Which Enneagram Test Does this Therapist Use?
(The Answer Will Surprise You!)


What is the Enneagram?
Where did it come from?
Which Enneagram test is the best?

All three questions seem simple but are difficult to answer. 

The Enneagram has been around for a long time.


Some Enneagram enthusiasts say that it is rooted in Christian mysticism.   Others argue that it was part of Sufism (a mystical branch of Islam).  Yet others say that it originates in Pythagorian math.  


Its exact origins shall (likely) remain a mystery.  

Here’s what I do know: Enneagram tests to determine Enneagram type came about in the last few decades.

 Which Enneagram test is the best?  Stick around and I’ll answer that!  


Like most aspects of the origin of the Enneagram, the word itself is not universally agreed upon.  Most people agree that the word is Greek and can be roughly translated to “A Model of Nine which is Written Down.”  


There are battling Enneagram schools who claim expertise in all-things-Enneagram.    There is no one agreed upon “gatekeeper,” of the Enneagram who can name exactly what it is.  


Given that, here’s how I would describe it:  It’s a personality indicator that places all individuals into one of nine personality types.


It is important to note that the above statement would be highly controversial to many Enneagram Experts.  They would argue that it is so much more than a personality test (a la Myers Briggs).  


On the other hand, Enneagram nay-sayers would want you to know this:  There has been empirical research done to examine the Enneagram.  Results of the research have not yielded any firm conclusions and have only yielded mixed results.  This includes research on the Enneagram tests for personality types.  


Other adversaries of the Enneagram say that the nine personality types of the Enneagram pigeonhole people into a type.  In other words, a concern some people have is the way the Enneagram has been used to classify and stereotype people.  

The 9 Enneagram Types

The Enneagram symbol represents the 9 personality types.  No personality type is considered “better” or worse” than any other personality type.  


Most experts would assert that you are born into your type.  In other words, it’s like a fingerprint of who you are from your first breath on the planet.  


The names of each personality type vary between the various Enneagram “camps.”  However, the descriptions are quite similar.  

  1. The Perfectionist: An Enneagram type 1 will be very principled and orderly. They are also commonly known as the Reformers.  They are able to prioritize and accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently.  Because they are such perfectionists, they can be very critical of both themselves and others.  Paradoxically, because Enneagram 1s are so perfectionist, they may never even begin a project because of the fear of imperfection.  Therefore, some Enneagram 1’s work desks and bedrooms can look very disorganized and haphazard.   
  2. The Helper: Everyone loves this type of person!  They are empathic, understanding, and warm. The helper is always going to dive in and lend a hand while caring for others.  However, the motivation can often be for more selfish reasons.  They need to be needed and need to be loved.  When that need isn’t acknowledged, they can get frustrated. 
  3. The Achiever/Performer: This person is busy all. the. time.  They are driven, ambitious, and highly “successful.”  Because our society values every attribute they possess, it can be hard to see the downside of this type. However, they tend to lack work/life balance and will put their ambitions ahead of their relationships.  Therefore, it can put a strain on relationships– especially intimate relationships.  
  4. The Individualist: The image that comes to my mind with the individualist is the poet.  They seek deeply emotional relationships.  They are highly creative and unique. They are also highly sensitive. Because of their strong emotional feelings, when their emotional state shifts, they can be quite moody.  They also struggle with the ordinary and mundane.  
  5. The Investigator:  This Enneagram Type is inquisitive, perceptive, and independent.  They also love knowledge… to the point of hoarding knowledge!  They are extremely focused and logical.  Sometimes, they can come across as withdrawn and uncompromising.
  6. The Loyalist: This Enneagram type longs to feel safe. They are great problem-solvers to have in your life!  Because they value safety, they appreciate rules.  Therefore, they tend to be responsible and trustworthy.  However, because they seek safety, they can anticipate problems that don’t actually exist.  Therefore, they can come off as suspicious and insecure.
  7. The Enthusiast: This Enneagram type is always up for an adventure.  They love spontaneity and always have a list of fun ideas.  If you are friends with an Enneagram 7, you’ll enjoy their light spirit when you’re with them. However, their spontaneity can be impulsive.  Their positive attitude can blind them to the possibility of negative outcomes.  Therefore, they can be seen as reckless and dangerous.
  8. The Challenger: When this Enneagram personality type walks into a room, you feel it.  Their power drips off of them!  They want to be in charge and will eagerly sign up to lead.  If you are in a jam, these are the people that have the courage to face it and help get you out of it.  However, their power and strength can overwhelm others at times and they can be viewed as domineering and intimidating.
  9. The Peacemaker:  Wouldn’t everyone want to be a peacemaker?  They are easygoing, laidback, and SUPER supportive.  They are very agreeable and go with the flow.  It is a breeze to be friends with an Enneagram 9.  However, it’s not such a breeze for Enneagram 9 to be friends with themselves.  They are so easygoing that they don’t tap into what they want or who they are.

So which Enneagram test would I recommend?


The surprising answer is none of them.  Many experts state that Enneagram tests aren’t the best way to determine your type. 


They argue that the best way to understand the Enneagram system of personality is the ‘exemplar panel.’ 


It is a panel of people of the same Enneagram type that come together and share their stories.

Hearing the narratives of the panelists’ lives makes it easy to find similar themes in how they view their thoughts and feelings.


Additionally- while they may have widely different careers, relationships, and personalities-  underlying themes can easily be noticed! 


While I’m not an Enneagram expert, I have witnessed exemplar panels.  I have found them much more helpful in understanding the Enneagram types than any test that I’ve taken.  


There are some great Enneagram panels that you can watch on YouTube.  I can’t recommend this series enough. 


I’m also a huge fan of Beatrice Chestnut’s understanding of the Enneagram.  Her 500-page book is the most comprehensive Enneagram book I have encountered. 

 In the meantime, are you ready to give therapy a go?  

Free free to contact me directly if you have questions or to schedule a brief call to see if I might be able to support you as you journey forward.


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