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THE ENNEAGRAM TYPES, THE LEVELS OF DEVELOPMENT THAT DEFINE THEM, & THE DOMINANT INSTINCTS THAT FLAVOR THEM….

Descriptions from

the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Institute

While We All Have All Nine Styles Within Us,

We Have One Way of Being in the World that Tends to Be Dominant….

Which Style do You Relate to the Most?

Type One: The Reformer
The principled, idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

Type Two: The Helper
The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.

Type Three: The Achiever
The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be–role models who inspire others.

Type Four: The Individualist
The introspective, romantic type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Type Five: The Investigator
The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Type Six: The Loyalist
The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious–running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.

Type Seven: The Enthusiast
The busy, productive type. Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Type Eight: The Challenger
The powerful, aggressive type. Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Type Nine: The Peacemaker
The easy-going, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

Copyright 2001 The Enneagram Institute All Rights Reserved.  Used with permission from the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Institute.

The Levels of Development Define the Ways

Our Personality Styles Show Up in the World at Different Times!

“You have probably noticed that people change constantly—sometimes they are clearer, more free, grounded, and emotionally available, while at other times they are more anxious, resistant, reactive, emotionally volatile and less free. Understanding the Levels makes it clear that when they change states within their personality, they are shifting within the spectrum of motivations, traits, and defenses that make up their personality type.”

“… two people of the same personality type… will differ significantly if one is healthy and the other unhealthy.” (Reproduced with permission from the Enneagram Institute, All Rights Reserved, the Enneagram Institute Website, 2005, www.enneagraminstitute.com)

The Riso/Hudson Levels of Development:

The Structure of the Continuum of Levels
Level 1
HEALTHY
The Level of Liberation
Level 2 The Level of Psychological Capacity
Level 3 The Level of Social Value
Level 4
AVERAGE
The Level of Imbalance/ Social Role
Level 5 The Level of Interpersonal Control
Level 6  The Level of Overcompensation
Level 7
UNHEALTHY
The Level of Violation
Level 8 The Level of Obsession and Compulsion
Level 9 The Level of Pathological Destructiveness

Used with permission from the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Institute, All Rights Reserved 2005

THE INSTINCTUAL VARIANTS OF THE ENNEAGRAM TYPES:

It is sometimes very helpful for psychotherapists and coaches to get a sense of what we in the Enneagram of Personality fields call the client’s “Instinctual Stack.”   The personality tends to wrap itself around and interfere most with one of these three instinctual value systems in us.   These instinctual energies seem to stack up in our body in a certain order, they seem to be deeply embedded survival patterns from childhood, and have a huge impact on how our value system and personality style develops.     Below is a clip from an interview with Riso and Hudson on the topic.    (Click here for link to full article on the Enneagram Institute Website)

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Self Preservation: The focus here is easy to understand from the name. People of this Instinctual type are preoccupied with basic survival needs as they translate in our contemporary society. Thus, Self-Preservation types are concerned with money, food, housing, health, physical safety and comfort. Being safe and physically comfortable are priorities. These people are quick to notice any problems in a room such as poor lighting or uncomfortable chairs, or to be dissatisfied with the room temperature. They often have issues connected with food and drink, either overdoing it or having strict dietary requirements. In the healthy to average Levels, of the three Instinctual types, they are the most practical in the sense of taking care of basic life necessities—paying bills, maintaining the home and workplace, acquiring useful skills, and so forth. When these types deteriorate, they tend to distort the instinct to the degree that they are poor at taking care of themselves. Unhealthy Self-Preservation types eat and sleep poorly or become obsessed with health issues. They often have difficulty handling money and may act out in deliberately self-destructive ways. In a nutshell, Self-Preservation types are focused on enhancing their personal security and physical comfort.

Social: This subtype is focused on their interactions with other people and with the sense of value or esteem they derive from their participation in collective activities. These include work, family, hobbies, clubs—basically any arena in which Social types can interact with others for some shared purpose. The instinct underlying this behavior was an important one in human survival. Human beings on their own are rather weak, vulnerable creatures, and easily fall prey to a frequently hostile environment. By learning to live and work together, our ancestors created the safety necessary for human beings not only to survive, but to thrive. Within that social instinct, however, are many other implicit imperatives, and primary among them is the understanding of “place” within a hierarchical social structure. This is as true for dogs and gorillas as it is for human beings. Thus, the desire for attention, recognition, honor, success, fame, leadership, appreciation, and the safety of belonging can all be seen as manifestations of the Social instinct. Social types like to know what is going on around them, and want to make some kind of contribution to the human enterprise. There is often an interest in the events and activities of one’s own culture, or sometimes, of another culture. In general, Social types enjoy interacting with people, but they avoid intimacy. In their imbalanced, unhealthy forms, these types can become profoundly antisocial, detesting people and resenting their society, or having poorly developed social skills. In a nutshell, Social types are focused on interacting with people in ways that will build their personal value, their sense of accomplishment, and their security of “place” with others.

Sexual: Many people originally identify themselves as this type, perhaps confusing the idea of a Sexual Instinctual type with being a “sexy” person. Of course, “sexiness” is in the eye of the beholder, and there are plenty of “sexy” people in all three of the Instinctual types. Furthermore, lest one think this type more “glamorous” than the other two, one would do well to remember that the instinct can become distorted in the type, leading to the area of life causing the greatest problems. In healthy to average Sexual types, there is a desire for intensity of experience—not just sexual experience, but having a similar “charge.” This intensity could be found in a great conversation or an exciting movie. Much has been said about this type preferring “one-on-one” relationships versus the Social type’s preference for “larger groups,” but a quick poll of one’s acquaintances will reveal that almost all people prefer communicating one on one than in a group. The question is more one of the intensity of contact, and the strength of the desire for intimacy. Sexual types are the “intimacy junkies” of the Instinctual types, often neglecting pressing obligations or even basic “maintenance” if they are swept up in someone or something that has captivated them. This gives a wide-ranging, exploratory approach to life, but also a lack of focus on one’s own priorities. In their neurotic forms, this type can manifest with a wandering lack of focus, sexual promiscuity and acting out, or just the opposite, in a fearful, dysfunctional attitude toward sex and intimacy. Sexual types, however, will be intense, even about their avoidances. In a nutshell, Sexual types are focused on having intense, intimate interactions and experiences with others and with the environment to give them a powerful sense of “aliveness.”

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Ronna Phifer-Ritchie, PhD is a Professional Relationship Coach, and Enneagram of Personality Expert. Her Specialty is Accelerating Couples' Developmental Journeys by Integrating Personality Development Work Into the Coaching Process. Ronna is the Founder of THE RELATIONSHIP DOCTOR Coaching Service, & Co-founder of the THE RItCH JOY GROUP (HELPMORECOUPLES.COM), offering Professional Trainings for Therapists, Coaches, & Pastors, based on a Theoretically Integrated Model for using the Enneagram Personality System to Accelerate Couple Development and Break Through Stubborn Impasses in Couples Work. She is the Author of the RELATIONSHIP BUILDERS BLOG, a Technical Writer for Several Enneagram of Personality Publications and Training Programs, and a Frequently Requested Retreat Speaker and Workshop Facilitator in the Area of Personality Style Development and Relational Health.