The Enneagram is a map of the ego, our strategies, our personalities, as well as a teaching for psychological and spiritual transformation. The symbol is said to appear in many ancient spiritual traditions, and the system to go back to traditional sources.

It is also the product of the creative work of the Bolivian Oscar Ichazo and the Chilean Psychiatrist and Gestalt Therapist, Claudio Naranjo, who studied with him. Naranjo has been somewhat secretive about the issue of who did what, but it seems he is actually the one who gave shape and content to the types of the Enneagram. He also states that originally the Enneagram had many more applications than the one we are concerned with here.

Naranjo’s work with groups and his books combine a psychological view of human personality and a spiritual view of enlightenment, and in his SAT-program there is a complementary use of meditation and therapies that engage the emotional level and the body. Since Naranjo first writings, books and teachings on the Enneagram in the seventies, a quite rich and varied litterature and several teaching traditions of varying quality and depth have developed.

Nine views of the world

The Enneagram presents us with nine different ways of looking at the world, nine perspectives. It helps you see and understand the gifts, the blind spots and motivations of your own personality and that of others.

This is why it is useful on at least two different levels. It has great value when you want to understand others, work together and communicate efficiently from a position of empathy and respect. And it is a vehicle to facilitate change, helping people become conscious of their mechanisms and question their limiting beliefs and move in the direction of integration and balance. When you see your ego, your mechanisms, you have choice and you can choose to integrate that which will make you free and complete.

An excellent map
As therapists (Psychosyntesis and Gestalt respectively) we have found the Enneagram to be a very useful tool. After a time in therapy client and therapist inevitably run into that which is the personality, or ego, or character, of the client, those ideas that need to be questioned and those blind spots that need to be rediscovered and integrated for true transformation to take place.
The Enneagram basically provides and excellent map, and not only a map, not only a help to self discovery. It also gives you precise directions for each type, that really supports transformation.

With time we did, however, run into some trouble. In our work and in life, we discovered what seemed to be limitations to the usefulness of the Enneagram. Some clients did not respond so well. Some seemed not to find their type at all. Something did not click. We figured the system might not be so complete after all, and we tried and discarded several ideas about how the types might be mixed up. It took us quite some time and much analysis, drawing on all of our experience, to find the missing pieces and put them back into their right places. But when we eventually did, the Enneagram proved to be that great tool, elegant and complete, it promised to be.

What we found was that in the descriptions of many of the types there are incorrect observations. And that those observations really belong to other types. There are indeed nine types of personalities, but those confusions caused the system to be less appealing and useful. Some sorting out needed to be done.

With our new findings all therapy became much more efficient. Types one, six and seven, finding their real type, felt the mirroring useful and we could help them in their process of transformation in a more efficient manner. Other types, freed of the spillover from other types, also got clearer about their main issues and, again, the map seemed to really match the territory.

What we want to do is to give you access to the Enneagram in this updated version, so that all can benefit from it. Its descriptions are deep and now correct in its details and useful both for lighter coaching work and deep transformation of the character.

Our experience is that it is great in all work where people are to colaborate and grow; Supervision, family therapy, development of organizations, leadership training, counseling and coaching, therapy, spiritual development and, not least, education.


The enneagram symbol has nine points. At each point is a type of personality. The enneatypes are both nine different ego styles, or charcters, and nine talents, or gifts. They can be said to be nine aspects of the human ego, as well as nine aspects of the human soul.

Each one of us has one personality type. That fact does not change, when your grow and mature. What changes is your degree of freedom in relation to you particular tendency. All types can become free, but they will still be the same personality type. The personality, that can become a prison when you are very identified with it, then becomes part of your particular way of expressing love in the world, the instrument that God, which is what you are, uses to make Divine Music heard on earth.

So, if all is one and in the end we all wake up to the same truth, what can knowing the Enneagram add to our lives?

The Enneagram is obviously helpful to understand other people. Knowing how we are different helps us understand the causes of differences and misunderstandings between us.

Reading about the personality types you will surely recognize your loved ones, friends, people at work, clients and possibly also public persons. Keep in mind that it is the deeper mechanism of the type that counts, not the superficial manifestations. Also keep in mind that some personalities are not very common, such as types two, four and five. Type seven and type one are the most common, and there are many of type three.

It is important that we be wary of how difficult it is to know someone else´s type. You alone are the one who can easily know your type, if you are willing to face everything that happens within when you are still and attentive. You can only have a strong or not so strong hypothesis about someone else´s type.

The Enneagram can help us have empathy, cooperate and help others if that is part of our work. Knowing both the motivations and the difficulties of others is helpful. Respectfully guiding and supporting our children can be made easier with the Enneagram.

First and foremost the Enneagram helps you grow and become free. In the end, all of us will wake up to the knowing that we are not this temporary construct of personhood, and not even these temporary vehicles that are our bodies. We are Being itself, Consciousness, Life. We are that which is aware of the body moving and that which observes the games of personality. In this life the Enneagram can help us realize precisely that: We can observe the personality, so we are not it. When we do not identify with our mechanisms, we are already free.

From that perspective it is very helpful to be able to recognize the voice of personality, or ego, and understand that as persuasive at is may be, it is not talking truth.

The Enneagram also points you to the direction which is good for your particular personality. Following the lines between each point you will find the inner child type of each of the enneatypes. We briefly describe how moving in that direction can promote freedom and well being.

Another way of looking at inner work, personal and spiritual, is that it is about good inner cooperation. Conditioning may have caused that inner cooperation to break down, so that the emotional aspect, the so called inner child, is abandoned or in rebellion against the intellectual, adult aspect. Ideally the adult listens and allows and holds emotion, takes the needs of the child into account, and act in ways that are helpful for all parties involved. Presence, balance and loving kindness, are the manifestations of that good inner cooperation.

Awareness – Observation – Disidentification

Once you know your type you can start the work.
Observe you thinking and your actions in the light of your enneatype. You can do this by being still and observing thoughts, sensations and emotions or you can do it keeping a diary or simply paying attention in your daily life.

To bring awareness is already to gain some distance to your mechanisms. Adapt a position of friendly acceptance and curiousity.

This will help you question the beliefs that limit you. You will be able to gain that helpful distance and experience for yourself that you are not your mechanisms. You are then free to rethink your beliefs and to choose more freely how you act and how you interpret events.

The way to accomplish change is always to fully accept and be aware of what is. Then it changes by itself.

Being the observer you are identifying with a deeper aspect of you which is always there. The noise of thought only covers it like the clouds cover the sun. When you are fully present you are going beyond your personality. You no longer believe that you are it, you are merely observing it.

The inner child

The inner child is just a metaphor, but a very useful one. See how you can be a good parent to that inner child. And see how its qualities can guide you.

If you like you can read about your inner child type. (The stress point and the inner child point are those points that are connected to your type by the lines in the enneagram symbol).

An example of how the stress point and the inner child point work respectively could be this:

A type seven in deep trouble is no longer cheerful and optimistic. She feels bitter, unwelcome, exposed, pessimistic, defeated and anxious. She may even become paranoid and think that people do not like her. That is her one stress point.

An integrated, free, seven is playful and present in the here and now. She is content which what is and focused on it, not looking ahead for stimulation or feeling deprived. She knows how to be patient and work things through. That calm, focused and objective aspect is her inner five child.

If you are interested in this work, do not hesitate to contact us.

Question your thinking

Once you have found your type, look at its core beliefs. That which is so close to you, you may not even have questioned it before. Softly and kindly begin noticing how your type determines how you see things and how you react. Observe your thinking and how you treat yourself. What do you tell yourself? Is that which you are telling yourself true? Be kind and interested.

Every type has its favorite thoughts that keep the person repeating the same patterns. Ones ponder over good vs bad behavior. A two worries about whether she will have a loving relationship. Threes obsess over results and miss they are totally worthy without them. Fours miss the beauty that they are and fives imagine that they do not have enough information. Sixes think about know how instead of just trusting they will know when need arises. Sevens run after fun experiences and eights break themselves and others in their strife to become stronger. Nines fall asleep looking for peace.

Each type is suffering from an imaginary shortage. There is and aspect of reality that the person focuses on in order to find fulfillment. The fact is, however, she is looking in the wrong place. If she goes to the right place, namely within herself, here and now, all she ever wanted and needed is right there.

Look deeply into those stressful beliefs and all the thoughts that accompany them. Are they really true? And do they serve you? Or are you ready to let them go?


These habits of thoughts are deeply rooted and they steadily come up anew in different areas of our lives and our thinking. So we may need the help of someone who points them out to us and reminds us. That is what group work and therapy is good for. Especially when the one who helps you is aware of these different patterns in people.

Know what you are

The Enneagram is a guide to those crazy ideas that ego tries to sell us, to keep our attention fixed on that which is not freedom. Knowing your ego, you can distance yourself from it. You have a choice, and you can become understanding, light hearted and kind about it.

The ground for transformation is always a coming home to here and now. To presence. To what is. In a sense every enneatype is a mode of missing that point, of getting lost in dreams and fantasies that take you away from the home you are already living in. And that mode is always a misuse, and overuse, of skills and preferences of that particular personality type. Stuff that can be used for benefit and enjoyment when the person frees herself of that which limits her and keeps her stuck in the egoic mode of operation.

Focusing on that which we are not, that is our ego, our personality, is sometimes helpful. As we gain a healthy distance, and can let go of things that are not essential to us, we begin to connect with our essential nature. It also helps us let go of those patterns that always come up and lead us astray when it comes to being awake.

Meditation and awareness practices are fine complements to the work with the Enneagram. You connect directly with that ground of Being which is your true nature. Each type seems to experience that undivided state slightly differently, but it is undoubtedly the same and it connects all of life, beyond differences on the level of form.

Symbolically you can say that within us there is a child aspect and and adult aspect. The child aspect is emotional, vulnerable, in need of loving care and safe limits, fun loving, creative and spontaneous. Just like a real live child. The adult aspect is the one that takes care of business. It is the job of our inner adult to create a life situation that is safe and sound and helps us flourish. It is also up to the adult to create a good inner cooperation with the child. A responsible adult listens and cares and then makes decisions based both on the needs and wants of the child and on the possibilities of the situation. She sees to it that the needs of the child are met without creating trouble with the environment. She changes things that do not work and she goes for that which promotes, health, well being and creativity.

In each of the enneatypes the inner child energy is akin to that of another type. Following the lines that connect the points in the Enneagram symbol you will find the inner child aspect of your type, as well as the so called stress point.

Work with your inner child: Good inner cooperation

Take type six for example. Like all types, sixes need to create a good inner cooperation. The first step is to be aware of and pay attention to ones emotions and bodily sensations. Metaphorically you could say that a type six does not trust her inner child enough. The inner adult turns outside, looking for others and their supposed know how. She needs to decide that the inner child is a good guide. That is how the six will access her authority.

The responsible adult manages fear. She does not ignore it, nor criticize it. It is a guide to her. For fear can indicate that there is something in the present situation that is not good and that action is called for. Fear can also be the emotional response of the inner child to old stuff being triggered. A good parent holds that fear and at the same time shows the child that the danger is not here and now. That way fear can be released and the person can rest and be relaxed.

The inner child aspect of type six is located at point nine. The inner child of a six likes to take it easy and just hang out. It is soft and fun and enjoys the physical pleasure of life. Rather than sharp, intelligent and actively attentive. Being respectful to the sensitivity of the inner child and its need to take it easy and hang out with kind friends, a six can cooperate internally. That way she will not depend on others but choose who to play with and how to organize external cooperation.

Basically, every type needs to reestablish that good inner cooperation.

Type one: Natural joy and will

In a type one it is the seven child that needs to be embraced. The one needs to stop holding her needs and emotions back. The first step is to let the emotions be as they are. Metaphorically you could say that a type one criticizes her inner child for being messy and undisciplined. The inner adult can be very rigid and not care enough about what the inner child wants. The adult reacts with resistance to the neediness of the child.

That adult needs to relearn. For good inner parenting she needs to stop repressing, and listen. Accept. All emotion. Have patience and love. At first, emotion may be intense and the inner child is very upset. But if the adult hangs in there and does not push down or attack, the child will slowly but surely learn to trust the adult again. That is how the one will access her will. For the will is based upon that inner bond. The emotional part, the inner child, provides signals about wants, needs and preferences, and on top of that it brings joy and inspiration, and the adult acts upon it.

The responsible adult manages anger. She uses it as a source of strength, but she does not take it out on others, nor does she turn it on the inner child part. She allows it and sees to that it is expressed in safe ways, and when it is useful. The anger empowers her and makes it easy for her to know what she wants and to set limits in a friendly yet efficient manner.

The inner child (the emotional aspect) of type one is seven. A one will benefit greatly from this energy if inner cooperation is good. When a one is blocking her joy and her love for play and her positive, trusting inner child, she will suffer. She may be critical of that kind of feelings and behaviors, caring more about being together and organized, than about her own happiness. Some ones may also idealize their inner seven child and not give it limits (counter phobic ones). That does imply a lack of real trust and sometimes leads to hedonistic or uncaring behavior.

When a one truly embraces and integrates her seven aspect, she will be in balance.

The inner children

If you are a two the inner four child will be a great asset to you. She will long for you to focus on yourself and you own emotions, before listening to the pain of others. If you listen to her she will invite you to stay focused on you own interiority and enjoy the beauty of it. And you need to allow that four aspect in you that are not always easy for others to swallow. Like the taste for death and tragic emotion. And the need to focus on your own emotion until it ebbs out.

If you are a three you need to reestablish the bond with your sensitive and responsive inner six child. You need to listen to your inner six child who loves the flow of communication and cooperation. You cannot shut it off or ignore it in the name of efficiency and results. The inner six child will bring you the will and capacity to colaborate, communicate, be empathic and work for the sake of the greater good, not just for yourself and your own goals.

If you are four your inner child is a one. You may not like it, but that little part of you may not be so soft, vulnerable and accepting. It may be critical, strict and sometimes very apt to discipline others. That part of you will help you be more organized and forget about sad stories and tragedy. And it will help you protect your heart and not allow others to treat you badly.

If you are a five your inner child aspect is a little eight wrestler. That energy is excellent to create balance. It is wild, intense and physical. It will help you feel your strength and bravery and get out into the world and take what you want. You need to love that part of you and let go of prejudices against precisely those qualities.

If you are a seven the five child will help you focus and go deeply into things. That child is good at precisely that which you have the hardest time with: focus, endurance, patience and consistency. You need to embrace that little hermit within. The child that does not want to go to every party but rather dig deeply into that which is really important to you. That will help you ground yourself in reality and find a deeper well of joy.

If you are an eight the two child offers you precisely that which will balance you, namely tenderness, softness and love. The care for the emotional needs of others will help you be empathic and respectful. It will bring warmth to your strength and with a good inner cooperation you can become a very warm and caring leader, that others can trust and rely on. And it will help you soften and allow others to love you.

If you are a nine you will need to embrace the three aspect. That inner child wants to be the center of attention. It wants results. And it is efficient and driven to succeed and do things itself for itself. A nine needs to embrace that and learn to give plenty of room for that aspect of herself. It will help her get more focused and really show up in the world. But that child will not be content, there will not be true balance and harmony, until she allows that focus on herself and her goals and achievements.

Heart types, head types and body types

The Enneagram is divided into three sectors: The gut types (body types), the head types (fear types) and the heart types (emotional types). The names are somewhat confusing, but the distinction can be used in a number of ways if you want to deepen your understanding of the types.

Enough said here that there is a difference as to the underlying emotional atmosphere pervades the type. In the body types (8, 9, 1) it is anger, in the heart types (2, 3, 4) it is sadness and in the head types (5, 6. 7) it is fear.

In this context we would like to add that when it comes to the experience of waking up to our true nature there is a difference between the three centers as to how this is experienced and what the leap of faith is about.

If you are a thinker, a head type, you need to let go of your identification with thoughts and ideas. The security you look for, but will never find, in them will not substitute for the freedom that letting them go will bring you. True security comes when you give up leaning on ideas and theories. They are just like all play of form, fleeting and subject to change. And when you give them up you will find that what you are IS security. You can lean on the infinite, unlimited wisdom that you are. There is nothing to learn, nothing to figure out.

The experience of awakening in a head type (five, six and seven) is about your mind, or the upper chakra if you will, becoming empty in the sense of expansive, all inclusive and limitless. All form plays out there and that is the way consciousness, or being, is experienced in the earthly expression of a head type.

If you are a heart type, whose focus is in the heart, the middle chakra if you will, you need to let go of your identification with emotions and relationships. They will not bring you love. Emotion and relationship are also just the play of form. They are not more important or apt to bring you the fulfillment you long for. Reconnection with yourself will, allowing your emotions to flow freely and your heart to expand, will. For you ARE that love you are looking for in the world of form, in emotion and in relationship.

The experience of awakening in a heart type, then is about your heart becoming empty in the sense of spacious, all inclusive and limitless. You will experience it as containing everything, as the space where everything plays out.

If you are a body type, or a visceral type, focused in the hara (ki, or chi), and the ground chakra, you need to let your body go. If you truly trust your body you can allow it to express itself freely and in that way being will flow through you and the experience of awakening will be one of the body being limitless, all inclusive and able to hold and contain absolutely everything.

For that to happen you need to let go of your very identification with the body. Its sensations and expressions are not you, not personal. You need not control it for fear that you will cause harm if that control is lost. Anger and excitement are just natural part of the unfolding of life, and when you trust your body you ARE that safe ground for all of life.

Passive types, adaptive types and Go getters

In modern presentations of the Enneagram we often speak of three groups being “Passive types”, “Go getter types”, and “Adaptive types”. This may be interesting, helps you understand others and also makes it easier to determine your type, or someone elses.

Go getter types (Threes, sevens and eights) are more energetic and strong willed than the others. The go for what they want. There is an experience of active force and forward movement in a go getter, not present in other types. Note, however, that a depressed go-getter, may become very passive. His has to do with the movement towards the stress point.

Passive types (fours, fives and nines) are more withdrawn and less prone to go for what they want. The adaptive types (ones, twos and sixes) are acutely aware of the environment, and the needs, wants and wishes of others and tend to adapt in a way that sometimes makes them neglect their own preferences. Adaptive types are more passive than passive types in their physical demeanor. The passive types are passive in the sense that they have difficulties going for what they want in their own lives, but may be very fast and efficient in other areas.

The three tendencies are in themselves strengths (the capacity to act energetically on your own vision, the capacity to be receptive and still and the capacity to be sensitive to the needs of the whole field, not just your own, respectively). Each of us will benefit from both acceptance of our own tendency and that of others, and by balancing our tendency so that we can be flexible and respond in a vide range of manners. We can all learn by integrating other styles.

There are many other ways of dividing the types into groups, but we find these to be the most interesting and useful.

“First come home, then clean house”

Aryuna Ardagh

The lost Seeker

Humans look for home. Home in the very deepest sense. The feeling of “this is it”, “I have found it”, “home at last”. And interestingly enough, most of us look for home in many places, before we find it. The fact is that just like Ulysses, we all travel far only to reach the home that was really very near. Or rather, the home that was here all the time. And the Enneagram is in a sense a description of nine ways of looking for home in the wrong place.

This is what all great spiritual traditions speak about. And in fact it is what psychotherapy is about as well, from a different angel. The coming home to Being, to presence, to awareness. The rediscovery of who, or what, we really are. And invariably we will come to see that the longing is satisfied falling down, resting in ourselves, without attachments to anything passing, exterior or out of reach.

There seem to be a number of talents that human beings possess and that are distributed among us. Theres seems to be a set of inclinations, characters, or shall we call it personalities. And these are gifts what we can put to good use on earth. At the same time they are connected to a loss of contact with who we really are, namely pure Being. And each type is preoccupied with an aspect of Being. The aspect is not lost but the person is doubting it is there and looking for it in the world.

Ones do not realize that they are Perfection, so they look for it, in both creative and destructive ways. Sixes are safe, but they do not go inside to find that safety. Twos are loved, and they are love, but look outside for love. Everything is taken care of by the Universe, but threes do not see that, so they feel it is up to them. Sevens look for joy outside, missing eternal joy inside. When we are identified with our egoic pattern we miss out on the real deal. Until we drop down and come home.

When an individual wakes up to the realization that she is her true nature, being itself, that does not mean her type is erased. Rather, she spontaneously lives the aspects of her type that are unique, without the destructive byproducts of separation and despair.

The personalities are centered around the talents and each has a different view of the world, a different bias when it comes to assessing what human life is about. One could also view this aspect of humanness as a way of looking for that lost connection to Being in one particular place. A type one will look for it in instances of perfect harmony, a type two in the loving contact with another, a type three in things well and efficiently done, a type four in beauty, a type five in the mastery of knowledge, a type six in flowing cooperation between people, a type seven in fun and play, a type eight in strength and a type nine in peace.

We potentially complement each other, but that we often fail to see things that way. Rather we over use, misuse or shall we say that we focus so much on our particular talent, that it often does more harm than good to us and to the whole.

It seems to us that the soul is the same type thoughout its journey. So there is an enneagram of soul and one of ego, so to speak. Or, as some teachers will teach, there are levels of functioning. To us it looks like this is true, and it is true that we live out different aspects of our type in different circumstances and in different lifetimes. The so called subtypes, come into play here.

In any given circumstance we are also influenced by other souls that se come into contact with. Especially those souls that we have connections with. You will be able to observe this in yourself if you know your enneatype well and observe how you sometimes pick up energies, emotions and thought patterns that belong to people close to you.

There is not need to worry about loss in the context of spiritual awakening, although that is the fear that often causes us to try to turn back when we are “almost there”. If there is something useful about your enneatype, it will still be there when you are free. Knowing experientially that you are pure awareness, not that which appears in your awareness, such as form, thought, emotion, body, does not kill you. Life moves through your form and the uniqueness of your soul is somewhat present even then. There is nothing to worry about, except the worries of ego. For of course to our ego loosing interest in being someone special and better and separate feels like loss. But for God within, it is awakening to paradise. Then God can act through us and use the resources of our type.

Of course, in the end we are all one and the types are unimportant. That happens right here, right now whenever you cease to be identified with your own separate personality and experience yourself as what you really are, namely Being, Life itself.