominant, but after exhausting wings and lines of connection, will move to Type 3 and become more expedient, professional or image focused, and then to Type 5 and become more cerebral, remote and concealed. This Tritype combination will seem significantly different from the 927.
Katherine Fauvre also states that aside from the employment of the other types in the Tritype, an archetype (see below) is created that illustrates why types of the same type, instinctual stacking, and wing can present differently.
Katherine Fauvre believes that there are two main ways to work with Tritype material. The first is to study the differences within type by looking at the Tritype relationship to those sharing the same dominant Enneagram type. The other is comparing the similarities between people with the same Tritype across different core Enneagram types. Either way, a person is referencing the Tritype archetype.
For example: Type 1 has nine different possible combinations (125, 126, 127, 135, 136, 137, 145, 146, 147). Through observation of how these different combinations of the Type 1 conceptualize and navigate the social world, distinctions may be noticed depending upon the types in the Tritype. The other method is to recognize the archetype of each Tritype combination. Fauvre posits that each of the 27 Tritype combinations illustrate a particular and individual archetype. These archetypes were observed out of the recognition of the similar core triggers, core fears, life purposes, blind spots and “growing edges” that seemed to personify how each Tritype navigated the world.
Example: the 468 (486, 684, 648, 864, 846) has been deemed “The Truth Teller” by Fauvre. Most research participants who identified this as their Tritype combination reported similar archetypal patterns that, according to Fauvre, warranted this title, such as the desire to track inconsistencies and call off hidden agendas and ulterior motives. According to Fauvre, each of the 27 Tritypes have a corresponding archetype that gives a "snapshot" into the archetypal life path of that particular Tritype combination.
27 Tritype Archetypes
125, 152, 215, 251, 512, 521-The Mentor
126, 162, 216, 261, 612, 621-The Supporter
127, 172, 217, 271, 712, 721-The Teacher
135, 153, 315, 351, 513, 531-The Technical Expert
136, 163, 316, 361, 613, 631-The Taskmaster
137, 173, 317, 371, 713, 731-The Systems Builder
145, 154, 415, 451, 514, 541-The Researcher
146, 164, 416, 461, 614, 641-The Philosopher
147, 174, 417, 471, 714, 741-The Visionary
258, 285, 528, 582, 825, 852-The Strategist
259, 295, 529, 592, 925, 952-The Problem Solver
268, 286, 628, 682, 826, 862-The Rescuer
269, 296, 629, 692, 926, 962-The Good Samaritan
278, 287, 728, 782, 827, 872-The Free Spirit
279, 297, 729, 792, 927, 972-The Peacemaker
358, 385, 538, 583, 835, 853-The Solution Master
359, 395, 539, 593, 935, 953-The Thinker
368, 386, 638, 683, 836, 863-The Justice Fighter
369, 396, 639, 693, 936, 963-The Mediator
378, 387, 738, 783, 837, 873-The Mover Shaker
379, 397, 739, 793, 937, 973-The Ambassador
458, 485, 548, 584, 845, 854-The Scholar
459, 495, 549, 594, 945, 954-The Contemplative
468, 486, 648, 684, 846, 864-The Truth Teller
469, 496, 649, 694, 946, 964-The Seeker
478, 487, 748, 784, 847, 874-The Messenger
479, 497, 749, 794, 947, 974-The Gentle Spirit
In October 2012, Tritype officially became a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
In 2011, a grant was provided to create the TV show Types: Your Personality Revealed by the Mid-peninsula Media Community Center of Palo Alto, California. All 5 shows are available on Youtube.
“Katherine’s work on the Tritype is fresh, innovative and illuminating. Even those well acquainted with the Enneagram will be surprised at the precision of this approach in identifying key features of the personality. Highly recommended!”
-Russ Hudson, Sexual 548, coauthor, ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’
How the Tritype works
Although one of these three Types is dominant, or your primary Type, the other two Types play a large role in your life. What is surprising is that these two other Types are not always the Types along the lines of connection (the lines connected to your primary Type). For example, if you are a Type 9 you may or may not have Type 3 and/or Type 6 as part of your Tritype. You could have a Tritype of 9-2-6 or 9-3-6 or 9-4-6 or 9-2-5, 9-2-7 and so on.
Each Tritype combination creates a different expression of Enneagram Type. If you are an Enneagram Type 4 you might have a Tritype of 4-6-8. This would mean you predominantly use Type 4, however, if the 4 strategies don?t work you will next use the strategies of Type 6 and then Type 8. Your Enneagram Type 4 would still be in charge. However, when the 4 strategies fails to produce results and all permutations (wings and lines of connections) of Type 4 have been exhausted, you will then shift to use the dominant Type in each of the other two centers to manage problems and create solutions. If your primary Type is 8, you might have a Tritype configuration of 8-7-4. The primary Enneagram Type for you would be Type 8, however, this Tritype combination indicates that you would most likely be a strong, positive person who seeks solutions (8), options (7) and meaning (4). What is fascinating is that if the strategy of Type 8 fails to give you the desired results of overcoming obstacles, you would then employ the strategy of Type 7 and then if needed Type 4.
The Tritype reveals the distinct differences of those sharing the same Enneagram Type. The Tritype also explains how individuals sharing the same three fixations may have more in common than those sharing the same Enneagram Type. For example, if you were an 8-7-4, you would have secondary strategies that are very different than an 8-2-6. The 8-7-4 is a fast paced creative, feelingful and optimistic Type 8 whereas the 8-2-6 is a more cynical, loyal and helpful Type 8. Further, if you are the 8-7-4 Type 8, you may relate more to a 7-4-8 than another Type 8 that has a different Tritype.
Understanding the Tritype in Practice
Just as with your primary Enneagram Type you will experience the other Types in your Tritype in both positive and negative ways. To understand how this works in practice, if someone with a Tritype of 8-7-4, finds that taking charge like an 8 isn’t working, they may try to lighten up or be positive like a 7, and if that doesn’t work, may search for meaning like a 4. The 8 fear of being disempowered is driving the process. If the 8 still feels disempowered and unable to direct their circumstances the 8-7-4 may feel over-extended and scattered (7) and painfully lacking (4). So this person has used the strategies of three Enneagram Types, one from each of the three Enneagram Centers (Head-Heart-Gut), in a preferred order of 8-7-4. Another example would be a 4-6-8. Here we have a more aggressive and reactive Type 4 than say a 4-9-5, who would be more withdrawn, passive (9) and avoidant (5). Another example would be a 9-7-2. This would be the Type 9 with a very rosy and positive outlook desiring easygoing relationships. A 9-5-3 would be the kind of 9 who is more intellectual (5), perfectionistic and focused on efficiency (3) with less of an emphasis on maintaining harmonious relationships than other 9s.
How your Tritype was determined in your Enneacards Enneagram Test and what it means about you
In the second half of the Enneacards Enneagram Test, you were asked to rank Enneacards to determine your preferred Enneagram Type in each of the three Enneagram centers: head, heart and gut. You were then asked to rank your choices among the three centers. This revealed your preferred Enneagram Type in each center in order of preference or your Tritype.
Your Tritype is like your own Enneagram thumbprint showing the unique way that you manage your life using the strategies available to you. It defines the strategies you employ to negotiate life. It also identifies what motivates you. Further it reveals why you are different from others of the same Enneagram Type.
Having difficulty determining your Enneagram Type?
When it is difficult to determine your primary Enneagram Type it can be helpful to try and first determine your Tritype. With observation you can determine which of the three Types is the CEO or commander in chief. Research has shown, that there is a very high probability that your actual Enneagram Type is among the three Types in your Tritype.
If you struggle with determining your dominant Type and/or Tritype, please consider that you may have type 6 and/or type 9 in your Tritype. Both of these these types struggle with doubt and tend to identify with the other types.
Transformation through Insight
Identifying and confirming your dominant Enneagram Type and your Tritype is an essential part of the transformation process. Do not be discouraged if it takes time, as the process itself will give you many valuable insights.
All content Katherine Chernick Fauvre ©1995-2017
The 639 Tritype
I promised a long time ago to say more about the 6w7 639 Tritype.
Ok just this one for now...a very short example....
The 369 Tritype is the primary Tritype and the most amenable and adaptable of the 27. This Tritype includes the core type of each center of intelligence. The core of each center is seeking to balance the opposites within each center to create resolution. The core of each center is usually out of touch with the focus of their respective center and tend to be caught in the dance of opposites created by the opposing defense strategies of the wings in each center. So the 6 as the center of the head triad struggles to trust themselves and their own inner guidance. They oscillate between feeling they need to be an expert about something or feeling they need to know a little about everything to feel safe.
So, the 3 is trying to manage the overall fear of being ignored, the 6 is trying to manage the fear of fear itself and chaos and the 9 is trying to manage the fear of being overlooked and unimportant. Together, the focus is on creating, restoring and maintaining peaceful relating.
If your Tritype is the 369 it reinforces the primary issues. As a result, neutralizing conflict is a primary concern.
The 7 wing gives the 6 a lighter touch and a desire to manage stress with quick witted, often self-deprecating humor. So, the 6w7 with the 639 is the friendly boy or girl next door that wants to engage with others as a means of survival.
This strategy is true even if the person is shy. And, the extroverted 639 still feels cautious and/or has doubts but the extraversion makes it easier to bridge their shyness by saying something funny and/or witty. The introverted 639 uses their shy smile to disarm and engage others.
Self Preserving 639
The self-preserving 639 is preoccupied with their physical needs. They focus on their sense of security and what will keep them feeling safe, nurtured, and comfortable. They tend to worry about everything associated with their essential needs, focusing on the demands of their home, job, pension, and family, etc.
Being disarming and friendly are tools of the trade for the self-preserving 6. And a friendly, and socially acceptable partner may be considered just as important as a good job as both reinforce that they have what they need in times of uncertainty. As such, they monitor their physical needs and resources to gage if they are safe and secure. To maintain a sense of well being they may also track the physical needs of their designated other(s). This can be exhausting and feel difficult to manage so they often keep their world small, letting in only one person or a trusted few.
The Social 639
The social 639 is preoccupied with their place or position within the group(s) of their choosing. Ideally, their group needs to be considered socially acceptable and their partner needs to be considered friendly and successful to insure and maintain the security that comes from status.
They focus on being dutiful and supportive to the people, beliefs, values and/or creeds they have chosen to align with. As such, they monitor who is doing what with whom and whether or not feel included and secure. To maintain their security they seek a role or position within their group(s) and family systems to insure they have others that will come to their aid should they need it. They see themselves as dedicated and loyal to the people in their lives. They instinctively shape shift and become what their others need in order to be deemed worthy of admiration and protection.
The sexual 639
The sexual 639 is preoccupied with selecting and/or being a desirable and irresistible alpha mate. They are more intense and counter-phobic than the self-preserving and social 6. They seek intensity and chemistry in their intimate relationships and tend to push the edge in whatever they do. They manage their fears and anxiety by jumping into situations that cause distress proving to themselves that they are strong enough to manage whatever feels threatening. They can move from fear to action in nano seconds when they have already projected a worst-case scenario and have prepared for it. As a result they may not identify with having fear.
The sexual 639 focuses on having and being strong enough and/or beautiful enough to attract a desirable mate that will stand beside them and protect them when they feel insecure. Strength may mean physical strength and beauty or can be defined as someone that is extremely smart and competent. Ideally, they want their mate and close friends to be extraordinary in some way they feel they are not. As such, they may choose a mate that they think is smarter than most so that they feel they have all of their bases covered. To that end, they adapt to what their mate or partners want to insure they have their special someone that will stand together with them against an uncertain world.