Tritype with Instinctual Stackings

In answer to questions asked regarding  the intersection of the instinct type stacking with the Enneagram Tritypes.

Guy, you make some good points. I am frequently asked about the history of the Enneagram since I have studied with all of the original teachers including Naranjo and Ichazo in one form or another and certified with three schools of thought.

Enneagram differences in the descriptions of the Enneagram and the instinctual subtypes can be explained when you know the origins and the subsequent dissemination of the Enneagram.

Knowing the correct history of the Enneagram is important as it explains why certain areas of the Enneagram developed in different ways.

I studied with Naranjo in 1996, which was the first time he taught the Enneagram in its entirety in the US. Naranjo’s earlier teachings were to his Spiritual groups SAT (Seekers After Truth) groups from 1971-1973. It was great because he was open to answering all of our questions… such as who did what and when. It cleared up a lot of errors and misunderstandings in the original dissemination of the Enneagram. He also clarified what Ichazo taught him and what he contributed separately from Ichazo.

Later, I lived for a year on Maui, the land of Ichazo, and was able to attend Ichazo’s Intensive as well as become friends with Ichazo’s spiritual school trainers that taught his 40-day trainings. Naranjo left Ichazo and the other students in Arica, Chile and the training in Arica before it was complete and went on to do his own work. This was before Ichazo had created his formal spiritual school, which he later named Arica. So as the work of both men continued to grow and develop they became slightly different from one another.

From the Arica trainers, I learned what was in Ichazo’s trainings, etc., post-Naranjo. For example, when I was teaching an Enneagram workshop there I learned from another teacher from Arica that Ichazo did not teach subtypes, which confirmed what Naranjo had said in 1996. So, after studying with all the founders of the Enneagram and having conducted multiple research studies of my own the puzzle pieces that had some confusing elements began to fit together and make sense. In fact, all the terminology that might be confusing makes sense when you know how it evolved.

A little back story: Jack Labanauskas and Andrea Isaacs, the founders and editors of the Enneagram Monthly, asked me if I would write a review of the intensive with Naranjo because it was the first Enneagram Intensive Naranjo had taught in the US and he has not taught at all in the US for 20 years. I agreed and shared many nuances of type that I learned from Naranjo. The article is titled Reflections on Type. You can read it on my website under research articles at

Jack and I also asked Naranjo if he would teach the Instincts since there was so little known about them at the time. I gave Naranjo my book with my first set of findings on the Instinctual Subtypes (Enneagram type combined with the instinctual type becomes the instinctual subtype).

I wanted to validate my findings and not create any further misunderstandings if I was wrong. He graciously agreed to teach the instinctual subtypes and also gave me permission to add his view of the instincts and the 27 instinctual subtypes in my book on the instincts that I had given him, Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes.

I had him confirm my notes for accuracy. This is key in the transmission of the Enneagram because Naranjo is the originator of the instinctual subtypes.

In my original book, I had the teachings of the instincts by what was thought to be Ichazo via Kathleen Speeth who learned from Naranjo, Helen Palmer who learned from Speeth and Condon who learned from Palmer. I later added other teachers and more of my own findings. After 16 years of research, I felt I knew what was consistent and true for each of the instinctual subtypes and what wasn't accurate. So in 2011, I wrote a page on each of the 27 combinations.

Now to be confusing... but true of my experience...

I find all systems reveal something important. Whatever a system reveals appears to help people discover more about their internal process. It also explains why we are different from others of the same type, tritype and instinctual type.

I have found that combining the two systems of the 27 instinctual subtypes and the 27 tritype archetypes gives a profound understanding of an individual's defense strategies, focus of attention, assets and liabilities, and of course, the corresponding gifts and unique expertise and lens of perception.

Combining it further with Meyers-Briggs and other systems gives even more data. Having said this, it does take a lot of skill that comes with time. I find it is easiest to look at each system separately and find your focus of attention and then combine them paying attention to what characteristics would be reinforced and those that would cancel out or create a blind spot.

 For example, I do see that a sexual 874 is very different from a social or self-preserving 874. All 3 are focused on the "creative or change element" the cutting edge, new frontiers and sharing what they learn as they go (the messenger) but in 3 different ways. They all want to know everything excessively, intensely (8) they can learn in a variety of ways (7) to find meaning (4).

The dominant type in the tritype such as 8 in the 874 tritype consists of the dominant type in each center or triad. When the Enneagram tritype is combined with the instinctual stacking which is the order we use the 3 instincts creates a very specific defense strategy and view of reality.

The personality is made up of the primal needs, the ego and the higher essential qualities. The instinct as the most primal aspect of the personality is dominant and always in charge of the defense system. Type and Tritype are secondary to the instinctual stacking.

Tritype includes the emotional and fixated beliefs that arise when the instinct feels threatened and perceives that it is or will eminently be deprived of what is essential for survival.

Side note:
I added the stacking when my first body of research on the instincts in 1995 showed that people used their instincts in a descending order beginning with the instinct that was most dominant. The way I listed the use of the instincts was originally by listing all three instincts such as; sx/sp/so.\ Very quickly I became lazy, as it was tedious to write all three over and over again as I compiled my findings. Since the third instinct was implied I just shortened it to the first two such as sx/sp. These two described the essence of the instinct so the third was not necessary to note. The term variants came later when Don Riso and Russ Hudson added the instincts to their work. Don already had the wing types as subtypes so he changed his to variants since they also created variations in the expression of the types.

So together they are very powerful.

If these three combinations were doing the same study of the instincts or Tritypes the way I have they would approach it very differently. I know this because of my understanding but also because those of there 3 different combinations focused on the results of my findings in very different ways.


Sexual 874
The sexual 8 drive to possess unquestionable devotion to surrender control combined with the 874 need for what is new, novel, cutting edge, powerful beautiful and meaningful creates a need to have and be devoted to passionate relationships and endeavors that are constantly evolving and/or changing.

So the sexual 874 passionately pursues the data that is intriguing (sx8), and do so in a personal manner (sx4) from as many different sources as possible (sx7) to find what is magical (7), meaningful (4) and still concrete (8).

The sexual drive for closeness, intensity and intimate encounters combined with the 874 drive to learn what is new, novel, exciting (7) provocative (8), meaningful (4), and uncharted areas, (874) creates a drive to find meaning in most everything that interests them,

The sx 7 loves the fantasy and imagination, the sx 8 the intensity and the sx 4 the depth. The 4 and 7 also want ideal circumstances, As a result, this Tritype and instinct wants it all and focuses on what is missing and perceived to be important and how to get it and want to find meaning in suffering.

All 8s have to learn the value of being sympathetic and to give encouraging feedback. But when the sexual instinct and the 4 are combined with 8, it creates a more sensitive and empathetic 8. So this 874 is a more emotional tritype combination. Having said that, the sexual 864, is the most outwardly emotional and reactive of the 27 Tritypes whereas the sexual 874 is more hidden and demonstrates the ‘cool” and finesse of the 7.

The 7 also brings a light touch, a sense of humor and optimism even when they feel sensitive and focus on what is missing. And the 8 brings a "can do" and "get over it" attitude, which at times be confusing to the sexual 874 tritype-instinctual subtype combination.

So the sexual 874 seeks ways to learn more by including personal experiences such as personal interviews with people to learn about the type's experiences from the inside->out (sx)... what it feels like to be a type, tritype or instinct with all the intimate details. They do this to give additional meaning to their findings. Each interview would be personal in nature and created in the world of exclusively "you and me". The focus of the sexual 874 is on discovery and nuances that are revealed and what is exclusive to the work they are doing.

Social 874
The social 8 drive for friends for strength and security by grouping (so), and having power though having strong alliances combined with the 874 need for what is new, novel, cutting edge, powerful beautiful and meaningful creates a need to have a socially elite (4), powerful (8) and progressive (7) group.

So, the social 874 pursues the greater world of others to form their entourage (so) as a means for survival. They gather people to “gather” the data they want. They prefer to share with their group who will then in turn share with their others, So, their focus is on gathering what is concrete (8) in a friendly, extroverted manner (7 and 8) but it is more impersonal than the sexual 874 (so). However, they want what is meaningful (4) and telling about others, so, what is true for others in their extended circle of influence, which includes like-minded individuals (7). They share what others have said in a group setting.

They are at the center of this activity (so8) and their cohorts create the arms of their extended influence. They find meaning (so4) from the standpoint of curiosity from the diversity of their tribe of participants with less of a need for intrigue and personal interviews like the sexual 874. That would only slow the social 874 down. Enjoyment comes from group participation… the more the merrier.

If there are interviews they would be in the world of "all of us" or the" greater world" rather than the personal experience the sx 874 has a lust for. This is because personal sharing excludes others in the mind of the social 874 for they are happiest when everyone is involved at the same time.

The sharing of the data of the so 874 would be enthusiastic with a look of surprise and with comments like "Can you believe that the social 146 is the most self-critical of all the 81 combinations of type, tritype, and instinctual types, and that they are secretly very shy and inhibited??????" “That must be hard to live with…I sure couldn’t live that way because I count on my self-confidence!”

Self-Preserving 874
The self-preserving 8 drive for satisfactory survival combined with the 874 need for what is new, novel, cutting edge, powerful, beautiful, and meaningful creates a need for practical but special, beautiful and diverse (7) physical comforts such a beautiful car or home.

The self-preserving 874 is less interested in gathering data. But they do want to know what makes people tick because they then know how to manage problems that interfere with their comforts and satisfactory survival. Of the 3 instincts of the 874, the sp874 pursues the data in the most impersonal manner.

The self-preserving instinct brings a more nuts and bolts, down to earth way of going after information. Rather than a lust for personal relating (sx874) or a gusto for social engagement (so874), the sp874 is focused on concrete ways of learning about what makes people do what they do.

The self-preserving 874 brings a need for comfort and satisfactory survival and the 874 brings a need to be on the cutting edge, to create and then to share. So like the other 874s, they go outward (8 and 7) to find meaning (4), by creating a tool or process to gather the information that is practical and less taxing. In a way, they are most methodical...not that the other two can't is just that the sp874 is more comfortable approaching a problem or a process in the most simplified and straight-forward manner, which is a little plain for the other two subtypes of 874.

They gather the information to figure out what motivates people (8), why people are so different (7), and why people feel the way they do (4) and what it means (4). But most importantly, they are the most inclined to be concerned with how the process impacts them. And, ultimately, they wish to find out why they as the sp874s feel emotionally reactive in some situations more than others (4) what they do in different circumstances (7) and what it costs them in time and energy (sp and 8). They want to protect their space and environment...their way of being in the world.

They can be social at times, as all 8s are seeking energy but they can be more 5ish. They may seem like they want closeness but what they want is the type of connection that comes from something beautiful (4) rather than interpersonal relating like the sx874. They can be close to a few but they do not seek closeness as a goal. The 4 in the tritype keep them focused on what is original and precious. The one Tritype that is even more removed from the need for personal relating is the sp/so 358.

The sp874 does have those that are in their circle of care that they provide for. And they seek ways to find the resources they want with the data in an expansive manner (8 and 7) by fulfilling their need for what is meaningful and most revealing (4).