Enneagram Subtypes: The 27 Subtypes

The Enneagram is a personality typology system that has been used for centuries to help people understand themselves and others on a deeper level. However, what many do not know is that this system goes beyond the nine basic personality types, introducing an additional layer of complexity and precision: the Enneagram subtypes, also known as instincts. These subtypes reveal the richness and diversity of the human spectrum, immersing us in 27 unique personality patterns.

The History and Development of Enneagram Subtypes

The concept of Enneagram Subtypes has evolved significantly since its origins. The Enneagram system itself is believed to have roots in ancient wisdom traditions, but it was Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo who brought it into contemporary psychology. Ichazo introduced the idea of the nine personality types and their interconnections, while Naranjo expanded on this by identifying the three instinctual variants within each type: Self-Preservation, Sexual (or One-to-One), and Social. This development marked the beginning of the Enneagram Subtypes as we understand them today .

The 27 Enneagram Subtypes:

Methods of Identifying Enneagram Subtypes

Self-Assessment Instructions

Identifying your Enneagram Subtype often begins with self-assessment. Reflecting on your dominant instinctual drives—whether they are oriented towards self-preservation, one-to-one connections, or social interactions—can provide valuable insights. Pay attention to your core motivations, fears, and habitual behaviors in different contexts.

Specific Tests and Questionnaires

Several Enneagram tests and questionnaires are designed to help identify your subtype. These assessments delve into your instinctual preferences and how they manifest within your primary Enneagram type. Resources like the RHETI (Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator) and the IEQ9 (Integrative Enneagram Questionnaire) offer detailed analyses that include subtype identification .

What are the Enneagram Subtypes or Instincts?

Enneagram subtypes, a blend between your main Enneagram type and your dominant survival instinct, play a crucial role in how we interact with the world. Divided into three major categories: self-preservation, social, and sexual-transmitter, these instincts underline our innate biological behavior, influencing our priorities, concerns, and the way we relate to others.

  • Self-Preservation: Focuses on self-preservation, emphasizing safety, well-being, and physical comfort.
  • Social: Prioritizes relationships and connections within groups and communities.
  • Sexual-Transmitter: Seeks intensity in one-on-one connections, desiring to influence and be influenced by others.

The Impact of Subtypes on Identity

Subtypes add a layer of complexity to our personality, often explaining the internal contradictions we may experience. For example, a type 5 with a sexual-transmitter instinct may yearn for both independence and deep intimate connections, reflecting how our instincts can both complement and counteract our natural Enneagram type inclinations.

Exploring the 27 Personality Subtypes

Considering the three instincts within each of the nine Enneagram types, we encounter 27 distinct personality variations, each with its nuances and complexities. These subtypes provide us with a powerful tool for self-exploration and personal growth, offering insights into our deepest motivations and how we can seek balance in our lives.

The Three Detailed Subtypes

  • Self-Preservation Subtype: Here, the focus is on self-preservation. These individuals value stability and comfort, paying special attention to their physical and safety needs.
  • Social Subtype: This subtype emphasizes the importance of relationships and belonging to groups. People with this instinct actively seek to be part of communities, valuing social recognition and acceptance.
  • Sexual-Transmitter Subtype: Characterized by the pursuit of deep and meaningful connections, this subtype strives to create and maintain profound relationships, often expressing a desire to influence and be emotionally impacted by others.

Enneagram Subtypes Test

The Enneagram Subtypes Test is a specialized tool designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of your instinctual variant within your primary Enneagram type. This test explores the nuances of how your instincts influence your behaviors, relationships, and personal growth. By taking the Enneagram Subtypes Test, you gain a deeper insight into your dominant subtype and strategies to balance and develop your other instinctual drives. The results can be used for personal reflection, growth, and enhancing your interpersonal relationships. You can do the test on our homepage here.

Delving Into Enneagram Subtypes

Enneagram subtypes offer a more nuanced perspective on our personality, revealing how basic survival instincts influence our interactions, desires, and fears. By delving into each of these subtypes, we can gain a more complete understanding of ourselves and how we navigate the world.

Self-Preservation Subtype: The Quest for Safety and Stability

The self-preservation subtype focuses on self-preservation. People with this dominant subtype invest heavily in creating a safe and comfortable environment. They are individuals who value stability and tend to be very aware of their physical and safety needs.

  • Main Focus: Attention is directed towards fundamental aspects for survival and well-being, such as health, food, shelter, and financial security.
  • Typical Behavior: These individuals tend to be meticulous in planning and managing resources, from household economics to preparing for future needs.
  • Metaphorically: They could be compared to squirrels, always preparing and storing for the future.
  • Relationship with the World: They seek to build and maintain a sense of order and control over their environment to feel secure and protected.

This subtype tends to focus on creating a structured and predictable life, prioritizing comfort and self-preservation over exploring the unknown or engaging in extensive social situations.

Social Subtype: The Need for Connection and Acceptance

The social subtype highlights the importance of interactions and connections with groups and communities. People with this dominant instinct seek to be an integral part of social networks, valuing a sense of belonging and acceptance within these groups.

  • Main Focus: Energy is focused on cultivating relationships and maintaining an active role within communities, whether family, work, or leisure.
  • Typical Behavior: Show great skill in navigating and understanding group dynamics, constantly seeking to be useful and contribute to collective well-being.
  • Metaphorically: We could see them as monkeys, highly social animals that depend on community structure for their survival and success.
  • Relationship with the World: They strive to find their place and be recognized within their circles, which can lead them to adapt to fit group expectations.

This subtype underscores the importance of social interactions, focusing on creating and maintaining bonds that provide them with a sense of identity and belonging.

Sexual-Transmitter Subtype: The Search for Intensity and Deep Connection

People with the sexual-transmitter subtype are characterized by their desire to establish deep and intense connections. This instinct is not limited to romantic or sexual relationships but encompasses all forms of intimate and meaningful interaction.

  • Main Focus: The priority is the quality of connections, seeking relationships that are emotionally rich and psychologically stimulating.
  • Typical Behavior: They are drawn to situations that promise an intense experience, whether through art, adventure, or personal relationships.
  • Metaphorically: They can be compared to peacocks, which display their feathers in a show of beauty and complexity to attract and connect with others.
  • Relationship with the World: There is a desire to be seen and understood in their entirety, which drives them to seek and foster relationships where they can fully express themselves and be authentic.

This subtype is motivated by the need to find and nurture connections that transcend the superficial, always seeking to deepen the human experience.

Is It Possible to Have More Than One Subtype?

Although we tend to have a dominant subtype, we all possess the three instincts at different levels of development. This stacking of subtypes helps us understand how our priorities can change and how we can work towards a healthier balance among them.

Impact of Subtypes in Various Contexts

Workplace Behavior

In the workplace, Enneagram Subtypes can significantly influence behavior. For instance, a Self-Preservation subtype may prioritize stability and practical concerns, a Sexual subtype might focus on intense one-to-one connections, and a Social subtype could emphasize teamwork and networking. Understanding these tendencies can enhance team dynamics and personal productivity .

Relationships and Social Life

In relationships, subtypes shape interaction styles and emotional responses. For example, a Sexual subtype often seeks deep, intimate connections, while a Social subtype might engage more broadly within community settings. Awareness of these patterns helps in managing interpersonal conflicts and fostering stronger bonds .

Life Strategies

Balancing the influences of your subtypes across different life areas can lead to more harmonious living. Strategies such as setting boundaries for Self-Preservation subtypes, deepening connections for Sexual subtypes, and enhancing community engagement for Social subtypes are effective approaches .

Strategies for Personal Growth

Developing Less Dominant Subtypes

Personal growth involves nurturing less dominant subtypes. Techniques like mindfulness, journaling, and seeking diverse experiences can help activate these latent aspects of your personality, leading to a more balanced self .

Balancing the Three Instincts

Exercises aimed at balancing the three instincts include focusing on physical well-being for Self-Preservation, fostering deeper relationships for Sexual, and participating in social activities for Social. This holistic approach promotes comprehensive personal development.

Comparison with Other Personality Systems

Myers-Briggs and Big Five

Compared to Myers-Briggs and Big Five, the Enneagram Subtypes offer a more nuanced understanding of personality by integrating instinctual drives. While Myers-Briggs focuses on cognitive functions and Big Five on trait dimensions, Enneagram Subtypes delve into the motivational aspects underlying behavior, providing a unique perspective .

Testimonials and Practical Examples

Personal Stories

Individuals who have applied Enneagram Subtype knowledge report profound improvements in their lives. For instance, one user shared how understanding her Social subtype helped her navigate social anxiety and build meaningful relationships. Another found that recognizing his Self-Preservation subtype allowed him to create healthier work-life boundaries .

Case Studies

Case studies illustrate practical applications of subtype knowledge. For example, a manager used Enneagram insights to tailor his leadership approach, enhancing team cohesion and performance by addressing the unique needs of each subtype within his team .

Additional Resources

Books, Articles, and Workshops

For those interested in delving deeper, books like “The Complete Enneagram” by Beatrice Chestnut and workshops offered by the Enneagram Institute provide comprehensive insights. Online communities and forums also offer support and shared learning experiences .

Application in Therapy and Coaching

Mental Health and Coaching Practices

Mental health professionals and coaches can utilize Enneagram Subtypes to tailor interventions. This personalized approach enhances therapeutic outcomes by addressing the specific instinctual drives and challenges of each client .

Interrelations Between Subtypes

Interaction Dynamics

Different subtypes interact in distinct ways. For example, a relationship between a Self-Preservation subtype and a Sexual subtype might face challenges due to differing priorities but can also complement each other by bringing balance. Understanding these dynamics can improve communication and relational harmony .

Common Challenges and Solutions

Identifying and Overcoming Challenges

Each subtype has its own set of challenges. Self-Preservation subtypes might struggle with change, Sexual subtypes with dependency, and Social subtypes with overextending themselves. Practical solutions include setting realistic goals, building self-reliance, and establishing boundaries .

By understanding and working with Enneagram Subtypes, individuals can unlock deeper self-awareness and personal growth, fostering more fulfilling lives in all areas.

Conclusion: The Richness of Enneagram Subtypes

Enneagram subtypes offer us a window into the complexities of our personality, giving us the opportunity to understand our internal contradictions and how they influence our daily lives. By exploring and understanding our subtypes, we can move towards more meaningful personal growth, recognizing and embracing the richness of our individuality.

Summary Table of Enneagram Subtypes

Subtype Main Focus Practical Example
Self-Preservation Self-preservation and physical comfort Concern for health, home, safety.
Social Relationships and belonging to groups Interest in group dynamics, social recognition.
Sexual-Transmitter Intimate and deep connections Seeking meaningful relationships, mutual influence.

In the end, the journey towards self-knowledge is an endless path, but understanding Enneagram subtypes is a crucial step for those seeking to deepen their understanding of themselves and others.

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