The Nine Types

The Enneagram is a system of nine personality types that empowers a better understanding of ourselves. It is a framework that provides a wealth of information about human behaviour and condenses a great deal of wisdom into a compact system. The framework is relatively easy to understand and is a powerful and dynamic tool for understanding ourselves and others.

The word 'Enneagram' derives from the Greek ennea meaning 'nine' and gram, meaning 'figure'. The Enneagram Personality System is represented by a nine-pointed diagram.

Type One

Type Ones focus upon eliminating imperfection as a way of being affirmed and respected while being responsible and hard working. Type Ones have high personal standards which they always try to meet and expect the same from others, often coming across as critical or demanding.
Type Ones are conscientious and value thrift, honesty and self discipline. Their drive for perfection is fed by a desire to avoid guilt and self-criticism. They have an exquisite eye for detail. 
Some experience Type Ones as judgmental and self-righteous but at their best they are upright, fair and morally heroic.

Type Two

Twos focus upon approval of others by meeting their needs and becoming indispensable. Twos seek to develop a deep emotional connection with those to whom they look to satisfy their needs for love and affection. They are especially attracted to inspiring individuals or those in need.
Type Twos value relationships highly and experience a genuine pride at being central to a relationship or the success of others. They feel justified in taking advantage of the relationships in which they are involved. Some experience Type Twos as needy, demanding and manipulative but at their best they are inspirational and loving supporters of others.

Type Three

Type Threes focus upon achievement, their image, what they produce and upon success. Success is experienced as a single minded pursuit, through hard work, efficiency and competition. Looking good and the image of appearing successful is as important as success itself.
Type Threes own positive self esteem is based upon personal productivity and winning. They attempt to avoid failure and negative feelings at all cost. Feelings are suspended until the work or performance is completed. Others may experience Threes as insensitive or superficial but at their best they can be charismatic accomplished team players.

Type Four

Type Fours focus upon being creative, artistic and unique as a way of feeling special and elite. Valued highly in their lives is an expression of authentic feelings. Type Fours long for the unavailable or hard to get and experience a wide range of moods from great joy to depression.
They are attracted to tragedy and romance and regularly experience the mood of melancholy. Emotional connection and relationships, which they idealise and romanticise, are important, providing them with a rich source of feelings. Others may experience Type Fours as explosive, intense and moody but at their best they are deeply feeling of the pain and suffering of other people.

Type Five

Type Fives focus upon observing and thinking as a way of ensuring an emotional separation from others and from relationship. Type Fives are highly protective of their privacy, self sufficiency and independence. Knowledge and understanding are especially prized with a special attraction to the secret or unexplained. Type Fives experience a detachment from feelings and find personal or work relationships to be draining.
Others may experience Fives as demeaning, skeptical or cynical, but at their best they can be cool, rational decision makers detached from emotion or fear.

Type Six

Type Sixes focus upon watching for the hidden motives of others as a way of ensuring their safety and security. Type Sixes seek relationships with others or with organisations which promise protection and to which they respond with loyalty and duty. They tend to be very wary of authorities and either submit to those they trust or challenge head on those they don't.
Sixes are suspicious of those in whom they must trust especially those closest to them. Others may experience them as paranoid, defensive and procrastinating but at their best they are warm and faithful with an astute understanding of the hidden agendas that influence relating.

Type Seven

Type Sevens focus upon future plans and pleasant possibilities as a way of escaping the limitations of boredom and pain. They are charming and witty types who seek out enjoyable new and stimulating life experiences. They are fascinated with themselves, with others and with the natural world that surrounds them. They plan optimistically for the future along with a series of alternatives in case the initial plan becomes difficult or uninteresting.
Type Sevens can be unfaithful, childish and narcissistic but at their best they are positive, charming, lateral thinkers who enjoy life to the full.

Type Eight

Type Eights focus upon power and control over their immediate environment, relationships and personal possessions. They are personally assertive and look to justify their excessive pursuit of the experiences of life and love.
Type Eights use confrontation with others to establish the truth and focus upon others' weaknesses and their own strengths. They experience life as a fight against injustice. Once crossed, Type Eights can be vengeful and vindictive.
Others may experience them as excessive, confrontational and lustful, but at their best they are courageous and ground-breaking leaders who are protective and supportive of others.

Type Nine

Type Nines focus upon avoiding conflict by accepting the wishes of others and forgetting their own point of view. They replace their own needs and agenda with inessential substitutes that ensure a comfortable and predictable lifestyle.
Type Nines are able to see all points of view and postpone change to avoid anger and separation. Nines value compromise and are characterised by the containment of physical energy.
Others may experience them as stubborn, reluctant to change, and passive-aggressive, but at their best they are thoughtful, caring and inclusive of the views of others.

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The Australian Enneagram Community (AEC) is a community based organisation that offers Panel Series, workshops, colloquiums and other opportunities throughout the year to learn about the enneagram.

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