Concepts of the Enneagram System
The Enneagram personality type system is deceptively complex. A quick look at the system reveals that there are only nine types. However, a more in-depth look reveals many concepts and features that intermix with the nine types to make the system quite complex.
Some of these concepts come from the origins of the system that further define each type. For example:
- Oscar Ichazo's Enneagrams of fixation, holy ideas, traps, passions, and virtues
- Mapping the types to the DSM personality disorders
- Associating the types with psychological defense mechanisms
Some concepts of the Enneagram types are used to explain variations of each type. For example:
Some concepts are associated with the Enneagram symbol itself. For example:
- stress and security points
- directions of integration and disintegration
- triadic groupings such as the centers of intelligence and the Karen Horney types
One approach to use when first learning the Enneagram types is to only focus on the nine types. While that may be a good start, it doesn't take long before these other concepts begin creeping into the conversation. My approach would be to first get a quick overview of the concepts so that you at least know what people are talking about when the concepts are mentioned (here's a quick guide to the concepts I put together). Afterwards, begin exploring the nine types themselves starting with the descriptions.
I've devoted a whole section of Dave's Enneagram website to posts and web links exploring Enneagram type concepts.