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The Enneagram

What Is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a centuries-old and increasingly popular tool for typing the personality and understanding human nature. Each of the nine types provides a glimpse into what motivates us and causes us to act as we do. Furthermore, the Enneagram does not pigeon-hole us. With its possibility for variation within each personality type, it is a system that ultimately is as unique as we are ourselves.

nine_typesUnlike many systems that simply type your personality and then leave you to figure our how you might change, the Enneagram provides a roadmap for personal development. By focusing on our unconscious motivations and compulsions, the Enneagram lets us catch ourselves when we are responding to life with defense mechanisms and reactions rather than with the authenticity that is inherent in our True Selves. The Enneagram brings to light our "doing" and instead encourages us to strive toward "being" as we were created.

The Enneagram helps us make healing connections among our three centers— the instinctual center (body), the feeling center (heart), and the thinking center (mind) — by identifying our gifts and our brokenness. It is useful for individual inner work and for improving group dynamics and relationships.

Workshops and Services

Suzanne can schedule an Enneagram workshop for your group based on the group's needs and previous knowledge of the Enneagram model. Some topics for workshops are:

Suzanne is also available to work with you on an individual basis in understanding your type and its influence in your personal life, in your professional life, and in your spiritual journey. For more information on the Enneagram and coaching, click here.

Suzanne's Qualifications

Suzanne Eller was trained by Don Riso and Russ Hudson at the Enneagram Institute. She has completed the entire three-part training program as well as numerous additional workshops offered by the Enneagram Institute. She has also trained with the Enneagram Worldwide (David Daniels and Helen Palmer), Changeworks (Tom Condon), Enneamotion (Andrea Isaacs) and with several local Enneagram experts. She teaches workshops and classes on the Enneagram and uses the Enneagram in her work and in her personal development. She is a member of the International Enneagram Association.

Suzanne is particularly interested in the somatic Enneagram and studies on the Enneagram in the areas of massage, bodywork, energy work, somatic psychotherapy, body armoring, massage marketing, massage modalities, the three centers, etc. If you are doing research or case studies in any of these areas or if you simply share the same interest, please contact Suzanne and share your results or thoughts.

Click the link here or to the left to access pdf versions handouts that have been used in some of Suzanne's workshops.

The Enneagram Invocation

I now remember that I am here and present in the moment.

I am grounded, alive, and connected in my body.

I am open and receptive to the truth and compassion of my heart.

I am clear and awake to the stillness of Mind.

I bear witness to the Presence of the One.

~Created during an Enneagram Institute Faculty Meeting © 2008
The Enneagram Institute  (with permission).

Which animal are you?

The Dinner Party of enneagram animal characters

Cartoon by Elizabeth Wagele (with permission)

The Nine Enneagram Types (Riso-Hudson Nomenclature)
Enneagram type 1 Type 1: The Reformer

The Reformer has a basic desire to be a "good" person and may put pressure on himself/herself to be perfect. This drive to improve both self and others masks the Reformer's inner fear that somehow he/she is not good enough, defective, or even evil. Though at their worst, Reformers will be intolerant and hypocritical, at their best, they are self-disciplined, wise, and realistic, and they have a strong sense of ethics and values that can inspire other.

To read more about the Reformer, click here.

Enneagram type 2 Type 2: The Helper

The Helper has a basic desire to feel loved be others that masks a basic fear that he/she cannot be truly loved because of an innate unworthiness. Thus, the Helper seeks to win love by what he/she does for others. At their worst, this causes Helpers to be patronizing, intrusive, and manipulative. At their best, however, Helpers are truly unselfish and altruistic. This is because they come to love both themselves and others.

To read more about the Helper, click here.

Enneagram type 3 Type 3: Achiever

The Achiever has a basic desire to feel valuable and worthwhile in an effort to calm the basic fear of being worthless. Anxious to measure up the standards of others, Achievers at their worst will do whatever it takes to get recognition and approval even if it means being opportunistic or dishonest. Paradoxically, at their best, Achievers are both intrinsically motivated and truly authentic. Their competence makes them highly valued by others.

To read more about the Achiever, click here.

Enneagram type 4 Type 4: The Individualist

The Individualist has a basic desire to find himself or herself and create an identity. This desire is an effort to ease the basic fear of having no personal significance and no real identity. Because they focus on emotions and use thinking to maintain their moods and feelings, Individualists at their worst can get trapped in an emotional quagmire and fall into depression and blaming behaviors. However, at their best, Individualists can transform their sensitivity into universal expressions of the human condition through creative endeavors. They can be empathetic and vulnerable while also being emotionally strong and self-renewing.

To read more about the Individualist, click here.

Enneagram type 5 Type 5: The Investigator

The Investigator covers up his/her basic fear of being useless, incapable, or helpless by cultivating his/her basic desire to be highly competent and knowledgeable. Investigators often postpone taking action until they feel they have all the facts. At their worst, they retreat from others and get lost in the unrealistic ideas generated by their own minds, becoming obsessive and/or eccentric. At their best, however, Investigators are visionaries, who can see things in their true context and, at the same time, make accurate predictions and create innovative solutions.

To read more about the Investigator, click here.

Enneagram type 6 Type 6: The Loyalist

The Loyalist has a basic fear of being without support or guidance, and so the basic desire is centered around finding a reliable source of support and guidance. Thus, the key word for the Loyalist is security, and of all the types, Loyalists can behave in the most contradictory ways. At their worst, Loyalists are afraid they have ruined their security and may feel distrustful and even paranoid. However, at their best, Loyalists are trusting and both independent and interdependent, seeing themselves and others as partners or equals.

To read more about the Loyalist, click here.

Enneagram type 7 Type 7: Enthusiast

The Enthusiast is the true "party-animal" of the Enneagram. The eager response to variety of the Enthusiast is a disguise for the basic fear of being in pain or being deprived. The basic fear leads to the basic desire to be satisfied and content and to have all needs fulfilled. Consequently, at their worst, Enthusiasts can lead a desperate quest to quiet their anxieties and can become impulsive and compulsive, even obnoxious and addictive because they are never able to find the contentment they crave. At their best, though, Enthusiasts are truly joyous and deeply grateful for the simple (and the enormous) gifts life offers them.

To read more about the Enthusiast, click here.

Enneagram type 8 Type 8: The Challenger

The Challenger is self-confident and decisive. They key word for the Challenger is power. Challengers' basic desire is to protect themselves because they have a basic fear of being harmed or controlled by others. Thus, at their worst, Challengers will reject authority and become ruthless, dictatorial, and even violent. At their best, however, Challengers are courageous and resourceful and can be the most empowering of others of all the types. They have huge hearts and realize the power to be found in surrendering to a higher power.

To read more about the Challenger, click here.

Enneagram type 9 Type 9: The Peacemaker

The Peacemaker is accommodating and agreeable. This is because the Peacemaker's basic desire is to have inner stability and peace of mind. Behind this cooperative demeanor, the Peacemaker has a basic fear of loss and separation, and so the Peacemaker may go along with others when in fact, she/he would prefer something else. Consequently, at their worst, Peacemakers can be highly repressed and numbed out to the point that abandon themselves and others just to avoid conflict. At their best, though, Peacemakers are truly "nice" people. They are present and connected to themselves and to others and are able to form deep, supportive relationships.

To read more about the Peacemaker, click here.

enneagram types number

Images of Enneagram and types courtesy of the Enneagram Institute unless otherwise indicated; used with permission

Tapestry Life Resources offers group and individual work in the Enneagram, a widely adaptable tool for personal growth and self-realization. Understanding your core Enneagram personality type can help you become a more open, compassionate person and will help you improve all your relationships. You will begin to access your True Self. In organizations, it improves team functioning and matches people to the tasks they do best.


One of the great dangers of transformational work is that the ego attempts to sidestep deep psychological work by leaping into the transcendent too soon. This is because the ego always fancies itself much more ‘advanced’ than it actually is.
~Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson


The Enneagram and its theory of three primary centers has connections to a number of body/mind philosophies and bodywork modalities. Among these are Reichian bodywork, Structural Integration, Yoga and Aryuvedic healing, Shiatsu and other Traditional Chinese Medicine approaches such as acupressure. Please click the handout button below, the articles page and the links page for additional information on how the Enneagram and bodywork can be complementary psyche-soma approaches.

Enneagram Institute

Take the free Enneagram Type Test at the Enneagram Institute

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