By Emily Kunze
I was first introduced to the Enneagram at the beginning of my graduate program a couple of years ago. I have always loved personality assessments, so the thought of a new one was really exciting to me. I discovered rather quickly though, that the Enneagram was more than your typical personality assessment. The results took me on a journey of self-reflection to address elements of my life and personality, including stress, motivation, fear, desires, strengths and weaknesses, and relational tendencies.
A little self-disclosure: I am a type 4, also called “The Individualist.” When I got my results, I was immediately amazed at the accuracy with which it felt this assessment had analyzed me to my core. Initially, I’ll be honest – the Enneagram and I had a bit of a love-hate relationship. While I felt affirmed in some of my strengths and tendencies, I was also convicted and humbled when it highlighted areas of fear, weakness, and stress. What started as a love-hate relationship lead me to do more research and studying on the topic, and it has quickly since turned into a passion of mine. I have seen and experienced the impact that the Enneagram can have in personal growth and development, and I’m passionate about helping others on their journey to self-discovery and personal development through the use of the Enneagram as well.
If you’re unfamiliar, the Enneagram is essentially a system of personality typing that explores, through the lens of core beliefs, how we view the world around us, interact with others, handle conflict, and experience and manage our emotions. There are 9 personality types, each identifying with a different core belief and worldview. Key components of the Enneagram include revealing each types’ core fear, desire, longing, and weakness, as well as motivations, stressors, and levels of health. The Enneagram is set-up to be dynamic (as opposed to descriptive) in its interpretation of different personalities, meaning it shows how personalities can change under different circumstances.
If you are interested in finding your main type, you can take the free assessment here: https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test
Now, I recognize and expect that not everyone will have the same experience as I did with the Enneagram. Some may align very closely with their “type,” and others may not as much. Regardless, I believe there is a lot that can be learned and explored through studying the Enneagram.
First, we all have core beliefs. The core beliefs we hold are not always incorrect, but they can be limiting and restrictive as we seek to respond to the world and people around us. When we understand the core motivations and desires that influence why we react, respond, and view things in the ways that we do, we gain a broader perspective and are able to approach situations more effectively and with more awareness.
Second, we are all involved in relationship with other people. In relationships, the Enneagram is a helpful tool to understand why others behave in the way that they do. It doesn’t mean that we go around “typing” our friends and family, but learning about the different types can give us a greater respect for each other’s differences, and a deeper understanding towards others in their individual, unique journeys. We also all have relational patterns and tendencies, whether we recognize them or not, and the Enneagram can help us pinpoint these to maximize our potential in our personal, social, and professional lives.
Finally, we all experience stress. The Enneagram, as mentioned earlier, is a dynamic personality assessment. This means that it accounts for the changes and situations we may experience at given times and considers how this might affect each personality type. It specifically highlights levels of stress and health that each type experiences and fleshes out what each looks like. Learning about how our personality types naturally respond to stressful situations through the Enneagram helps give us insight into how we can better adapt and manage our emotions and responses.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram, join Dr. Brenda Neyens and myself in our upcoming class, Enneagram Workshop! In the class, we will be learning about the different Enneagram types and how to maximize our potential in our personal and professional lives. This will take place weekly via Zoom on Thursdays from 12-1pm, beginning on October 22nd and going through November 19th. There is no cost associated with this class. We will be giving weekly homework, for the purpose of implementing what we are learning each week into our everyday lives. There are limited spots available in our group. To sign-up, please email me, Emily Kunze at email@example.com, or Dr. Brenda Neyens at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have you!
Emily Kunze is a counseling intern at The Core. She is in the final semester of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program through Colorado Christian University.