The enneagram is a model of personality structure which allows us to know ourselves better, to understand our relationship to the world and to free ourselves from our automatisms. Fabien Chabreuil, co-founder of the French Enneagram Institute, enlightens us on this subject.
The enneagram, a model for knowing your personality type
The Enneagram is a recognized model for describing the human personality which is based on the principle that the three fundamental components of the inner life of the human being are action, emotion and thought. A true tool for self-knowledge, the enneagram highlights our differences through our way of using these three functions. Among these three functions, there is one that we all use with more pleasure and comfort and the other two that we use with less ease and less desire. “This does not mean that we use it poorly, but that it is not a comfort zone for us. For example, we may prefer the mind first, the emotions second and the action third. Called “the centers” in the enneagram, these functions have relative independence and are at the same time inseparable since they work in conjunction with each other. We all have a more or less large zone of comfort and discomfort., comments Fabien Chabreuil. Originally, this model was invented in the West by Gurdjieff at the beginning of the twentieth century but he did not use this tool to analyze personalities.
The three centers of the enneagram are: the instinctive center, the emotional center and the mental center. Everyone has a favorite center.
Enneatype: list of the 9 typical profiles of the enneagram
The enneagram distinguishes 9 major personality profiles. On a circle, there are 9 points (the centers) located equidistant from each other, which implies that no profile is higher or lower than another. The profiles are described on two levels: ego and essence. “The ego designates all of the automatisms of our personality and the essence corresponds to a functioning in which we are in the presence and in a position of free will”explains the specialist.
- The perfectionist: he focuses his attention on errors and improvements to be made;
- The altruist: he is focused on the needs of others;
- The fighter : he pursues his objectives;
- The creative: he focuses his attention on what is missing;
- The observer: he focuses his attention on the sources of information;
- The Guardian : he pays attention to potential dangers;
- The general practitioner: he focuses his attention on projects and desires;
- The protector : he focuses his attention on the balance of power (dominant/dominated);
- The mediator: he directs his attention towards peace and harmony.
What test to know your enneatype? What is the best profile ?
Online questionnaires inspired by the enneagram allow us to determine our enneatype based on our preferred centers. For example, if our preferred center is the emotional, we will be type 2, 3 or 4. If our favorite center is the mental, we will be type 5, 6 or 7. If our preferred center is the instinctive, we will be type 1, 8 or 9.
The idea is to answer as sincerely as possible to find out your personality type. However, the official version is paid because this personality structure model is developed by professionals who offer training. Either way, it’s important to keep in mind that no one enneatype or personality type is better than another.
Enneagram: what is the point of taking a test to find out your enneatype profile?
“The enneagram is a system of personality study which allows us to describe the human being without caricature, offering all possible nuances. It helps to build and maintain satisfactory relationships with others by helping us to discover who who we really are, what we are afraid of, what our relationship is to the world and why we act in this or that way., argues Fabien Chabreuil. In other words, the Enneagram offers a better understanding of oneself and others. For example, an individual who has a sense of action third may be someone who does well but who does not take pleasure or someone who tends to procrastinate.
“Since Greek Antiquity, everything begins with “know yourself.” However, without self-knowledge, no evolution is possible. The Enneagram is not a method of personal development that allows you to optimize the shadows of the personality but to free oneself from its automatisms”, he continues. In other words, the objective is not to be well but to be psychologically free, to better understand our behaviors, our way of life and to communicate better with others. This model is a real guide that allows us to recognize our automatisms and know how to react as we are in everyday situations, particularly work, and to boost our motivation.
Who uses the Enneagram? What are its fields of application?
The Enneagram is useful in personal and professional development. In personal life, this tool makes it possible to improve life as a couple, to better manage family relationships and to participate in the education of children. In professional life, the enneagram represents a very effective management tool which helps prevent conflicts and improve team cohesion.
Training: where to train in the Enneagram?
Several training organizations provide enneagram certification programs. These courses allow you to become an enneagram practitioner and to be able to determine people’s enneatypes. This training often complements a profession as a psychologist or psychotherapist.