What is the Enneagram?
Don Riso has defined the Enneagram as “a geometric figure that delineates the nine basic personality types of human nature and their complex interrelationships.” While the Enneagram suggests that there are nine basic personality types of human nature, there are, of course, many subtypes and variations within the nine fundamental categories. Nevertheless, the assertion of Enneagram theory is that these nine adequately map out the territory of “personality types.”
The Enneagram is also a symbol that maps out the ways in which the nine types are related to each other. This is the aspect of the Enneagram most people are familiar with because it offers them a framework for understanding themselves and everyone they deal with. As a psychospiritual typology, the Enneagram helps people to recognize and understand an overall pattern in human behavior. External behaviors, underlying attitudes, one’s characteristic sense of self, conscious and unconscious motivations, emotional reactions, defense mechanisms, object relations, what we pay attention to, our spiritual potentials–and much more—are all parts of a complex pattern that forms each personality type. Therapists, business counselors, human resource directors, and spiritual seekers from around the world are all finding the Enneagram to be immensely useful for self-understanding and personal growth. Always remember however, that the Enneagram does not put you in a box–it shows you the box you are in and the way out!