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Enneagram Subtypes

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Each Enneagram style has three instinctual subtypes that influence people's experience of their dominant personality style. Learning about subtypes is especially useful for discovering what further motivates people within their core Enneagram style. Knowing about subtypes will also help you resolve common mistypings and clarify the confusing variety of expressions that can occur among people with the same Enneagram style.
This audio series, taken from an Enneagram subtypes workshop, is suitable for beginners as well as advanced Enneagram students. It offers a comprehensive look at the Enneagram's subtypes with a special emphasis on their positive attributes. The series is edited to preserve the vivid atmosphere of a live workshop and includes panels of exemplars who share their reactions to Tom's penetrating descriptions.

A Review of Enneagram Subtypes
by Courtney Behm
From the Enneagram Monthly

As readers of the Enneagram Monthly are aware from the recent series of articles by Peter O'Hanrahan, the Enneagram instinctual subtypes are a powerful influence on the ways the Enneagram manifests in the world. It is even said that people of different Enneagram styles who share the same subtype are more like one another than people who share the same style but have a different subtype. Now that more attention is being paid to in-depth study of subtypes, we are discovering how significantly they impact our daily lives, and how we can work with this subtype energy to grow and change.

Tom Condon's recently released "Enneagram Subtypes" audio series is a welcome addition to this body of information, particularly for those of us with little time to read who need to get our information while we're driving to our next appointment! Available in both CD and digital form, "Enneagram Subtypes" was recorded live at a subtypes workshop, and includes lecture, discussion and panel narratives from representatives of the types. As a result, listening to it is an entertaining as well as an enlightening experience.

Each section starts with a brief overview of the central strategy of the Enneagram style, and the ways in which this strategy is channeled through the instinctual energy of the subtype. Using anecdotes and examples, generously laced with humor and wit, Condon describes the differences between the Intimate (One-to-One), Social, and Self-Preserving instincts, and the behaviors that each produces within a particular style. Then, using volunteers from the workshop attendees, he forms panels of each type, and facilitates a lively explorative discussion that not only teaches us more about subtypes, but also illustrates an inquiry process we can use on ourselves to better understand our own instinctual responses.

Condon's extensive experience with Ericksonian hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) enables him to provide us with a slightly different context for our Enneagram subtype explorations. For Condon, the Enneagram style is a kind of trance, which incorporates our innate temperament and our personal history, our instinctual preferences, and the various sensory modalities through which we receive and process information. We become "caught" by this trance, and must learn to recognize its parameters and engage it directly in order to free ourselves to be fully who we are. Thus a particular Enneagram type becomes, from Condon's point of view, a dynamic process, not a "thing." This context for personality holds out infinite opportunities for graceful transformation. After all, whether suddenly or gently, we can be awakened from a trance. But if we believe that our type is a more rigidly-defined construct, then we begin to view personal growth as hard work, and this appearance of difficulty may add unnecessary struggle to our development of a new consciousness. Throughout this audio series, we are given an opportunity to realize that our personality is like a psychological nationality; it is something we DO, rather than something we ARE. And though we carry our personality with us wherever we travel, we can learn the customs of the countries we visit, and adopt the ones that serve us.

One of the most enlightening aspects of "Enneagram Subtypes" is the opportunity to experience the different energies of the subtypes as expressed within and across type. One of the most striking examples came during the Eight panel, when one of the Eights on the panel was not exhibiting the traditional big, take-charge energy the audience associated with Eight. Though he himself was comfortable with his self-identification, recounting significant evidence to support the central strategy of Eight, including the mounting and winning of a 2-year lawsuit to right a personal and political injustice, and though he asserted that he was "not always right, but never unsure," his energy was measured and deliberate, almost low-key. His wife was also a participant, and he occasionally solicited her corroboration of his Eightish forcefulness (though he laughingly said he still had a hard time believing he was THAT forceful), but still, he did not seem fit the common stereotype. It was fascinating to hear the questioning process that the participants went through with this panelist as they processed the differences they perceived, and finally came to the understanding that, as Condon said, what they were seeing was "a Social Eight with a Nine wing and really good manners!" It was a welcome reminder to always leave room for the unexpected, and a clear example of the difference in affect that can result from a Social subtype orientation.

If I have any disappointment in this audio series, it's that I wasn't able to be there in person to join the fun. When you are presented with an opportunity to experience one of Tom Condon's workshops first-hand, take it! And add "Enneagram Subtypes" to your library. I've already listened to many of the CD's a second time, and will long appreciate the wealth of information this series provides.

"Enneagram Subtypes" is designed to meet the needs of a wide audience, from people just learning about the Enneagram to more advanced students wanting to enrich their understanding of Enneagram type by incorporating information on the instinctual subtypes.

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