This remarkable tool goes back to multiple ancient sources including Sufi wisdom from around 200 BCE. They observed that every human emanates energy from one of nine personality types. At first this wisdom of the Enneagram was passed by an oral tradition. In the past century various people became acquainted with it and began to study and write about it. Today the psychotherapeutic community is discovering that the use of this tool catapults the work of psychotherapists, life coaches, business coaches, and anyone seeking greater spiritual and emotional maturity.
Most other personality systems such as the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) are based on the research of the brilliant Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung (1875-1961). Myers-Briggs is an excellent system which has been used widely among the industries of health care, education, and social services. Now businesses of all types use this tool to help their employees communicate more effectively so as to bring about greater productivity in the workplace.
Since Myers-Briggs is based on behavior, it is typical that your particular personality type today may be different from what it was 10 years ago, or from what it may be 5-10 years from now. Our behavioral patterns change as we go through life.
With the Enneagram, your type stays constant throughout your life. Your behavior will change over the years, but your core motivational energy remains the same. What changes is how you choose to express that motivational energy. Typically a person will vacillate from unhealthy, average, and healthy expressions over the years.
As you grow into a more evolved human being, it is appropriate and encouraged that you be comfortable with the energies of the other types. This is a sign of maturity. The Enneagram charts the movement of growth in these other areas.
Paul has studied the Enneagram since 1984 and taught it since 2003. This tool helped him to identify which of his behavior patterns were destructive and which were gifts in the rough which would mature over time. After mastering the energy of his own type, his study led him to delve into the energies of the other types.
Paul Paiva is a former Roman Catholic priest who has served four years on the board of directors of the Colorado Chapter of the International Enneagram Association (IEA) and is presently an associate board member.