If you are a reader, or interested in psychology at all, you’ve probably heard of the Enneagram. The Enneagram is comprised of 9 different personality types that explain a person’s worldview. It also explains what motivates them, their personality characteristics, and how they relate to others. The 9 Enneagram types are numbered one through nine and are arranged on a chart like a nonagram–a 9-pointed figure.
The Enneagram not only discusses the good parts of a person’s personality, but also the “flaws”, fears, and sinful tendencies that each number may struggle with. It also helps a person identify ways to improve themselves by identifying what they struggle with at their core.
The Enneagram is becoming more and more well-known. It’s not unusual for clients to come into session and talk about themselves in terms of their Enneagram number. Today I want to give you a brief description of each of the Enneagram types, and some additional resources to learn more about it and your type.
Enneagram Type 1 is called the Reformer. The Reformer is often self-controlled and perfectionistic. They are very ethical and feel a need to make a difference in the world around them. They are very well-organized and orderly. Their downfall is their perfectionistic tendencies. Sometimes they can come across as critical and have unrealistic tendencies of those around them. They also can be very hard on themselves. Some famous Type 1’s include Martha Stewart, Mahatma Gandhi, and Captain Sully Sullenberger.
Enneagram Type 2 is called the Helper. The Helper is often caring, kind, and generous. They are flattering and show unconditional love to others. Helpers are nurturing and often caretakers. The negative aspects of Type 2’s personality are that they can be people-pleasers. Sometimes Helpers can become codependent with others, and lose themselves in the needs of others. This can also cause them to become possessive and manipulative. Some famous Type 2’s include Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, and Mr. Rogers.
Enneagram Type 3 is called the Achiever. Achievers are very success-driven and excel at most things they put their minds to. They have an ability to adapt and are very motivated. Achievers can be too image-driven and worry too much about what others think. They can be very competitive with others and have a need to be admired. Some famous Type 3’s include Oprah Winfrey, Muhammed Ali, and Michael Jordan.
Enneagram Type 4 is the Individualist. Individualists are very self-aware, sensitive, and romantic people. They also can be very creative. Type 4’s can struggle with withdrawing from others. They can be moody, temperamental, and struggle with self-pity. Some famous Type 4’s include Edgar Allen Poe, Johnny Depp, and Bob Dylan.
Enneagram Type 5 is the Investigator. Investigators are innovative, curious, and very intelligent. They often have very complex thoughts and ideas—they think outside of the box. Investigators can struggle with being perceived as eccentric and intense. Because of their different personality, they may have a tendency to isolate. Some famous Type 5’s are Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, and Stephen Hawking.
Enneagram Type 6 is the Loyalist. Loyalists are very responsible and committed individuals. They are often referred to as “trouble-shooters”—they problem solve and anticipate problems. Loyalists can struggle with anxiety and easily get stressed out. They may struggle with being suspicious of others’ motives and also struggle with doubting their own abilities. Some famous Type 6’s include Mark Twain, Tom Hanks, and David Letterman.
Enneagram Type 7 is the Enthusiast. Enthusiasts are enthusiastic, fun-loving, and optimistic. They are spontaneous, appreciative, and joyful. Enthusiasts struggle with being impulsive and over-extending themselves. Because they are so busy, they often get easily distracted and can be scatterbrained. Some famous Type 7’s include Benjamin Franklin, Elton John, and Brad Pitt.
Enneagram Type 8 is the Challenger. Challengers are powerful, dominant, confident, and strong. They are able to assert themselves, are controlling, and decisive. Challengers may struggle with controlling others, being ego-centric, and selfish. They often struggle with having a temper and can be confrontational. It can be a struggle at times to be in a close relationship with a Challenger because they are not vulnerable. Some famous Type 8’s include Serena Williams, Winston Churchill, and Clint Eastwood.
Enneagram Type 9 is the Peacemaker. Peacemakers are very laid back and agreeable. They trust others and are very supportive and encouraging. They want everyone to get along and for things to always be smooth. Peacemakers may struggle with being too complacent. They may minimize problems in order to avoid conflict. Some famous Type 9’s include Walt Disney, Ron Howard, and Abraham Lincoln.
The Enneagram is so much more than the 9 personality types we’ve discussed. While there is so much more to discuss, here are just a few more neat things to know about the Enneagram.
The Enneagram chart is divided into 3 “Centers”, meaning subtypes. Enneagram Types 2,3, and 4 are known as the “Feeling Center”. Types 5,6, and 7 are known as the “Thinking Center”. Types 8,9, and 1 are known as the “Instinctive Center”. Those in the Feeling Center often experience a shame core within their personality. Individuals who fall into the Thinking Center often have fear at the core of their personality. Those in the Instinctive Center often experience anger in the core of their personality.
It’s important to note that the Enneagram can teach you so much about the good and bad aspects of your personality. The Enneagram can also teach you about the people in your life. By knowing their Enneagram Types, you may be able to relate to them and know how to communicate with them better.
To find out what you and your family members/friends Enneagram Types are, click here to take the online quiz.
One of the best books I’ve read about the Enneagram types is “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. You can click here to find it.
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling in Carmel, Indiana. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.