Enneagram Tritype® Test
• Comprehensive Testing Instrument
• Based on 22 Enneagram Research Studies
• 8 Tests in 1 with Special Features
• Programmed to Detect Patterns used by 6s
• Enneastyle Lexicon Assessment
• Analogous and Tritype® Enneaspreads
• Identifies Type, Tritype® & Instinctual Stacking
What are Tritypes®, What is the Tritype® System? How do I find my Tritype®?
Tritype®, a 27-point personality system coined and created by Katherine Chernick Fauvre, is based on the theory that an individual uses three Enneagram Types, not just one. These three types occur as one in each of the three centers of intelligence: head (5,6,7), heart (2,3,4), and gut (8,9,1) and are used in a preferred, continuously oscillating, descending stacking order, which create a “new" type unto itself with its own worldview, coping mechanisms, and defense strategies.
Extensive research with tens of thousands of international participants has confirmed that each Tritype® Archetype is made up of the character traits of the three types within the Tritype®. These traits, within the Tritype®, combine to create 27 unique Tritypes®, each with its own set of core values, needs, fears, and concerns that include: a specific focus of attention, idealized image, core triggers, core fears, desires, blindspots, sense of purpose, and growing edge, adding significant precision, accuracy, and scope to the Enneagram Typing process.
One of the three types in an individual's Tritype® is the “core” or dominant type and represents the ego’s preferred defense strategy and is in charge of the 3Type defense system. The ego always uses the strategies of all three types in unison in a rapid, repeating, hierarchical order throughout the day. The dominant type will continuously deploy the other two types in the Tritype® to make decisions and solve problems.
It is important to note that just combining the three preferred types, one from each of the three centers, is not enough to explain the attentional patterns of each of the 27 Tritype® Archetypes or to confirm which Tritype® is dominant. We can theorize about which type we identify with most in each triad, but the focus of attention of the Tritype® emerges as a result of what happens when these three types merge and, in effect, become one type, which is the Tritype®.
This is because the characteristics of all three types influence one another. As a result, some characteristics are amplified, while other characteristics are minimized by the characteristics of the two other types within the Tritype®. These distinct differences explain why each Tritype® is unique.
For example, the 478 Tritype® has the three “creative" Enneagram Types, one from each triad (4,7,8), which include the two types that prefer what is unusual (4,7), the two types that share the line of intensity (4-8), and the two types that are assertive (7,8) thus creating a type that is innovative, creative, outspoken, intense, assertive, and deep with an original sense of style.
The defense strategies of the types within the Tritype® combine, creating a unique focus of attention with a shared worldview. Research also suggests that the common theme found among the three types within an individual’s Tritype® identifies that individual’s archetypal life purpose and a critical blind spot to self-awareness. In addition, the shared view by the types in an individual’s Tritype® gives important clues as to what is needed to live a more conscious and meaningful life.
High Side and Low Side of Tritypes®
Just like our Enneagram type, we have a "high side" and a "low side" of these Tritype® interactions that distinguish each as having a separate purpose. The values and concerns of the three types in our Tritype® come together to become the guiding principles in life and give us our sense of values, purpose, and the guiding principles one should follow.
The high side of the intersection of these three Enneagram Types is that they define what gives life direction, focus, and purpose for the individual with that Tritype® combination.
The low side of this intersection is that the defense strategies collude or "miss the mark" in the same way, narrowing one’s ability to accurately self-assess, and may even prevent a person from achieving a higher level of self-awareness by keeping the individual mired in outdated, rigid beliefs.
This collusion is both an asset and a liability. An individual’s strengths are a result of these three types working in concert with one another. An individual’s weaknesses result from this collusion as well, which limits self-awareness and spiritual growth, creating what we term an “egoic" blind spot.
Making this blind spot conscious often releases neurotic symptoms just as aligning oneself with the archetypal energies found in the three types in one’s Tritype® can align an individual with their life purpose and mission. Identifying one’s Tritype® Archetype creates an opportunity to discover one’s innate abilities, develop expertise, and experience a greater sense of satisfaction.
How is Tritype® different from Enneagram Type?
Tritype® theory suggests that we use three Enneagram types that combine to create a new type, with one dominant or 'core' type at the top of the stacking order, while Enneagram theory suggests that we have a single 'core' Enneagram type.
Tritype® can explain the distinctive ways in which each individual manages life using various combinations of ego strategies and coping mechanisms from each center, yet Tritype® (like the Enneagram) still remains a theory of motivation and not one of behavior.
What is the difference between Tritype® and Tri-fix? How is Tritype® different from Tri-fix?
How are Tritype® and Tri-fix the same?
Tritype® and tri-fix are two theories that share an important similarity. Both “Tritype®” and “tri-fix” recognize that individuals utilize a fixation from each triad; a type from each center of intelligence, respectively. This is important because it validated Katherine Chernick Fauvre's findings that individuals have not just 1, but 3 Enneagram Types used in a specific oscillating, repeating and hierarchal stacking order.
This was always true with respect to the Enneagram of Personality but not formally recognized until Oscar Ichazo found it to be true based on his theory of trialectics and Katherine Fauvre independently found it to be true when researching the internal experience of type, initially with hundreds and soon tens thousands of interviews. It was very inspiring for Katherine to learn that Ichazo had also found that people used 3 centers and not 1.
What was key is that Oscar Ichazo and Katherine Fauvre both found the same essential truth; based on the law of three, through separate means. Katherine’s research validated Ichazo’s theory and his theory validated Katherine’s research findings and forever changed the way they both taught the Enneagram.
How are Tritype® and Tri-fix different
The differences between Oscar Ichazo’s tri-fix theory and Katherine Chernick Fauvre’s Tritype® theory can be seen in their names; tri-fix and Tritype® respectively.
Ichazo's tri-fix is focused on the use of the three mental “fixations” only. Katherine Fauvre’s Tritype® is based on the full use of each type including: the fixations, the passions, and the convictions, as well as the dynamic aspects produced by the primary type moving towards and away from its two wings and its two lines of connection.
Katherine found that with Tritype®, individuals use the full defense strategy of their three types, including: the mental fixations, the emotional passions, the visceral sensations and convictions, and defense strategies of the types that merge to create a “new type unto itself.”
Each Tritype® and Tritype® Archetype has its own unique focus of attention that includes: an idealized image, core triggers, fears, concerns, desires, and preoccupations that produce a worldview, innate gifts, life purpose, and patterns of defense; innate struggles, and a healing growing edge.
Because there was nothing published from Ichazo on tri-fix, Katherine assumed that she had found what Ichazo found. To avoid confusing people with different terms, she referred to her work and Ichazo’s concept as tri-fix and gave attribution to Oscar Ichazo.
Coining of the term Tritype®
As Katherine continued to write about tri-fix, it became clear that she was the only one writing about tri-fix. Enthusiasts confused her extensive body of research on the types, archetypes, and their meaningful interactions with “Ichazo’s single concept of tri-fix, which was three fixations used in a clockwise order from the primary type.”
In 2007, an attorney from Arica Institute attended Katherine’s Tri-fix training. After the training, they discussed many aspects of the history of Ichazo’s Enneagons and the Enneagram of Personality and tri-fix.
Ichazo mentioned the term tri-fix in his early theory of three instinctual triads in the 1970s as the three centers and how he later applied the term to each person having their own tri-fix after the initial dissemination of the Enneagram. Tritype®, however, was based on extensive research with tens of thousands of participants and correlations with Katherine’s Enneastyle Questionnaire (EQ) and her Enneacards Testing Instrument, which continued to reveal many distinct and meaningful patterns.
These findings were further confirmed with additional studies that Katherine conducted.Their discussion about the similarities and differences in the systems led to a conversation on the future and how enthusiasts would come to understand Oscar’s singular concept of tri-fix and Katherine’s more complex concept and extensive body of work based on years of research.
The Arican teacher mentioned that Katherine was the one that popularized the term tri-fix due to teaching public courses, conducting research studies, and posting about some of her findings on the internet, which was growing at a rapid rate exponentially.
They came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to separate Ichazo’s concept from Katherine Fauvre’s work. Katherine loved the idea as the differences had become problematic for her because everyone was attributing her own work to Ichazo.
This led to the Arican teacher asking Katherine if she would consider giving Ichazo the term of tri-fix so that he might be able to trademark it. She readily agreed as she had given him attribution initially out of respect for his work with the Enneagram of Personality. Katherine wanted to return to her earlier terms of 3Types and TriCenter, which were already her copyrighted terms.
The teacher from Arica stated that the members of the board of directors of the Arica Institute suggested Katherine use the term “Tritype®” because Katherine’s findings were based on the discovery that individuals use three “Types” rather than fixations.
That way, both terms would validate the same general principles of the Enneagram and using all three centers, but that the definition varied thereafter. Katherine really liked the idea even better than tri-fix for the very same reasons. So, in April of 2007, after twelve years as 3Types and TriCenter and over ten years as tri-fix, the term Tritype® was coined. It has now been in effect for 14 years. ©1995-2021 Katherine Chernick Fauvre
Do Enneagram Tritypes® have Wings?
Yes, the Tritypes® have wings. Each Tritype® fully represents the entire type, which includes Ichazo’s two wing types for each type. They also have the lines of connection that are used both positively or negatively, combining the three Types, which in turn created the Tritypes®. Each of the 27 Tritypes® has wings. The Enneagram of Personality includes these because the Enneagram is a Trialectic System created by Oscar Ichazo.
Each type within the Tritype® uses all dynamic aspects of the three types, which include the wing types and the lines of connection that are related to the type. So, if the nine types have wings, and they do, then the three types in the 27 Tritypes® have wings as well.
A common source of mistyping the types within in a Tritype® is based on a belief that one relates to the types within a Tritype®. This is not the case. The types in the Tritype® are based on the defense strategies of three of the nine Enneagram types. It is important to remember that the Tritype® is not just three types one relates to in each center. Instead, it is based on the defense strategies of the three types merging together and that function as a triad creating a new type unto itself.
Enneagram Types and Tritypes® are dynamic!
It is helpful to note that the Enneagram types are dynamic due to each type’s relationship to both of its wing types and both of its lines of connection (both of which are patterns of three), and when combined, these forces generate the dynamic energy that create each of the 27 Tritypes®. This process is based on the Laws of one, three, and seven. This Enneagram symbol was used by GI Gurdjieff and Oscar Ichazo because it maps movement. But any graph of a nine-pointed symbol would also be an Enneagram. So, each type is a result of the dynamic interplay of the type with its two wing types, which is Ichazo’s Trialectics, and the type with both connecting lines, which is also Ichazo’s Trialectics.
What are the two ways of working with the Tritype® System?
Katherine has found that there are two main ways to work with the Tritype® material. The first is to study the differences within type by looking at the Tritype® relationship to those sharing the same dominant Enneagram type. The other is to compare the similarities between people with the same Tritype® across different core Enneagram types. This is referencing the Tritype® archetype.
Example: The Type 1 has nine different possible combinations (125, 126, 127, 135, 136, 137, 145, 146, 147). Through observation of how these different combinations of the Type 1 conceptualize and navigate the social world, distinctions may be noticed depending upon the types in the Tritype®. The other method is to recognize the archetype of each Tritype® combination. Fauvre posits that each of the 27 Tritype® combinations illustrate a particular and individual archetype. These archetypes were observed out of the recognition of the similar core triggers, core fears, life purposes, blind spots, and “growing edges” that seemed to personify how each Tritype® navigated the world.
Example: The 468 (486, 684, 648, 864, 846) has been deemed “The Truth Teller” by Katherine Fauvre. Most research participants who identified this as their Tritype® combination reported similar archetypal patterns that, according to Katherine, warranted this title, such as the desire to track inconsistencies and call off hidden agendas and ulterior motives. According to Katherine, each of the 27 Tritypes® has a corresponding archetype that gives a "snapshot" into the archetypal life path of that particular Tritype® combination. There are books and videos on the Enneagram Tritype® here. Learn more about Tritype® in the upcoming online Tritype® 10-Week Masterclass Trainings here.
©1995-2021 Katherine Chernick Fauvre: Originator of Tritype®
27 Tritype® Archetypes Descriptions
Tritype® 125, 152, 215, 251, 512, 521-The Mentor
If you are a 125, you are very diligent, caring, and knowledgeable. You want to be ethical, helpful, and wise. You are very idealistic and see what needs to be done and the simple and effective ways to do it. You are intensely private but care about people. You seek practical systems and procedures to measure results and effectiveness.
Tritype® 126, 162, 216, 261, 612, 621-The Supporter
If you are a 126, you are diligent, caring, and inquisitive. You want to be ethical, helpful, and supportive. Highly responsible and cooperative, you are most comfortable when you do things ‘by the book’ and know what to expect. Focused on the needs and concerns of others, you seek ways to be of service. You enjoy being the power behind the throne.
Tritype® 127, 172, 217, 271, 712, 721-The Teacher
If you are a 127, you are diligent, caring, and innovative. You want to be ethical, empathetic, and inspired. Engaging, fun-loving, and outgoing, you want to be with people. You seek fun with a purpose, needing goals, and time to play and celebrate and enjoy life. You love discovering new things. You have the gift of being able to squeeze the boredom out of anything tedious.
Tritype® 135, 153, 315, 351, 513, 531-The Technical Expert
If you are a 135, you are diligent, focused, and knowledgeable. You want to be ethical, efficient, and, wise. Highly rational, you seek systems and procedures. Detail-oriented, you like mathematical concepts and finding ways to breakdown and understand complex material. You are very precise and good with exacting details that others find difficult to manage.
Tritype® 136, 163, 316, 361, 613, 631-The Taskmaster
If you are a 136, you are diligent, ambitious, and inquisitive. You want to be ethical, efficient, and dutiful. Highly industrious and responsible, you are focused on achievement. You feel obligated to be orderly and create a successful image as dictated by society. Most importantly, you focus on your duty and finding certainty.
Tritype® 137, 173, 317, 371, 713, 731-The Systems Builder
If you are a 137, you are diligent, ambitious, and innovative. You want to be ethical, efficient, and upbeat. You are self-motivated and want to achieve your goals in a positive and effective way. You want to do your best and want to look good doing it. You focus on success and seek ways to measure it.
Tritype® 145, 154, 415, 451, 514, 541-The Researcher
If you are a 145, you are diligent, intuitive, and knowledgeable. You want to be ethical, original, and wise. Highly intellectual, you are focused on what you perceive is correct and above reproach. Motivated to be informed, you are research-oriented. You seek and quote the opinions of experts to avoid being uncertain and seen as ignorant.
Tritype® 146, 164, 416, 461, 614, 641-The Philosopher
If you are a 146, you are diligent, intuitive, and inquisitive. You want to be ethical, original, and certain. Morally focused, you have strong emotions and are inclined to voice your feelings and intuitions. You care deeply and want to help others improve their lives and the expectations they have of themselves.
Tritype® 147, 174, 417, 471, 714, 741-The Visionary
If you are a 147, you are diligent, intuitive, and innovative. You want to be ethical, expressive, and positive. You are passionate and idealistic. You want to make a difference in the world and see the many possible approaches to different situations. Perfectionistic, you seek standards that improve lives.
Tritype® 258, 285, 528, 582, 825, 852-The Strategist
If you are a 258, you are caring, knowledgeable, and protective. You want to be helpful, wise, and straight- forward. Highly sensitive, you are an empathetic, intellectual ‘people’ person. You are both introverted and extroverted. At times you can be direct and easily move towards others and can ‘over' give or pull away to recharge.
Tritype® 259, 295, 529, 592, 925, 952-The Problem Solver
If you are a 259, you are caring, knowledgeable, and accepting. You want to be helpful, wise, and peaceful. You have a very shy, gentle, and reserved nature and tend to focus on what is harmonious. You need companionship and avoid feelings of loneliness by focusing on the needs and concerns of others. You can struggle with inaction when you feel overwhelmed.
Tritype® 268, 286, 628, 682, 826, 862-The Rescuer
If you are a 268, you are caring, supportive, and protective. You want to be helpful, engaging, and straightforward. By nature, you want to be in charge of your world and are attracted to the noble cause. You wish to shield others from harm and will challenge what is unjust. You want to know what the rules are in order to feel safe and to know when you can break them.
Tritype® 269, 296, 629, 692, 926, 962-The Good Samaritan
If you are a 269, you are caring, inquisitive, and accepting. You want to be helpful, supportive, and peaceful. You like people and want to find ways to engage with them. Your sense of pride comes from getting along with others and being of assistance. You are known for your easygoing and friendly disposition. You hate conflict and may struggle with being too passive.
Tritype® 278, 287, 728, 782, 827, 872-The Free Spirit
If you are a 278, you are caring, innovative, and protective. You want to be helpful, loving, and straightforward. You are assertive, funny, and outgoing. You like to use your charming and sunny disposition to create an upbeat, positive, and action-packed environment. You are also very nurturing to those in your circle of care.
Tritype® 279, 297, 729, 792, 927, 972-The Peacemaker
If you are a 279, you are caring, innovative, and accepting. You want to be helpful, upbeat, and peaceful. You are very kind and tend to see the best in others. You focus on easy and comfortable ways of relating. Very optimistic and positive, you hate any form of conflict or strife, and use your sense of humor to smooth out difficulties.
Tritype® 358, 385, 538, 583, 835, 853-The Solution Master
If you are a 358, you are ambitious, knowledgeable, and protective. You want to be efficient, wise, and straightforward. Tough-minded, you are good at studying a problem and finding both original and practical solutions others often miss. Highly tenacious, you work tirelessly until you find effective solutions and can prevail against adversity.
Tritype® 359, 395, 539, 593, 935, 953-The Thinker
If you are a 359, you are ambitious, knowledgeable, and accepting. You want to be efficient, wise, and peaceful. Intellectual and clever, you find amenable and pleasant ways to manage difficult situations and relationships. Often shy, you are very private and are slow to trust others. You need time to more fully reveal yourself. You are ambitious but seek admiration in a subtle manner.
Tritype® 368, 386, 638, 683, 836, 863-The Justice Fighter
If you are a 368, you are ambitious, inquisitive, and protective. You want to be accomplished, loyal, and straightforward. Verbally adept and a good reader of people and situations, you have the ability to identify unjust authority, rebel against tyranny and verbally spar against it. You want to get along with others but can struggle with being too direct and outspoken.
Tritype®369, 396, 639, 693, 936, 963-The Mediator
If you are a 369, you are ambitious, inquisitive, and accepting. You want to be successful, engaged, and peaceful. You seek peace, balance, and harmony. You want to know what is expected of you and will adjust your behavior to succeed. You need affirmation, reassurance, and a sense of wellbeing to feel connected to yourself and others.
Tritype® 378, 387, 738, 783, 837, 873-The Mover Shaker
If you are a 378, you are ambitious, innovative, and protective. You want to be efficient, happy, and straightforward. You are a dynamic go-getter, focused on the prize. An expansive powerhouse, you see the big picture and have the will to make it happen. You are a true entrepreneur and empire builder. Obstacles are seen as competitive challenges.
Tritype® 379, 397, 739, 793, 937, 973-The Ambassador
If you are a 379, you are ambitious, innovative, and accepting. You want to be focused, upbeat, and peaceful. You like people and are outgoing even if you are shy. You are easygoing and seek comfort but strive for success and a feeling of personal importance. You are identified with what you do and achieve but are diplomatic, friendly, and kind in your approach.
Tritype® 458, 485, 548, 584, 845, 854-The Scholar
If you are a 458, you are intuitive, knowledgeable, and protective. You want to be original, wise, and straightforward. You study what makes people tick and form strong opinions about what you learn. Somewhat introverted, you are identified with being an intuitive, strategic thinker. You see and focus on the interconnections that others often miss.
Tritype® 459, 495, 549, 594, 945, 954-The Contemplative
If you are a 459, you are intuitive, knowledgeable, and accepting. You want to be original, wise, and peaceful. Highly self-aware and reflective, you are very shy, reserved, and self-conscious. You need regular quiet time to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. Easily flooded with emotion, it is difficult for you to voice your ideas and feelings.
Tritype® 468, 486, 648, 684, 846, 864-The Truth Teller
If you are a 468, you are intuitive, inquisitive, and protective. You want to be original, certain, and straightforward. You are highly sensitive and emotional. You track inconsistencies and are like the ‘canary in the coal mine,’ calling off hidden agendas, deception, and ulterior motives. You are very intense and can, at times, be overly emotional and reactive.
Tritype® 469, 496, 649, 694, 946, 964-The Seeker
If you are a 469, you are intuitive, inquisitive, and accepting. You want to be original, certain, and peaceful. You are very sensitive and can easily feel reserved and inhibited. You struggle with intense feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty. As a result, you need multiple sources of confirmation. You want to be individualistic but can fear being separate from others so avoid confrontation.
Tritype®478, 487, 748, 784, 847, 874-The Messenger
If you are a 478, you are intuitive, innovative, and protective. You want to be original, creative, and straightforward. A cutting-edge tracker of both your internal and external worlds, you are an unconventional, passionate, and self-possessed master of solutions. Outwardly, you are confident with a sense of panache but inwardly, you are emotionally vulnerable.
Tritype® 479, 497, 749, 794, 947, 974-The Gentle Spirit
If you are a 479, you are intuitive, innovative, and accepting. You want to be original, positive, and peaceful. You are identified with the defense of optimism and tend to hide your painful feelings and pessimism for fear of being rejected. You see the wonder in beauty and are tenderhearted, lyrical, and idealistic. You are attracted to the healing arts.
©1995-2021 Katherine Chernick Fauvre: Originator of Tritype
Learn more about Tritype® here:
Tritype® Test Endorsements
Your Enneagram Tritype Test is a game-changer. I have been mistyped for 15 years. I finally know I am actually a 6 and not a 2, 5, or 7.
I follow all of Katherine’s work and am never disappointed. Her enneagramtritypetest.com is really good. Take v.6 so we can talk about it.
Yep, enneagramtritypetest.com is the best Enneagram Tritype test from the creator of Tritype.
I love all of the new features in the Enneagram Tritype Test. If only I had this 15 years ago.
As always, Katherine is innovative, progressive, and accurate so her new test is too. Check out enneagramtritypetest.com and www.katherinefauvre.com
I have seen you many times on YouTube. So, just for fun, I took your Enneagram Tritype Test. I learned the Enneagram in 2008 but I wasn’t sure about my Tritypes. 12 years later, I finally found my Tritypes with your test. I am having a wonderful time learning about my 4 in my tritype. You have spoken about the hidden sadness in the 478 tritype. Well, I am here to tell you it is true. I am the sad sexual 748 and my sadness doesn’t have to be a secret anymore. As you often say, we are just wired that way. I am so grateful for your inspired and caring work.
All of my clients and friends have typed accurately with the Enneagram Tritype Test. Thanks again, Katherine.
I took Katherine’s earlier test when she taught in Italy a few years ago. It was the best Enneagram test I had taken. But her enneagramtritypetest.com is even better. I have had everyone take it. It is so much fun to share it with friends.
You have the only enneagram test that identifies the Enneatype 6. I refer everyone to your link: enneagramtritypetest.com
Helping sixes know they are sixes takes years off of their search for their correct Enneagram type. I recommend your Enneagram Tritype Test to everyone.
I work in a shelter and use the enneagram to help people understand themselves. It is so important to get the right type because I have so little time with people. I missed typing a lot of 6s correctly because they looked like other types. Now I understand what you keep saying about the core fears and defense strategies. Thank you for your work. I have everyone take your enneagram tritype test even when they already know their type.
Catalina, enneagramtritypetest.com es Magnifico! Gracias!
Ya gotta Luv, Luv, Luv Katherine Fauvre’s tritype test at enneagramtritypetest.com. And her website www.katherinefauvre.com is packed with free information on the enneagram.
The most accurate Enneagram test is at enneagramtritypetest.com
I gulped when the Enneagram Tritype Test results said that I had the pattern of the Enneagram type 6. I reexamined my life and found that it is true. I don’t have long explanations about why I am an unusual 3 or a 4. No more gulping, I immediately made friends with my anxiety and feel more chilled out.
I am not the anxious 358. This excellent test noted a special pattern. enneagramtritypetest.com. I am the self-preserving 631. Want to talk about it?
I was shocked when Katherine Fauvre’s Enneagram Tritype Test pegged me as a 6. I wanted it to be wrong. Two days later, it was a relief. I feel more like myself than ever.
It is clear that Katherine Fauvre really cares about people and helping them accurately type. So I took her test at enneagramtritypetest.com and it was dead on!
We all took the enneagramtritypetest.com and were surprised that a test could identify the 6s. Bravo Katherine!
Katherine Fauvre’s Enneagram Tritype Test is remarkably accurate! She really is a personality expert. Just when I think I have learned everything about the Enneagram she teaches something new or deeper.
Thanks, Katherine, I love working with your Enneagram Tritype Test.
Watched Katherine Fauvre’s free Q&A in June. OMG, I get it now. My sister and I are both 6s with different Tritypes constantly doing the devil’s advocate, point, counter-point thing, and driving one another crazy.
-Forever Changed in Arizona
No way! I look the enneagramtritypetest.com last week and I am a type 6!!! I thought I was a 4 for 11 years (but did doubt it at times). In her virtual Q&As Katherine Fauvre has discussed how emotionally complex the 6s are and why they think they are 4s.
Wanting certainty about my enneagram type is finally over.
-New Type in New Mexico!
Katrines Enneagram Tritype Test is dope!
Katherine Fauvre’s enneagramtritypetest.com is magnificent. Both clients and friends like it. It is accurate too which reduces my stress.
I saw Katherine for the first time in Australia and have followed her work. It is always interesting to learn what the types feel at their core and why.
I have had several sessions with Katherine. Her new test at enneagramtritypetest.com is just so easy and accurate. You can also get her test with many links to her website, www.katherinefauvre.com. I am still learning what it all means by watching her Q&As on YouTube.
I appreciate how organized and accurate this test is. It uses pictures and is a proper test. enneagramtritypetest.com
We all love your new test at enneagramtritypetest.com. Our study group is having so many insights and breakthroughs.
You have really changed the course of the enneagram, Katherine. Your deep understanding of what goes on in the hearts and minds of the types is jaw-dropping. Your test at https://enneagramtritypetest.com is a true reflection of what you have learned.
The best test is Katherine’s Enneagram Tritype Test. It has everything not just your type.
its alright. i got a 278, and i think its pretty accurate, i also got 9 so ok. im an entp with high fe so i guess this is accurate?
Confirming of my suspicions and intriguing for more explorations
Well, the results of this tritype test both confirm many other test results I’ve received (tri-type of 9-7-2) as well as raise questions that keep coming up (like what exactly is my relationship to 6?). I’ve often had 9, 7, and 2 in the top three which just felt confusing since they are not connected in any way on the Ennea diagram, so this tritype idea really helps me make sense of it all. It makes so much sense that we would have an instinct/gut, head, and heart approach to the world. and the order makes so much sense to me too! I get a gut feeling, think it through logically, consider my emotions last (even though these are important to me, I definitely don’t let them rule). I’m looking forward to how the idea of the tritype will influence my thinking and learning of the enneagram.
this is very accurate for me
It was accurate but I feel like I’m more of a uh sp/sx
Right type, strange results
I was typed 782 which is the same tritype I had concluded on my own. But then it said my most likely enneacard was 6 or 9? Idgi. I don’t relate to 6 or 9 at all and neither of those came up in my tritype
Sample Enneagram Tritype® Test
How does this Tritype® Test Work?
This comprehensive and in-depth Enneagram Tritype® Test is free.
This test is based on 35 years of experience, 22 of Katherine’s Research Studies on the Enneagram, Tritype®, Instinctual Types and MBTI, and many other correlations. You can learn more about the Enneagram Types, Tritype® and Instinctual Subtypes at www.katherinefauvre.com.
The specific word choices on the Enneacards came from tens of thousands of research participants and thousands of qualitative interviews and In-depth Coaching Sessions.
How does it work?
Enneastyle Questionnaire: This is the open-ended testing instrument that led to all of the studies that followed, as it proved to accurately identify one’s self-image.
Make sure to answer all of the questions based on what has been true for you most of your life, most of the time… not who you could be, should be, want to be or have become.
It is critical that you answer as you are now and have always been, regardless of how much you have grown. Your Enneagram Type is the "you" from childhood to now... the you that has always been present.
You will receive several sets of 3 Enneacards and be asked to drag and drop the cards in the order of your first choice to your third choice.
If you notice that you have been given Enneacards that you have already seen, it is intentional. You are being served the Enneacards in a number of different ways. 😉 They are also the result of the Enneacards you have selected. They are being compared against your other choices.
Want to guess what someone's Tritype® might be?
Many people have asked me how to type someone they are no longer in contact with, like an old flame, friend, and, most importantly, a loved one that has passed away… You would be surprised at how close your answers might be.
Retake the test
Then, this time, imagine the person for whom you are taking the test. Answer as they would answer the questions. Then see if the results remind you of that person.
Why the Enneagram System?
- Honors personality diversity
- Recognizes 9 views of reality, all of which are inherently valid
- Identifies why you do what you do
- Helps you to develop critical self-awareness
- Improves your relationships with others
- Helps to build cohesive groups, families, and teams
- Develop compassion for others
- Is a greater catalyst for change than any other personality typology
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram (pronounced “any-a-gram”) is a personality system with roots in ancient Middle Eastern spiritual traditions. “Ennea” is the Greek word for nine, and “gram” means drawing or graph. The Enneagram symbol is a circle enclosing nine equidistant points connected by nine intersecting lines.
As we know it today, the Enneagram is a vital link between the psyche and the spirit. It is a complex and sophisticated conceptual system that is also a sensible and easily understood self-discovery tool. The nine points represent how the nine different personality types perceive and defend their realities.
The Enneagram types are distinguished from one another by unconscious motivations and preoccupations that produce patterns of perception, feeling, and behavior, which can be gifts or obstacles to the personality.
The nine points represent the ways in which the nine different personality types perceive and defend their realities. The Enneagram types are distinguished by unconscious motivations and preoccupations, which produce patterns of perception, feeling, and behavior, which can be gifts or obstacles to the personality.
The wisdom of the Enneagram is that it recognizes nine very different yet inherently valid views of reality. The power of the Enneagram is that it is a profound and comprehensive tool to harness and transform self-defeating behavior into life-enhancing personal empowerment. The gift of the Enneagram is that through self-discovery, one can create and sustain meaningful and lasting relationships.
The Enneagram is a useful tool in determining personal patterns of relating and in understanding differing styles of communicating. Through deeper insight, one can more fully understand one’s own communication style, as well as the styles of others.
With this knowledge, one can observe the core triggers that influence one’s ability to successfully respond to any given situation and avoid ineffectual, self-defeating reactivity. Ultimately, the Enneagram is an invaluable tool that defines nine distinct life strategies that, when understood, can give crucial insight into developing the self-awareness needed to create change.
Understanding the Enneagram
Many personality typologies identify important character traits, which in and of themselves are very instructive, but only the Enneagram identifies the specific core motivations and often unconscious unmet needs (real or imagined) that may cause the personality to go on red alert and react defensively.
The beauty of the Enneagram is that it is a very simple yet complex personality tool that is easily understood. This is due in part because each of the 9 types has a very specific way in which their view of the world is organized.
Once you recognize that your view of the world is along the same lines as one of the nine Enneagram Types, you can begin to examine the predictable ways you will react or respond to different situations. Then you can use the same considerations when determining your Tritype® Stacking and Instinctual Type and Subtype Stacking.
It is truly transformational to discover your Enneagram Type, Tritype® and Instinctual Type because once confirmed and understood, it is easy to pinpoint the moments and issues that will cause your defense strategies to go into overdrive.
With this knowledge, it is easy to recognize the very predictable defense patterns of the types. More importantly, with experience, you can discover your own personal triggers and track the ways in which your defense strategies work to protect you in times of stress.
Learning to recognize the micro movements, micro gestures and micro expressions that you use and those that signal the possibility of impending distress and potential conflict will give you the much needed time to intervene on your own behalf; long before you have become mired in frustrations or a fixed point of view.
Then you can begin the process of creating meaningful and lasting change.
History of the Enneagram and Tritype®
Note from Katherine: A student of many teachings
I have had the good fortune of learning directly from the first Enneagram teachers, including Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. I have also certified with Helen Palmer, David Daniels, Don Riso-Russ Hudson, and Kathleen Hurley-Ted Dobson (later Theodorre Donson) and know their work at a master level. In addition, I have conducted 22 completed research studies with tens of thousands of international participants, thousands of qualitative interviews, and In-depth Inquiry Coaching Sessions.
What I do know is that I am forever changed by having had the opportunity to meet and study with such amazing people and teachers. As a result of what I learned from them, I have developed a much more expanded, integrated view of the types, that is at the same time a much more focused way of seeing what causes the types to suffer and what supports them in releasing rigid beliefs, negative emotions, and habitual behaviors.
You could say that I now have a more detailed map as to what triggers the defense strategies and coping mechanisms of the Enneagram Types, Tritypes®, and Instinctual Types and Subtypes. And that the types themselves have taught me what is needed to quickly and radically help them to see, know, and feel for themselves the specific patterns and associations that can keep them mired in unnecessary suffering.
I write this now because I realize more and more that these divides are becoming larger and that many people are not aware of what came when and from whom and why. And, more importantly, how each of these missing pieces of information can help us to more fully love, understand, forgive, guide, and work with those we know and will encounter in the future.
This in no way negates the wonderful work that Enneagram teachers are providing. I just know that each teacher taught me aspects of the Enneagram the other teachers were not aware of and that many of these gifts modified my understanding of the types leading to a more compassionate understanding of the internal world of the Enneagram Types.
1st Dissemination of the Enneagram of Personality
The originator of The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality was created by Oscar Ichazo, a Bolivian spiritual seeker and mystic. He introduced his process of working with the Enneagram Instinctual Triads, Protoanalysis, Trialectics, and Dichotomies along with spiritual traditions to his students in Arica, Chile, in 1968.
Later, in July of 1970, he introduced the Enneagram and Protoanalysis as part of a 10-month spiritual training, which was also in Arica, Chile.
In April of 1971, after this initial dissemination of the Enneagram, Ichazo's students went on to create the Arica Spiritual School based on Ichazo's groundbreaking work.
Over the years, Ichazo added advanced concepts to his work, including his 40-day Training and his 2-week Domains of Consciousness Training. He also added tri-fix to his work, teaching students that they had 3 fixations circa 2005.
Originally, tri-fix referred to the three instinctual centers and that each center had a fixated view, a central question. In addition, he taught a 5-day intensive every five years with new information and materials on the Enneagram and spirituality.
2nd Dissemination of the Enneagram
Claudio Naranjo, MD: Creator of Instinctual Subtypes:
The Enneagram was further developed and transmitted by Dr. Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean Psychiatrist, and spiritual seeker.
Naranjo had been a student of Ichazo’s and attended his training in Arica, Chile, beginning in April of 1970. He also attended 5 months of the 10-month training in Chile that began July 1, 1970.
According to Naranjo, he had many conversations with Ichazo in 1970, discussing both the spiritual and psychological aspects of the Enneagram and the 9 types.
In 1971, after his time studying and collaborating with Ichazo in 1970, Naranjo went on to teach the Enneagram in confidential study groups he called SAT groups for "Seekers After Truth" in Berkeley, California. He continued these SAT groups for 18 months from 1971-1973. Over time, he added his own work, including the Instinctual Subtypes.
In 1973, Naranjo stopped teaching in the US, stating that he did so because other people were taking credit for his work and misstating some of his key teachings.
First Diverging Viewpoints
As a result, both Ichazo and Naranjo's Enneagram teachings grew into two separate schools of thought.
3rd Dissemination of the Enneagram
Father Robert Ochs: Catholic Pipeline:
Another variation in the dissemination of the Enneagram occurred when Father Robert Ochs, from Loyola University in Chicago, began teaching the Enneagram at Loyola.
While on sabbatical in 1971, Ochs attended Naranjo’s SAT (Seekers After Truth) groups in Berkeley, California. Naranjo then gave Ochs permission to teach the Enneagram, which he did. Ochs focused on teaching from the short notes he had taken regarding Naranjo's descriptions of the nine types. His notes ended up in the hands of many Enneagram enthusiasts because nothing was published about the Enneagram by Ichazo or Naranjo.
Ochs did not include the Instinctual Subtypes as part of his teachings because Naranjo had yet to fully develop his work with the Instinctual Subtypes. This is why those "East of the divide" (those that learned the Enneagram via Ochs) did not know about the Instinctual Subtypes.
Ochs did, however, mistakenly misquote Naranjo with respect to the movements between the types and their lines of connection. Naranjo taught and documented that integration and disintegration was an incomplete understanding to his teaching of the types and that the types move to "both lines of connection" as well as their "wing types" when integrating and when disintegrating.
What went wrong? Why does it matter?
Ochs continued to teach integration and disintegration as a formula for working with the type's fixation based on a false premise that the types move to one line of connection when integrating and to the other when disintegrating.
Those who studied with Ochs and went on to became teachers did the same. Over time, this error exponentially spread misinformation about the types, and according to Naranjo, led to many mistypings and misunderstandings of the richness of the types.
In 1996, Naranjo said that he was misquoted in 1971 regarding the movement of the types' lines of connection within the Enneagram symbol. He said that this error went around the world and negatively impacted the understanding of the inner workings of the nine Enneagram Types.
He went on to explain that he did explore an idea regarding the arrows one evening with his SAT group but immediately saw that it was not viable the same evening. He went on to say that this was because it was dialectic in nature and not Trialectic, which is what the Enneagram of Personality was based on.
Naranjo reiterated that he never taught that the Enneagram types move one direction in security/integration and the other in stress/disintegration, nor do they become another type. He stressed that such a view would negate the intrinsic dynamics of the Enneagram system because every type is constantly moving to both of its lines of connection and to both wing types at all times.
Katherine attended Naranjo's 1996 training in Boulder, Colorado, and so was present when he explained this misunderstanding to that group of attendees.
Naranjo also taught that integration/disintegration was an error in his SAT groups. In 1994, he documented it in his book Ennea-types and Psychotherapy, which was published in 1994, and on video in 2010 when he was teaching the Enneagram in Germany.
Ichazo never taught integration and disintegration to his students and aspirants either.
Confirmation that such a theory was not in Ichazo's teachings was confirmed in 2005 and again in 2019 by two teachers from Arica, Ichazo's Spiritual School. These teachers taught Ichazo's 40-day Training and his 2-week Domains of Consciousness Training, and other diverse workshops. One teacher, in particular, attended the 1970 training in Arica, Chile. So they are well acquainted with the history of Ichazo's work.
Katherine states that she personally met and conversed with them regarding Ichazo's work with the Enneagram of Personality the year she lived on Maui from November 2004 to December of 2005. This same year was when she attended Ichazo's 5-year Anniversary Intensive. To confirm important facts about Ichazo's dissemination of the Enneagram of Personality, she communicated with them again via email in 2019 and 2020.
The emergence of 3 schools of thought
Many people do not know that this inaccurate dissemination of the Enneagram occurred, so it still continues to circle the planet, and even more so due to the internet highway. The misquoting of such an important aspect of the Enneagram system changed the course of the Enneagram.
Hopefully, the misunderstanding will be corrected to include the Enneagram Types, the use of both lines of connection when stressed, and both lines when secure, via the same internet highway, which is why I include this information here.
Until that time comes, there are Enneagram students and teachers that were not taught Ichazo's tri-fix and others that were not taught Naranjo's subtypes as a part of their Enneagram training.
Because of these differences, three very distinct schools of thought on the Enneagram came into being.
4th Dissemination of the Enneagram: One school restored
Katherine Fauvre Research, Certifications, and Tritype®
1985, Katherine Chernick (Fauvre) was introduced to the Enneagram before there were any books written of the Enneagram.
In 1994, just after the Enneagram conference, she began her formal research on the Instinctual Subtypes.
After 10 years of studying the Enneagram and teaching it to her clients and groups, she then began her three certification courses.
In 1995-1996, she certified with 3 different Enneagram Schools; Palmer-Daniels, Riso-Hudson, and Hurley-Dobson. She teaches that she learned a great deal from each certification process and from every participant she met along the way.
While certifying in 1995, she continued with 3 of her of 22 Enneagram studies on diverse aspects of the Enneagram.
In 1994, while conducting hundreds of Enneagram Typing interviews, Katherine confirmed that participants used three Enneagram types and not just one and that these types appeared to be used in a specific order. She called this understanding both 3Types and TriCenter.
In April of 1996, after a 24 year absence, Claudio Naranjo taught the Enneagram for the first time since 1973. According to Naranjo, it was the first time he ever taught the Enneagram as a full intensive. Katherine had a chance to attend his 7-day Intensive in Boulder, Colorado.
She found Naranjo's course to be eye-opening and that it filled in many important gaps in her understanding of the Enneagram types. She learned a great many things about the types that had been lost in the dissemination of the Enneagram or were incorrectly assigned to another type.
These errors, great and small, altered the dissemination of the Enneagram. There were key errors and additions about the types as they were initially taught by Ichazo and Naranjo.
These differences made a great deal of sense to her. She had studied many personality typologies prior to learning the Enneagram. Katherine had also worked with thousands of people in her earlier career. In addition, she had studied a great deal about Chinese Faceology, archetypes, body language, micro-expressions, and MBTI before encountering the Enneagram.
By 1996, she had already conducted three qualitative studies on the 'internal experience' of the types and Instinctual Types and had written two books: Enneastyle: The 9 Languages of Enneagram Type and A Study of the Instinctual Subtypes. She had also researched and discovered the Idealized Images and Core Fears of the 9 Enneagram Types.
As a result of these studies, with over 1,000 study participants, she was able to confirm that each type moves to both lines of connection when secure, calm, and healthy, and when troubled, stressed, and unhealthy. This was true with participants that were correctly typed and true of those inaccurately typed as well. In fact, it was one way to see their "Truetype" (correct Enneagram type, Tritype®, and Instinctual type, and Subtype).
So, Naranjo's way of teaching validated what the types had said about themselves.
Later, in 2005, as mentioned above, while living on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands, she was able to attend Ichazo's 5-day intensive.
Since her first study in 1995, she continued to work with and to interview thousands of clients, continued to research, collect, and evaluate tens of thousands of study participants' test results, and correlated the test-taker's Enneastyle Questionnaire (EQ) with 7 other testing instruments within their Enneagram Tritype® Test results.
This knowledge has remained a cornerstone of her work regarding how to work with the Enneagram type passions, fixations, preoccupations, core fears, idealized self-images, coping mechanisms, and defense strategies.
1995 Research Findings
Validate both Ichazo's Tri-fix and Naranjo's Instinctual Subtypes
Her first research findings on the 'internal experience' of the nine types and three Instinctual types revealed many key distinctions and nuances of the types and led to the creation of what is now known as Tritype®.
What is noteworthy and of interest is that these studies validated and continue to validate Ichazo's tri-fix and Naranjo's subtypes, and in particular, the advanced theories they added after 1971.
Especially meaningful is that the initial studies and resulting findings of her 1995 research studies, Enneastyle, and the Instinctual Subtypes, were conducted and evaluated before she met Naranjo and had learned of his corrections and additions to the Enneagram and his subtypes before she knew of Ichazo's tri-fix.
This suggests that the fears, concerns, preoccupations, coping mechanisms, and defense strategies of the Enneagram Types, Tri-fixes, Tritypes®, Instinctual Types, and Subtypes can be observed and, with awareness, understood.
Therefore, Katherine feels that it is imperative that one combine Ichazo's and Naranjo’s later views on the Enneagram. In addition, it is also deeply enriching to add the views, fears, and concerns of the nine types as revealed by thousands of her study participants and her interviews with tens of thousands of test-takers.
Accurately Typing Oneself and Others
Katherine believes that combining all of these approaches makes it much easier to accurately type oneself and others. It also makes it easier to understand the 'internal experiences' of the types and the processes operating at the most primal and fundamental levels of the types' defense strategies.
With this knowledge, she feels one can create and sustain meaningful and lasting relationships.
Behavior vs Motivation
Pay attention to what is motivating your behavior and not the behavior itself. This is crucial to accurately type oneself. This is especially difficult for the Type 6 and a small number of 9s to do because their defense strategies are designed to track behavior rather than motivation.
©1995-2021 Katherine Chernick Fauvre: Originator of Tritype®
“Katherine's Enneagram expertise and instruction increased our team's ability to relate with another on a business level. Moreover, her teachings at the Federal Reserve Bank over the years helped me understand more about myself as a person, and I've taken her instruction with me well after I took her classes. Working with Katherine was a profound and important milestone in my life.”
April 14, 2011, hired Katherine more than once as a Business Consultant
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
Katherine is the most skilled and knowledgeable coach and teacher I've encountered. I have attended numerous training and find that her expertise, knowledge synthesis, and charismatic and compassionate delivery is exemplary in every way. I write this with the highest recommendation possible.
-Sterlin Mosley Ph.d
9 Types of Empaths
How do I find my type of Empathy?
©1995-2021 Katherine Chernick Fauvre: Originator of Tritype®
How do I find my Types of Empathy?
Enneagram and 9 Types of Empaths
A few thoughts on Empathy and Empaths… Katherine began researching the different ways in which people experience and express empathy in 1969. Her research has continued to suggest several different types of empathy. Katherine has found that it is helpful for people to understand how they experience and express empathy... to be able to increase their emotional intelligence and develop the compassion needed to create lasting change in their lives. Empaths are highly sensitive people but are not always emotionally mature people. So, developing one's capacity for empathy and sympathy is one of the greatest ways to enhance our emotional intelligence, personal growth, and create community.
Intuitive knowing and understanding
This type of empath has an intellectual understanding of what others are thinking and feeling. They recognize that others may be in distress and in need of assistance. They offer support by giving a logical approach to managing emotional states. They help others by mentally assessing what is needed.
The high side of this type of empathy is that they can deeply understand what others need, think and feel. They can be very wise. The low side is that they can use this understanding to manipulate others. Sociopaths can have this type of empathy and be devoid of any sympathy for the feelings of others.
This type of empath emotionally and physically feels what others are feeling. Emotional empaths feel what others feel as though they are their own feelings...
The high side of this type of empathy is that they can attune to others and can truly know what another is experiencing. They are identified with their depth of feeling. The low side of this type of empathy is when they can’t manage their own emotional states... and focus only on their own distressing emotions, often hysterically acting out their emotions. As a result, they can emotionally burn out and/or feel like emotional vampires to others.
This type of empath is very sensitive and may not know how empathetic they actually are. They feel empathy through bodily sensations without a connection to their deeper inner knowing or their emotions. These signals may be pleasant or extremely uncomfortable. When someone near them is in distress, they may experience the uncomfortable sensation without realizing what is causing them to be so irritable and uncomfortable.
The high side of this type of empathy is that they know through their physical sensations what is true in the moment regardless of what is being said or done. They know when something is off. They often offer advice and solutions to fix whatever may be causing distress to others.
The low side of this type of empathy is that they are easily overwhelmed by negative sensations and have trouble tolerating the distress of others. They can be hyper-focused on fixing or getting away from the person in distress rather than demonstrating care. To manage their emotional sensitivity, this type of empathy may shut down to the point of appearing calloused, cold, and indifferent.
This is our goal and requires emotional intelligence and maturity. This type of empath can read others. They see, know, feel, and sense what others are thinking and feeling. They understand the predicament of others and demonstrate care and concern through sounds, words, and gestures. They readily feel the emotion and may feel like crying but will contain their own emotional empathic response in service of others, and instead step in and offer assistance in the manner that it is needed.
Empathy appears to be inherited just as aggression and shyness are... which is why some people are naturally more empathic than others. We have a gene that may increase or decrease our innate capacity for empathy. We inherit our bandwidth for empathy, which is why some children feel pain when another child is hurt and cries while other children do not seem to be impacted.
Generally speaking, between 9-11 years of age, we have enough ego development to expand our empathy by understanding our impact on others. Ideally, with the right guidance, we can develop this type of empathy. But, even if we didn’t have the benevolent kindness of a guiding mentor, it is never too late to develop this capacity. We call this sensitivity with emotional maturity.
This type of empathy comes from having experiences. Some people might not be able to truly understand what another might be feeling and/or experiencing until they, too, have had the same experience. For example, they might feel sympathy for someone that lost their job... but if they also lose their own job, they might then move from having sympathy to having both sympathy and empathy. They now know on a personal level what it feels like to lose a job and have developed empathy for those that have lost their jobs.
This type of empath is often described as an ‘old soul’. With this, empathy, compassion, and understanding are always present even if their behaviors are immature or reactive. The spiritual empath does not need to have had the experience to know what another is feeling. This type of empathy is what motivates us to create bonds and build bridges of community.
Spiritual Empathy is what connects us to one another on a universal level. This is why we care and are impacted when we see or hear of the other's suffering. Charity is born out of this type of empathy. When we recognize that we are deeply interconnected to all things great and small, we engage with and wish to support the needs and concerns of others. This is why we can feel moved to help a total stranger that is in distress.
Shutting down Empathy:
We all have empathy but in varying degrees. With empathy, we are able to put ourselves in another’s shoes, understand what is needed at any moment in time, and make informed decisions. Because empathy gives us the ability to know what others are thinking and feeling, it improves our decision-making processes.
However, there are times when the ego shuts down empathy due to empathy overload. This may be for a few seconds or much longer.
This is necessary for us to do in order to manage the adrenaline that comes from overwhelming distress. The defense system manages this distress by disassociating from the overwhelm of the empathetic feelings. It is usually immediate but temporary. It gives us the time needed to recognize solutions and take the appropriate action for a problem. This is needed because we are unable to make informed decisions when we are in a highly emotional state. Once we have a potential solution to a problem, we usually return to our natural empathetic style.
When and why do we shut down?
When we are hurt and/or in an argument with someone, we often shut down our empathy to manage the pain we are feeling, whether it is real or imagined. This is when we might say or do something we regret. Later, when our emotional states are no longer in overdrive, we can restore a sense of calm and apologize.
In order for the species to survive, people will have some degree of empathy, even if it is a tiny amount. Someone with a small amount of empathy might use it to manipulate and take advantage of others to increase their chances for survival. Others with greater amounts of empathy might instead use their empathy to help others survive in addition to their own survival.
Regardless of the level of empathy, we all need to be able to shut down our empathy at times in order to survive. If we did not have the ability to shut down our empathy, we would also not be able to survive as a species. I see this as a biological imperative.
Empathy shutdown can last a few seconds, or in extreme situations, last a lot longer depending on the intensity of the distress, the duration of the distress, and/or what values one has been taught or both.
If we were in full empathic resonance with others at all times, we would never be able to kill to eat or protect ourselves or those we care about from life-threatening danger. For example, soldiers need to be trained to shut down their empathy in order to be able to kill. They are taught to demonize the enemy and act with prejudice in order to survive going against the enemy.
The empath with a high level of empathy has a greater capacity to understand the suffering of others. However, when one understands the suffering of others, they, in turn, will suffer until they learn to manage their empathy and turn it into sympathy.
Being hurt or seeing someone else being hurt is extremely painful and upsetting for the empath with a moderate to a higher level of empathy. But even then, an empath with a high level of empathy may shut down their emotional empathy if they are repeatedly harmed or humiliated or need to protect someone else from the same. This type of wounding creates deep scars in the empath’s psyche, but with emotional support, this indifference can be healed, and the innate caring and compassion of the empath may re-emerge.
The Enneagram is a powerful tool for building bridges and understanding ourselves and others in a deep and profound way. It an ancient symbol of unity, diversity, change, and transformation. The building blocks for a supportive community can be found in the innate ways the 9 types demonstrate empathy. This is due to the fact that empathy is the way we connect to one another.
There are 9 types of empathy and 7 levels of empathy. There are also 9 Enneagram types, each of which expresses and experiences empathy in a very specific manner. Understanding the 9 diverse ways the 9 types express empathy helps us understand the ways in which others may be demonstrating compassion and consideration.
We can appreciate the diverse ways others may show us compassion and consideration. This is key as each type demonstrates empathy according to the needs and concerns of their own Enneagram type. We can miss the signals of empathy that other types are demonstrating, simply not know how to read the other type's style, and often feel let down when their way is foreign to us. So, for example, a 5 will demonstrate empathy by sharing the knowledge that they have acquired to be of assistance.
To create and sustain meaningful relationships, we need to develop our emotional intelligence and sense of personal empowerment. To feel empowered, it is essential that we be critically self-aware; recognize our values, goals, and skills, and our impact on others.
When we discover our style of expressing empathy, we can make sense of our world and the struggles we face in a new way. Empathy connects us to one another and gives us the compassion needed to build a community that honors and appreciates diversity.
©1995-2021 Katherine Chernick Fauvre: Originator of Tritype®
Learn more about Tritype® here: