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).


Working with the 468 Tritype

© 2016 Katherine Chernick Fauvre

Why are 468s so intense?
All 468s, regardless of the order of the types in their Enneagram Tritype, have a strong innate sense of urgency.  The 468 is the Enneagram Tritype that is comprised of the emotionally expressive type from each of the 3 centers: head (567), heart (234), and gut (891). As such, they are visceral and reactive.  They respond immediately to any and all perceived threats, whether real or imagined.

Truth Teller
I call this Tritype the 'Truth Teller' because those with this Tritype feel an intense need to call off their view of reality and say that ‘the emperor has no clothes’ even if they will be chastised for saying it. 


 Biological Imperative
Think of the 468 viewpoints and responses as important biological imperatives.  Everyone and every family and/or group needs those that will not delay and will act instantly in an emergency.

The Enneagram 468 defense strategy is uniquely designed to handle emergencies. Many professions, such as high-risk emergency medical services, require employees that are sensitive to the needs of others but are still able to make life or death decisions straightaway and without hesitation.

 The 468s have a finely tuned sense of emotional attunement and sense what others feel (4). They feel potential threats at a sharper pitch (6) than the other Tritypes. They also have a visceral experience of their emotions with an intense need to take immediate action (8) and voice their concerns (468). They are highly intuitive and are alert to imminent threats long before others. They are fiercely loyal and protective of those they love and whomever or whatever they care about. They are willing to speak their truth regardless of the consequences. They track their instinctual intuitions and warn others in an attempt to manage their own emotional distress.

Too Intense?
Due to their emotional sensitivity and sense of urgency, 468s tend to react immediately to whatever upsets them before they can stop and think about the best way to say or do something. There are times when their immediate reaction is essential and necessary but there are far more times when their style is perceived as far too much and expressed far too often.  The reason for this is that the 468s can often react prematurely before they have all the facts. Due to their impulsivity, they also find it difficult to stop and consider how they should deliver their message in a manner that others will respect and value. 

The problem is that in a heightened emotional state 468s say things with a great deal of intensity. They can lose sight of what is called for and also what is in their own best interest. When they are emotionally upset and feel unheard they often become angry and can say things they really don’t mean.  At these times, others see them as over the top and inappropriate.  Ironically, the very same attributes that make them great in an emergency can make them appear emotionally out of control when there is not an emergency others can see. Having said that, the level of health of the 468 has a lot to do with how they voice their concerns, both what they say and how they say it.

When the 468s are stressed their reactivity increases. This intensity of emotion begins to diminish the value of what they are trying to address.  To others, they are seen as complaining and crying wolf… Over time, if the 468 remains in distress, they will often lose the social skills needed for others to listen to what they have to say.  If this continues, the 468s often become even more anti-social and can be so intense and belligerent that others will ignore them. Sadly, their concerns will go unheard and be invalidated.

Working with the 468
468s can have trouble identifying what is a true emergency and what just feels like an emergency. If their internal alarm bells go off, the 468s are in fight or flight. Once their emotions are triggered their adrenaline is running in hyper-drive and needs to be discharged. So it is extremely difficult for the 468 Tritype to slow down and delay reacting.

One of the best ways I have learned to help the 468s achieve a sense of equanimity or emotional balance is to know when to tell the truth and when not to.

The 468s see things in black and white.  It helps if they can learn to see the value of gray.  They are highly emotional and intuitive.  As a result, they see problems far in advance of others. If their concerns are not addressed they continue to assert the merit of their concerns. In their attempt to convince others that their views are accurate they can alienate others.  Teaching the 468 how to communicate their concerns without alienating others is paramount.

Unbeknown to the 468 is their need for others to act on their concerns in order for them to feel safe.  They secretly feel disempowered and emotionally dependent on others. What they have not recognized is that they can validate their concerns even if others do not.  In a sense, they can become their own trusted authority. They can acknowledge the part of themselves that is feeling panic and learn how to self-soothe regardless of what others are doing. When they can identify and acknowledge their fears and validate their concerns they will feel less of a need for others to act in accordance with their concerns.  When they act as their own agent, their feelings of intensity and immediate action will begin to slow down.

468s tend to see their fears in exaggerated ways; large, loud and looming, and in vivid color. This intensity of the senses helps the 468s react in an emergency but when there is no real imminent danger this intensity cause the 468s to feel panic and distress.  468s can learn to recognize the beginning signs of being on guard. They can learn to feel their muscles tighten, their eyes widen, their jaw lock and their hands roll into a fist. Physical alertness can warn them that they are ready and poised to act.  They can then learn how to interfere with this primal response to stimuli and use strategies to minimize the intensity of the reaction by shrinking the images, fading the intensity of the colors of the images, turn down the volume that says act now and slow their pulse. Conscious attention to these innate impulses can reduce the level of their reactivity.

Transformation through Insight
Intellectual understanding of their process can help the 468s before their impulses are on red alert.  They can learn to appreciate why they feel the way they do as well as why it is not always in their best interest to act on their impulses.  Like all Tritypes with 8, they can remember that ‘their’ truth is not always ‘the’ truth. And, that knowing their truth, even if they are right, does not mean that they have to immediately tell people their truth all of the time. They can learn to recognize that they will feel far more empowered and serve the greater good when they discover when it is better not to speak their truth.

The 468 needs to remember that not everyone sees or responds to the threats they perceive in the same manner… that the other Tritypes’ responses are also important biological imperatives. And, that the other Tritypes do not feel the same sense of urgency over the same issues because they are tracking different imperatives. 

468s benefit from remembering that it takes all types. And, that another’s lack of emotional response may be the diversity required to have a balanced and more satisfactory outcome to a problem. It is also helpful for the 468 to remember that others have their own life journey and may need to make their own mistakes to learn what is important. Most people know when they have made a mistake and/or overreacted and do not need any one to remind them.

When the 468s learn that their view of reality while valid, does not mean it will be the reality of others, they will begin to feel more at ease with others’ lack of reactivity. When they can accept these different views of reality they will be able to accept the lessons that are frustrating to 'Truth Tellers' such as patience. Even though they see things with such intense clarity it is often not their duty to call it off. Sometimes the 259 Tritype that says wait and see might reveal additional information that may be more effective in the long run.

The most important question ‘truth tellers’ can ask themselves is - "What is my emotional need?” “What is my underlying motive for 'warning' others and why do I need them to agree with my point of view in order to relax?"

468s sincerely believe that they are voicing what others should know and do. Upon reflection, the 468s can identify the fears they were experiencing when they dramatically expressed their views, and/or had an emotional outburst.  They can then examine the situation with fresh eyes rather than trying to convince others of their viewpoint. Reemphasizing their initial concerns is a clue that the 468s are still in fear are not letting go.  With insight, they can learn to accept the outcome following an emotional situation by tending to their own unmet needs that they disowned. With acceptance and ease in relating, like the natural state of the 279, they can begin to feel comfortable regardless of whether or not others agree with them.

 Instead of continuing to press others to validate their point of view, 468s can learn to self-soothe by trusting what is.  When the 468 comes from a place of essence they no longer need others to see what they see and will not feel distress when others do not see the circumstances in the same way.  They will be able to experience other people's lack of action as simply a truth of a different bias.  They will be able to let go even though it may seem 'counter-intuitive' to a truth teller.

Blind Spots
Subjective truth and over reactivity are the blind spots of the 468s.  And the growing edge for ‘truth tellers’ is learning to let go by having faith in others and a power greater than their own (6), realizing that their truth may not be 'the' truth (8) and letting go emotionally rather than intensifying feelings (4).  It is only by letting go of their position that 468s will feel a sense of inner peace.

 This truth is very challenging for the high-strung and emotionally intuitive 468s because they value transparency. The key is for them to see it that they do not see themselves the way others see them and that they are just as transparent as others. They can learn a great deal about themselves by and their impact on others by listening to what others have to say about them.

Dominant type leading the 468
648, 684
These Tritypes with type 6 leading are paradoxical. Ironically the 6s with this Tritype are the most hyper-reactive 6 but they are still tentative and apprehensive.  Their mental projections can make their reactions very confusing to others. They may at times show their anxiety and look timid and in need of support and at other times they can be so intensely assertive and provocative that their needs go unseen. The high side of these Tritypes is that they are extremely devoted and dutiful to those to whom they are attached. They are very loyal and protective.

These Tritypes with type 4 leading are the most emotionally intense of all the Tritypes. The 4 ‘passion for protest’ with the 6 doubt and the fear of being mislead combined with the 8 fear of being powerless makes these 4s appear very 8ish. They are very sensitive and emotional but are also extremely expressive and argumentative. These 4s have powerful emotions and a great need to express themselves which is why they can appear even more 8ish that the 8s. They are fiercely loyal and lovingly protective of those to whom they are attached.

These Tritypes with type 8 leading are very intense and definitive. Ironically, these Tritypes with 8 leading are softer than the 4 and 6 with this Tritype. The 4’s emotional sensitivity and the 6’s need to engage cause these 8s to demonstrate fierce devotion as well as fierce opposition. These 8s are very outspoken and easily call off their truth. They are quick to anger but are just as quick to get over it. Due to the 4 in these Tritypes, these 8s are more tenderhearted and emotionally sensitive and available than say the 863 that is more driven to succeed by not expressing the emotions that can slow the 8 down.

Working with a 468
The 468s are meant to sound the alarm. They are the most emotionally intense Tritype. They are not trying to be too much. They are trying to protect those in their world. We need these fierce protectors. A good rule of thumb is to remember that even though they have 8 in the Tritype, they have trouble self-soothing. They need to learn how to internalize their own trusted authority to let go of their need to convince others of their viewpoint. When triggered, they are in red alert and are asking to be heard and validated so that they can calm down. Remember that no matter how much the 468s are over-reacting, there is always some truth in what they are saying.  Also remember that what the 468s are saying is that they need to know that you have heard them and have validated their concerns.  Most of all, they are saying that they need your help to restore a sense of inner calm. If you can help them to remember to have faith in whatever happens they will find their own sense of equanimity.


The 639 Tritype

I promised a long time ago to say more about the 6w7 639 Tritype.

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.