Typing Yourself and Others

Photo: Pexels

Photo: Pexels


One of the most difficult parts of teaching the Enneagram is typing people. I believe it works best when it is a joint effort between the student and the instructor or mentor. But however it is done, it is hard.

Recognizing the energy of each pattern can help.

The type represents our underlying motivation. Remember, the type develops as a defense mechanism. It is a movement away from our essential nature. It is the way we express when we feel cut off from our essence. The energy of the type, though, holds a seed of that essence.

Let’s compare a couple of types that are often confused with each other.

2 and 9 can look alike sometimes. They are both trying to please, and they can both seem to have no needs or to be out of touch with their needs, so their behaviors and descriptors can seem similar. But the energy of 2 moves outward, sometimes almost invading another’s space. The energy of 9, on the other hand, is quiet blending. It would never be intrusive. More often, it might go totally unnoticed.

How about 1 and 3? They often look alike. They both work really hard, trying to do the best job they can. They both even get irritated a lot by how others do things. But let’s look at the energy. 3 is puffed up, arrogant, but fluid – changing to get attention. The energy of 1 is stiff, unmovable, contained,– trying to do a good job by focusing on the small details. Their energy isn’t arrogant, it’s just working to perfect, and it feels right to them.

Identifying the patterns

Each Enneatype and subtype has an energetic pattern. The focus of this school is to help people identify their own pattern, and through that, to learn compassion for all other patterns. By teaching the Enneagram through the embodiment of all the energetic patterns, we can learn to identify when our energetic pattern is tight or open, and how to free it.