The Enneagram is a dynamic 9 point personality system that combines sophisticated modern psychological tools with ancient wisdom. The Enneagram symbol (any•a•gram; ennea is Greek for nine, and gram means drawing) is a circle enclosing nine equidistant points connected by nine intersecting lines. This symbol has its roots in the Middle East in ancient spiritual traditions. The nine points represent the ways in which the nine different personality types perceive and defend their realities. As we know it today, the Enneagram is a vital link between Eastern spirituality and Western psychology. It is a theory of nine personality types that is complex and sophisticated and yet is a sensible and easily understood tool for self-discovery.
The wisdom of the Enneagram is that it recognizes nine very different yet inherently valid views of reality. The power of the Enneagram is that it is a profound and comprehensive tool to harness and transform self-defeating behavior into life-enhancing personal empowerment. The gift of the Enneagram is that through self-discovery, one can create and sustain meaningful and lasting relationships.
The Enneagram symbol dates back to Pythagoras. It was brought to the West by George Gurdjieff around 1900. In the late 1960s, Oscar Ichazo introduced ‘Enneagons’ as a tool for self-discovery to a group in Arica, Chile. He was the first to identify key aspects of each of the nine Enneagram Types. Dr. Claudio Naranjo was a part of that group. In the early 1970s, Dr. Naranjo expanded on Ichazo’s work and began teaching the Enneagram to a SAT (Seekers after Truth) group in Berkeley, California in the USA.
Later, Maria Beesing, Patrick O’Leary, Robert Nogosek, Don Riso, Russ Hudson, Helen Palmer, Dr. David Daniels and others added new elements to the understanding of the Enneagram Types. In 1995, Katherine Chernick began her first empirical research exploring the self-image of the nine types. This research revealed that each Enneagram Type had a self-image that included positive attributes accompanied by a set of core fears. More importantly, the image statements combined with the corresponding core fears revealed the more hidden, ‘internal experience’ of type. This further explained the underlying motivations that drive the behaviors of the nine types. In 1996, Katherine and David Fauvre began building systems to confirm these findings.
Type-Self-Image and Core Fears
1-I am good, I am right, I am in control, I am diligent, and I am appropriate. Resentment with the fear of being wrong, bad, evil, or corruptible.
2-I am caring, I am nurturing, I am helpful, I am altruistic, and I am appealing. Pride with the fear of being worthless, needy, inconsequential, or dispensable.
3-I am successful, I am efficient, I am competent, I am focused, and I am productive. Vanity with the fear of failing, being incompetent, inefficient, exposed, or unable to do.
4-I am unique, I am special, I am deep, I am accomplished, and I am tasteful. Envy with the fear of being inadequate, emotionally cut off, defective, or flawed.
5-I am perceptive, I am knowledgeable, I am observant, I am wise, and I am different. Avarice with the fear of being ignorant, invaded, not existing, annihilation, or obligation.
6-I am dedicated, I am dutiful, I am provocative, I am loyal, I am compliant, and/or rebellious. Fear of Fear itself, submitting, being alone, blamed, targeted, or physical abandoned.
7-I am happy, I am optimistic, I am fun, I am enthusiastic, and I am playful. Gluttony with the fear of being incomplete, inferior, limited, bored, or missing out.
8-I am invincible, I am powerful, I am protective, I am straight-forward, and I am authentic. Excess with the fear of being weak, powerless, harmed, controlled, or manipulated.
9-I am agreeable, I am easy going, I am peaceful, I am humble, and I am unassuming. Indolence with the fear of being in conflict, loveless, shut out, discordant, or inharmonious.