This week on the Velvet’s Edge Podcast, I talked again with licensed therapist and Enneagram expert Katie Gustafson, about the subtypes and wings of the Enneagram. So, if you are thinking: “wait, I have figured out my Enneagram type, now what in the world are subtypes and wings?!”- I get it. The Enneagram is one of the most helpful tools I have found in understanding myself and others in life, work and relationship, but it is complex and confusing at first. My advice to all would be to take it step by step, at your own pace, and understand that there will probably always be some deeper layer to uncover with this stuff, and that is totally ok!
Let’s start with the basics:
What is the Enneagram?
Known as a personality typing system-there are nine core types.. Each of the nine types sees the world very differently. No one type is best or worst- it’s just your type. You can be the same type as somebody and be a different person, where the subtypes start playing a major role (more on that below). People also often mistakenly identify with a type they aren’t. Understanding your type can be very transformative! In yourself, relationships, etc.
A great place to start for understanding the Enneagram is listening to my previous episode with Katie here!
So, now let’s talk about subtypes; each core Enneagram type has three subtypes- so 27 types total.
The three subtypes are described as…
Self-Preservation Subtype: Are concerned with: having enough resources, avoiding danger, having security and safety – this can be material as well, it can be focused on temperature, shopping, decorating, and other physical needs. Tend to be more grounded, practical, and serious.
Social: Are concerned with: belonging, recognition, relationships as they relate to social groups, having a group to support them, focus on how much power they have in the group, aware of how their attitudes affect everyone else, want personal connections – staying in contact and reaching out to be involved with one another.
One-to-one (sexual) – all three subtypes desire intimate relationships, but just for different reasons, are concerned with: Intense drive for intimacy, constant awareness of the “chemistry” between them and another person, quickly know if there is an attraction or lack thereof, most energized of the two subtypes, more competitive, aggressive, charged, and emotionally intense when compared to the other two subtypes, they need deep relationships to be satisfied.
In this episode, Katie and I also talked about Enneagram wings.
The wings are the Enneagram style numbers of either side of our core Enneagram style. Wings can be seen in this pattern on the Enneagram symbol, and this is one of many ways the Enneagram symbol becomes a map of self-understanding and growth. Most Enneagram teachers agree that wings exist and that wings add potential characteristics to our core Enneagram style. Wings do not change your core motivational or character structure, but they explain why two individuals of the same style behave slightly differently.
Below is Katie’s recommendation for finding your own type and the test that I took to determine that I am a 4 on the Enneagram!