Why Take an Enneagram Personality Test?

Do enneagram personality type tests work?

The enneagram of personality types has exploded in popularity around the world. In the past thirty-five years, dozens of books have been published on the enneagram of personality types as well as thousands of articles and blog posts.

There are a couple of dozen enneagram tests available on the Internet. Do enneagram tests work? What’s the value of taking an enneagram test? If and when should one take an enneagram test?

enneagram personality test

Understanding the orientation and methodology of the Diamond Approach (DA) might offer some insight into the possible value of taking an enneagram test and when the test might serve one best.

The Diamond Approach is devoted to helping people discover and explore the nature of reality and the human being. It is fundamentally an exploration into who and what we are.

Many DA teachers, including A. H. Almaas, founder of the Diamond Approach, often recommend that students explore the enneagram as a means of learning more about their personality and its underlying structures and dynamics. The personality is understood as a surface presentation of what we are. It’s where the exploration and deep dive into the mysteries of ourselves and true nature begins.

what enneagram type am I

Investigating & Exploring Your Personality Type

This may not be for you…

Since the DA is oriented around deep, personal inquiry, it is be recommended that someone new to the enneagram read about and explore all nine enneatypes and the enneagram of personality types in general for some time, maybe six months to a year, before taking an enneagram personality type test.

Looking for a quick answer doesn’t reflect the spirit, the appreciation, and understanding of the process of inquiry and spiritual development, nor the recognition of the enneagram’s intricate dynamics and deep wisdom. Taking stock of one’s motivation for discovering their enneatype is a great place to begin one’s exploration.

After reading a couple of books, attending a couple of talks or workshops, and talking with other enneagram enthusiasts and teachers, if one is still unclear about their enneatype, then an enneagram test might be of value in helping sort through some confusion or similarities. While it is important to recognize and understand one’s type, it is just as important to understand all nine enneagram types, as all nine types are part of our psyche and underlying reality.

Wrestling with discovering your type is time well spent. If you feel you’ve given it your all and you’re still not sure if you’re an eight or a counter-phobic six, then take an enneagram test. But, don’t take the enneagram test result as the ultimate authority.

Continue to explore the type and reflect on your past to see if the type fits – and – pay attention to how the type moves under stress. Our lives are full of stress. Reflecting on our late teens and early twenties, we should be able to see the movement from our enneatype to its stress point fairly easy.

So, most Diamond Approach teachers would recommend exploring first, perhaps with the support of a teacher or guide, and testing later if needed – if your motivation is to understand yourself more deeply.

In the Keys to the Enneagram course, Enneagram teachers Sandra Maitri and Russ Hudson will explore each of the ennea-types from the perspective of A.H. Almaas’s book of the same name, Keys to the Enneagram. This course will provide in-depth and experiential opportunities to explore the spiritual endowments and true essence of each type. While this course may provide clarity on which ennea-type a person leads with, it will also lead participants beyond typology and into the radical potential for wholeness hidden in working with the enneagram.

keys to the enneagram course

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13 thoughts on “Why Take an Enneagram Personality Test?”

  1. “While it is important to recognize and understand one’s type, it is just as important to understand all nine enneagram types, as all nine types are part of our psyche and underlying reality.”

    This statement is misleading, if not just plain false. These are two completely separate points that have nothing to do with each other. To equate them is to weaken both truths and to do a great disservice to the seeker.

    It is important to know your type. You cannot undo the fixation, relax the passion and practice the virtue of your type without this certainty. You also cannot call on the resources of your type’s specific essential endowment, as revealed in The Keys to the Enneagram, without this knowledge. And, unless you are clear what your type is, you cannot engage the work of penetrating to the core of your type – it’s Holy Idea – and working with the core complex around it, as described in Facets of Unity.

    It is also true that the soul contains all of the types. As we gain familiarity with the Enneagram through working with our specific type and its fixation, we can also become aware of how the other eight types, with emphasis on our wings and our stress and heart points, impact our consciousness.

    We need to understand that this in no way diminishes the importance of coming to understand the dynamics of our particular type.

      1. Yes, it does. Which does not address my comment, that these are two entirely separate points, and both suffer from being conflated like this. Plus, who experiences the world through the view of totality who hasn’t done the work of the first turning? This is where we work to reach the dimension of Being, including its aspects and vehicles. Being is the elixir that helps us to unveil the soul from the imprints made by our specific Enneagram type (Nature), in interaction with the object relations of our environment (Nurture). You dilute the importance of this work, and the role our Enneagram type plays in structuring our unique soul, with the mistaken connector “just as important”.

  2. I wish to add to my previous comment that the importance of each of us knowing how specific type testifies to our individual uniqueness. We are not only the impersonal formless manifestation of true nature, but, without being separate, we are each a unique uprising from the Absolute.

    1. Hi Doug,

      Who introduced the concept of the enneagram wing? In my opinion, the notion of a dominant wing is one of those popular enneagram theories that is overemphasized to bring more “authority through complexity” to the enneagram of personality types.

      If we understand the enneagram of personality types as a way to understand the influence and patterning of the “self” from the instincts and passions, then all nine types are under the influence of the nine passions and the three instincts.

      A nine is fixated at nine but influenced by both wings which can be symmetrical or asymmetrical depending on the situation. Likewise, a nine under stress at point six is influenced by the six’s wings.

      Our personalities are constantly reacting to greed, gluttony, lust, and all the rest… Yes? No?

      1. Yes, John, I agree with your last statement. How is a Nine supposed to work with her fixation if she doesn’t know she is a Nine? How is a Nine going to work with his wings if he doesn’t know he’s a Nine? How is a Nine going to work with her stress point Six and its wings if she doesn’t know she is a Nine? See what I mean? When we begin our work with the Enneagram, and for sometime thereafter, we need to concern ourselves with finding our type, as you describe in the post. The truth that we have all nine types within us, and that the Enneagram reflects the dynamism of Being, are realizations that are not in the consciousness of most Enneagram beginners. Have people who have those realizations forgotten where they started with the Enneagram? As you and I both know, they started with finding their type, exploring on their own, and interacting with a teacher to help with the determination. I encounter people in the school who use statements like the one in this post to say it doesn’t matter what type they are because “we all have all nine in us.” That is not true. It does matter. It is important for our liberation that we determine what type we are. The truth that the soul is patterned by all nine types does not make it less so.

  3. As I say, for me, there is ambiguity and loss of clarity in this sentence “While it is important to recognize and understand one’s type, it is just as important to understand all nine enneagram types, as all nine types are part of our psyche and underlying reality.” I know many people in the school who have used that sentiment to justify not determining their type. Somehow, the way that sentence gets interpreted, the “just as important” link between the two imperatives weakens the first in the minds of some people. My purpose here is to make you, and others, aware of this potential pitfall.

    1. For me, they are equally important. Those that resist determining their type may have issues with sincerity and inquiry or confusion as a defense.

  4. I think Hameed makes the relationship between the two truths clear in the Forward to The Keys to the Enneagram (p. 10):

    “Finding and integrating the key for one’s particular type opens the door. But passing through it to greater spiritual development and openness requires accessing all nine keys since ego is composed of all the fixations and their delusions, even though one of them predominates. It is when we delve deeper into ourselves [beyond finding and integrating the key for one’s type] that we encounter the other fixations and their cores and the need for all of the secret keys to liberation.”

    I interpret this to mean that we first need to determine our type, and work with its key, before working with the other types and their keys can even happen. Obviously, the door needs to be opened before we can pass through. This relationship between working with our dominant type, as Hameed calls it, and its key, and working with the other types, and their keys, is muddled if not wholly lost when you say that knowing all of the types is “just as important” as knowing our dominant type.

    1. Ah, I see the point you are making. Yes, it is necessary to understand and explore the ins and outs of one’s specific fixation before one can unlock them all. Otherwise, it will remain mostly theoretical and not experiential learning and understanding.

      In the essential realms knowing is being and being is knowing – experiential, which is radically different from how the relational mind knows.

      Eventually, knowing one’s specific type and knowing all the types are equally important, but you are correct that it has to start with knowing one’s specific type with certainty.

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