Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What are Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes?

Picture taken from Ginger Lapid-Bogda, The Enneagram in Business

I have collected information on the Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes from a variety of sources, however I would especially like to acknowledge the following online sources for their expertise on the subject, from which I synthesized most of my forthcoming A to Z Challenge information.

Clarence Thompson, Enneagram Central
David Daniels, Enneagram Worldwide
Peter O'Hanrahan EnneagramWork
Beatrice Chestnut guest blogger at The Enneagram in Business

We all have three centers of intelligence. There is the mental center, which includes our ideas, plans, thoughts. There is the emotional center, where our feelings come from. There is the body center, from which come the three primary instinctual drives. The drives are known as Self-Preservation, Social, and Intimate (otherwise known as One-to-One or Sexual in Enneagram literature).

We have a distinct preference for one of the primary drives, which exert significant influence on how we express our type.

If the Self-Preservation instinct is our primary drive, then we focus on material security, which includes food, shelter, warmth and family.

If the Intimate (or otherwise known as One-to-One or Sexual) instinct is our primary drive, we seek to bond with one person or a few close friends. We may or may not be especially sexual, but people whose Intimate instinct is primary tend to be more energetic overall than people whose other instinctual drives are primary.

If the Social instinct is our primary drive, we feel the need to belong and to be members of groups that extend beyond family into the community.

Each Enneagram Style has all Three Instinctual Subtypes: Self-Preservation, Social and Intimate, and there are NINE Enneagram Styles, which makes a total of 27 Instinctual Subtypes, each one very different from the others.

Tomorrow, I'll put up a chart of the names I've given each of the Enneagram Types with Instinctual Subtypes, and the day that each will appear in the A to Z challenge.


  1. Very interesting again. So you are saying that if someone was a six and they have 3 sub-types and which ever is dominant that's the one the shows up when you're stress? If you break through the "insanity" and learn to deal better with your "issues", what happens? Can you change from a six to a one or does it mean you're a six but your focus would change in the subtype? I'm just curious. I find human behavior fascinating and love to learn about it.

  2. Looking forward to the next post~ this is very interesting stuff!

  3. Hi Shelley, If you are a 6, you will always be a six. It shows up almost like a fingerprint. When it gets you in trouble is when you're stressed, and you keep reacting in old patterns. But as you learn more about Enneagram styles,you begin to realize that you don't have to be stuck in your particular style of relating/reacting. The human spirit is fluid. We can learn new ways of being. Awareness helps us moderate our style and not be a prisoner to our personalities, although no, we will never get rid of our egos (enneagram styles) entirely. I like to think of my style as the protective cage that began to form when I was about 5 years old. I'm not 5 anymore, and so I don't need the same protection to get along in life and I don't WANT my reactions to be driven by a 5 year old. We're all being led around, ultimately, by our 5 year old selves. Not a great way to be.

  4. Very interesting. Thank you for answering my questions. I look forward to the next post.


Your comments mean a lot to me!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...