Podcast – Episode 0385 – Combining Enneagram And Myers-Briggs® (with Dr. Beatrice Chestnut)

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia chat with enneagram expert Dr. Beatrice Chestnut about her experience with Myers-Briggs® at the Personality Hacker Profiler Training live event.

 

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In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Guest host Dr. Beatrice Chestnut joins.
  • Beatrice’s experiences as an Enneagram expert diving deeper into Myers-Briggs® at our Profiler Training  live event.
  • How does Beatrice initially think the two systems may correspond?
  • The complexities of matching up the two systems – and why this isn’t simply a 1-1 correlation.
  • What was it like for Beatrice to be profiled live on stage?
  • The additional insight Beatrice gained through understanding her Myers-Briggs® type at a deeper level.
  • What are some more challenges of merging the two systems?
  • How do some of the enneagram types initially seem to match up with the cognitive function descriptions?
  • The correspondences Joel and Antonia have found between their Myers-Briggs® and Enneagram types. 
  • Why is it possible that the two systems match up more closely in their “prescription” than in their “description”?
  • How the instinctual variations of the Enneagram types bring additional nuance.
  • Diving deeper into how the systems align – plus how the functions lower in our stack could align with our Enneagram type.
  • A note on finding growth paths – the power of discovering your type in both systems.
  • Find Dr. Beatrice Chestnut at https://cpenneagram.com

 

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Showing 27 comments
  • Mommy
    Reply

    The correlations between MBTI and the Enneagram are well-known and well-studied. The reality is that many people mis-type in the Enneagram. Women want to be 2’s, men want to be 8’s, etc. See https://www.typologycentral.com/wiki/index.php/Enneagram_and_MBTI_Correlation
    and many other sources.
    From listening to the podcast, I would surmise that Beatrice may actually be a self-pres 6 rather than a 2, and Uranio a social 7 rather than a social 5. 2’s are rarely Perceivers and 5’s VERY rarely Extroverts.

  • Leslie
    Reply

    Hi a friend of mine is Enneagram certified by Beatrice’s program and so we’ve geeked out together a lot around that. Someone sent me your podcast recently and now I’m doing the same over this personality profiling and want to take the next training you offer. 🙂

    Anyway.. for research’s sake.. my friend is a 7 so/sx and an ENFP. I’m a 5 sx/sp and an INTP (although I’ve tested INTJ as well in the past).

    I know two other female 5’s .. one is INTP and the other is INTJ. My Enneagram 5 group on FB took an informal poll and there were more INTx than any other Myers-Briggs types.

    Another mutual friend is 8 sx/so and an ENTJ.

    My partner is a 9 so/sp and an ESFJ.

    Love the dynamics of both systems and think if there was a way to combine them that would be amazing… but appreciate them independently as is.

  • CC
    Reply

    I’m very wary of trying to tie up mbti and enneagram because I believe we’re only going to perpetuate the stereotypes rather than to fully embrace the nuance of the 27 subtypes, sequencing, wings, level of awareness etc.

    For instance, how do you explain that I am a SO8/INFJ? And, the most famous example of a SO8/INFJ is MLK, and some would say Mother Teresa as well. I find in my experience, it is actually quite often the case that SO8 can be INFJ or ENFJ – with dominant introverted intuition or extroverted feeling – as an 8. Which does not seem to be mentioned on this podcast. So, unless you are very careful and begin to incorporate the effect of countertypes and instincts into the equation, I think this will be a recipe for a lot of misinformation.

    Truthfully, I have already had clients walk away from these tools because they have read too much of this kind of bias. I appreciate the high level conversation but it really can be damaging to the Integrity of both tools. i have been trying very hard to teach people that the stereotyping is harmful, and not to believe what they read, but I’m thinking if we now try to put everyone back into a box, I may need to throw both systems away.

  • Sue Lamb
    Reply

    I always come out as a 5 any time I have done the Enneagram over my 63 years. I definitely agree with the Ni discussion as related to “5s or 7s”. I am an IFJ and yes, my Ti 10-year-old DOES follow the observations Antonia has made. It’s cool to have already become sure of both my MBTI and Enneagram profiles, and to now be part of this discussion without worrying that I am superimposing a preferred profile I am hoping to be. I appreciate both Personality Hacker and my exciting new resource in Ms. Chestnut! I have to wonder if that name, and the metaphors often associated with it aren’t perhaps an interesting synchrony?

    Sue

    • Susan Lamb
      Reply

      Dr. Chestnut, that is! No disrespect intended. I am exploring her site, and appreciate the lead to another practitioner who is, as you said Joel, doing this as an approach to personal development.

  • Melissa
    Reply

    I loved listening in on this conversation. Thanks for the podcast! Personally I have found the Enneagram to be more of a prescriptive tool and Myers Briggs to be more descriptive. (Maybe because of my particular combination?) But I love the idea of how the cognitive functions can add nuance to the virtue of the Enneagram. 

    I think my best fit type in these systems is INFJ type 9 SX/SO subtype. If I’m in a funk, it usually comes down to my actions not reflecting my priorities. 

    I’m either taking action that feels productive but doesn’t create measurable results (in the form of preparation! And research!)

    Or I’m taking actions that I think will please other people, but have nothing to do with my desires or goals. The quote: “I’m not who I think I am. Nor am I who you think I am. But I am who I think you think I am.” rings painfully true. 

    Is the first a Ni/Ti loop and the second a boundary issue with FE? 

    You have given me much to ponder. Thanks again. 🙂

    • William (ISFJ)
      Reply

      Hello Melissa,

      This answer to your question is one from someone who is somewhat knowledgeable, but by no means an expert, on both models, so please take this as one person’s perspective rather than actual fact.

      As for whether the first is a Ni/Ti loop, I personally don’t think so. I would say that it is probably because of the placement of your Fi function in your stack. ISFJs such as myself have Fi as the 6th function as well as INFJs like you, and I have heard from other ISFJs that prioritizing can be difficult, because they are somewhat lacking in both the Te quality of prioritizing by “Effectiveness” and the Fi quality of prioritizing by “Authenticity.” I struggle with this myself. Would you say that you would find “measurable results” if you took the time to figure out what just feels right to you as a person, and then took that and found the most effective way to bring that about?

      As for whether or not the second is a boundary issue with Fe, I would agree. As an ISFJ, who also uses “Harmony” as a co-pilot, I certainly struggle with basically the same thing. I’ve never heard that quote before, but it does really click with some of places I let myself fall into. I would also say that it probably has to do a bit with your Enneagram type. One big motivator to people with the 9 type tends to be getting in harmony with the world around them. This sometimes results in an issue of being too much of a people-pleaser. This is one of those things that they mentioned in the podcast; often, the stuff that would be helpful to work on based on your Enneagram fits somewhere in your Myers-Briggs type. I would say that this is one of those.

      Personality Hacker has a lot of info on setting boundaries for different types, especially IxFJs. If you’re interested, I’d recommend checking some of it out!

      I’m going to restate what I said at the beginning: this is 1) from someone who is not an expert authority on this topic, and 2) from someone who can’t completely know where you’re coming from. I hope I was helpful, but if I wasn’t, please feel free to pass over anything that doesn’t seem to click.

      Sincerely,
      William

      • Melissa
        Reply

        Hi William,

        Thanks for taking the time to respond.

        You may be right about the Fi position on the function stack being a factor. I will say my priorities are pretty clear. It’s rare that I do not know what I want because I straight up LOVE journaling, planning and goal setting. But I definitely find myself gummed up on execution.

        I once read that perfectionism is for scared people and people pleasing is for liars. Ouch.
        It’s true. I’m perfectionistic because I am afraid of other people’s judgement, or inadvertently hurting someone (and the subsequent emotional beatdown I give myself afterwards.) I try to please other people because nothing feels ickier to me than feeling inconsiderate, often at the expense of being honest. Those both sound like underdeveloped “Authenticity” issues to me. They also sound like Enneagram 9 issues. But I have met a couple of people who consider themselves to be INFP Enneagram 9s, so perhaps that’s where nuance comes in.

        Thanks again, an outside (considerate! lol) perspective is always appreciated.

  • Matt
    Reply

    This was a good episode and a good way to introduce people to the enneagram, but I think it really did only touch on the surface regarding the actual enneagram’s ability to tie into type. I’ve commented on a few other comments about the wings and the positive and negative growth influences, but those really do play a key as well when you are looking at your enneagram and comparing to your MBTI.

    For example, I am an INFJ and I am also a 5 with a dominant 4 wing. I also can drift into using the other wing, which is a 6, but I really struggle with it. When I am being growth oriented, I can look a little more like an 8, but I will always have a 5 to influence what I do as my core. When I am struggling, I will look more like a 7, but still have a 5 influence to it.

    It sounds like a lot of numbers to remember, but it also gets you more comfortable as to why a majority of you is over on one number while some of your other traits are on another number in most cases.

    Instead of thinking of the enneagram as a single number, think of it more as a combination lock. Multiple numbers that will be used to unlock that thinking pattern a bit more.

    Great episode and looking forward to hearing more about what you are planning to do next!

  • Alisha Mitchell
    Reply

    I’ve been thinking about and have had some other things I wanted to ask/mention:

    1) I love how you guys called it “alchemical”– I was sort of imagining explaining how it works to someone, and realized that it’s like potentially “wrong way” it could look would be container of M&Ms and Skittles. As a whole, it can look the same (like a person’s personality), but that if you looked deeply, you could sort them out. You could look at each piece and say “This is because of my Enneagram type” and “This is because of my MBTI type”, like you could go “This is a skittle” and “This is an M&M.”
    There might be a couple of things like that, but I think for the most part the personality nodes that influence us actually mix, amplify, and/or lessen each other.
    It feels a bit obvious, but I liked having something of a metaphor for it.

    2) It might not be a huge correlation, but I was wondering if Ti and Fi have any impact on what typology most people are drawn to.
    It would seem like MBTI is very Ti/Fe– MBTI focuses on a more “technical” side of our personality–literally “cognitive functions” and “brain wiring”, which to some extent we’ve been able to get evidence for. A lot of the external actions involve getting functional needs met, and it almost feels like the path to growth is to be a good caretaker to yours (and others’) functions: Making sure you’re giving enough attention to your Dominant function, maturing your Co-Pilot, leaving space/appreciating your 7th/8th functions, etc.

    The Enneagram, on the other hand, seems to focus on the emotional/evaluative parts of our personality. It focuses on our deepest desires, fears, and motivations and how it affects the way we see the world, which generally feels more Introverted Feeling. From what I understand, the method of growth is integration–incorporating the positive aspects from the other types with the ultimate goal (that may or may not be attainable) of taking on the positive aspects of all nine types.

    This definitely isn’t concrete, and I can definitely have a bias — I like the Enneagram, but it went to the back-burner to MBTI. Now, I’m thinking that it could have something to do with needing to develop Ni and Fe (which I naturally value) vs integrating to type 3, which I don’t care much for (which could have something to do with 7th-function Te).
    I figured it could be a good discussion, though.

  • Julia
    Reply

    I really do hope you keep pursuing a map or other model of how the MBTI & Ennegram can work together for personal growth. I have been quite interested in the Ennegram since first hearing one of your earlier podcasts about it, but I struggle to figure out where I fit in it. I think some of the ideas you discussed in this podcast could help with that as they get further fleshed out and ground truthed.

    I have gotten pretty confident in my ISTP type being the right one as I have learned more about how the cognitive functions work. Initially I tested as a couple different types when I ran through several online tests and felt like a couple of the different descriptions fit different aspects of my life but viewing it from the car model perspective and how the different cognitive functions work in the different positions, I have come to see how does fit ISTP me and how I judge and perceive the world as well as how my tertiary and inferior functions fits into the puzzle as well (and even the 5th through 8th functions too). It explains quite a lot.

    The Ennegram has given me a lot more trouble figuring out what my best fit type might be even though I have read through a number of books on it including Dr. Chestnut’s big one (the Complete Ennegram). I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how the system itself works, at least from an amateur’s perspective but still am not sure what type I actually am. I had been wanting to try out the Ennegram Roadmap course you offer but think that may be a little premature right now as I am not sure more material on the system will be all that useful for personal growth when I am still not sure what my starting point is.

    It may be the descriptions of the types that are hanging me up, which is where I am thinking that some way to tie them to the cognitive functions would be handy. Not in a one to one fashion of saying that if you use these functions in these positions you are most likely this Ennegram type…I agree that this would be a much too superficial way of looking at both systems and would be unlikely to have a good correlation. But perhaps a way as you were suggesting to check via growth paths or aspects that are common to both systems that you are at least on the right track figuring out a best fit type. Given the emphasis that Ennegram puts on childhood trauma/wounding for developing your personality and that even with the same MBTI stacks. different Ennegram types are very likely to evolve due to the infinite number of different personal experiences everyone has but I would be very interested to see what sort of patterns are more likely to evolve.

    Josette mentioned an idea that cognitive loops might be something that informs ones coping skills which seems like it could play a big role in developing ones Ennegram type and that seems like it could be a very good potential entry point to tying the systems together.

    So far, I do think I likely am probably a self-preservation variant of whichever type I am as that piece did resonate. I am also pretty confident that I am not one of the heart types. A five or seven seem the most likely matches though I can also see aspects of the 8, 1 & 6 in me at times as well. I know most of the material says that there are at least some aspects of each type in all of us but they also say people don’t change types through life and one of them is suppose to resonate a lot more strongly with you than the others do.

    Being an Ti primary with a Ni tertiary an Ennegram 5 seems like the most obvious choice as the its description is very much the stereotypical introverted thinker type and also strongly has the introverted intuition getting stuck in your head aspect to it as well. While, I do resonate with the need to conserve a finite energy store by avoid social interactions and commitments that I know will suck resources away, there are a number of the other parts of the 5 type that don’t fit as well. If the Ennegram type 7 was not so strongly written for extroverts I would easily say it was the right fit for me. The physical parts of the type, wanting a lot of new and different sensory experiences and the freedom to go out and do things when I want to without being tied to commitments of others all resonate very strongly. Though the extroverted social interaction pieces don’t fit at all which are the core of most 7 type descriptions.

    For the other maybe types. The not wanting to be vulnerable part of the 8 definitely fits me though not necessarily the most common ways that the 8 is described as trying to accomplish that. The perfectionism streak of the 1 makes me consider that type as well though as I learn more about being an ISTP, I think it is probably more a matter of equating competence to having value and a taught trait more than an inherent one. That just being competent isn’t enough, you need to be the best at something or at least extremely competent at it to gain worth from that skill. The 6 aspects of problem solving and contingency planning (figuring out where things might fail so you can respond to them when they do) is probably either a wing of either the 5 or 7, a Ni ten year old tendency or likely both.

    So testing out the primary/tertiary cognitive loop (Ti & Ni for me) may inform your Ennegram type theory and that the path of growth for both systems can end up being the same then maybe 5 is the right answer. The times when I do get stuck in a Ti/Ni loop is when I do most resemble the Ennegram type 5 description and my MBTI path of growth is to use Se more which definitely resembles the parts of 7 I most identify with and 7 is suppose to be the growth path for 5, at least the way that Dr. Chestnut describes with integration/disintegration arrows of the Ennegram (which makes the most sense to me of the various explanations of the system that I have read). It also would make sense that I would stumbled on some of the weaknesses/limitations of the type 7 along the way too…that even though it is suppose to be the path of growth, I wouldn’t have necessarily always defaulted to the higher levels of the type. Also, with 8 being the other point connected to 5, the desire to avoid vulnerability especially when stressed or feeling uncertain of myself or my place in a group would make sense. It is interestingly, most often triggered by Fe (my inferior function) related things and probably also made worse at time by trying to over use Ni (tertiary) techniques to understand and do better at Fe things without as much say from my primary & secondary functions as I should be applying.

    • Matt
      Reply

      As someone who is a 5w4 and an INFJ, I can say this: The 7 and 8 is what they usually call the “unhealthy” or “healthy” side of the 5, or the “regression” and “progression” side. In all things, I am always going to drift to the analytical, but in order to be more growth oriented, it is going to look more like an 8. If I am being more pessimistic, then I am going to be more like a 7. This doesn’t mean that I am those numbers, but I will have characteristics of those said numbers.

      You also have to look at the wings (w) that tell you what else can influence you. A 5 will have a 4 and a 6 influence their behavior. You’ll often see that you can drift from wing to wing, but in general people have a dominant wing and a weaker wing.

      All in all, it can get complicated, but as long as you get the base of your number down (what is your core motivation), then you can find the outlying systems later.

      • Julia
        Reply

        It is actually the base number that is giving me trouble figuring out. The complexities of how the wings and instinctual variants are suppose to work make theoretical sense to me, but as far as which of my various motivations is the core or most predominant driver I am not sure. There are aspects of the 5, 7, 8 & 1 that all ring very true and other key pieces that don’t and are contradictory to that type and not in a pattern that the wings or instinctual variants can account for that I can see. It seems rather situational for me which type tendencies/hang-ups I favor as coping strategies. I suppose the system still does have have very useful lessons for the individual tendencies I can grab from the various parts of the types I identify with even if the whole map for growth part is less useful without being able to find the ‘you are here’ pin.

        • Matt
          Reply

          Well, that is the thing. 5 has a 7 and an 8 mixed in there as well and people will often misidentify as a 1 or a 9 often.

          I think the best way to look at it is what is your base fear and motivation? If you can identify with the core fears and motivations of a certain number, you are that number plus a wing. You won’t identify with it all (I am a social 5 and I have a lot of 4 traits to me as well as 6), but you want to find that one thing that just sort of clicks.

          • Julia

            Looking at it from the core fears and motivations perspective, 7 is likely the best match with an 8 wing and a few 6 traits too. All the descriptions that presume 7s are extroverts and very social make that hard to see though. I think, though if someone did a ‘here is what a quieter introverted 7 would look like’ description it would fit me pretty well. I do find I spend a lot of time in a more 5 like space, especially since the pandemic turned my work life to all virtual and a move right before it means I don’t know anyone locally, so more situational than the option I would chose for operating all the time.

  • Danielle
    Reply

    Fascinating podcast! I loved hearing all of the ideas thrown around. I thought I’d add in some of my thoughts too, although I’m no expert.

    As an ENFP self-preservation 6, I think the confluence between my MBTI and Enneagram might have made it harder to ultimately decide my type. ENFP was fairly easy for me to decide once I learned more about the system. I did mistype as an INFJ when I first learned the system from a friend when we were about 14/16. But I learned about cognitive functions, and I’m definitely not a type with strong Fe. Reading about Fe, I immediately thought of my mom. She’s an ESFJ and is highly influential in my life. Based on our dynamic, it’s pretty clear to me that I’m not wired for Fe.

    Then I thought I was an INFP. But in college, I realized that I’m actually an extrovert with some self-admitted “hermit” tendencies. I’ve never had doubts about being an NF though.

    Of course, 6s are said to be the type that experience the hardest time determining their Enneagram. But I’ve often felt like type descriptions for 6 are reminiscent of an SJ type instead of my flavor of 6. I had suspicions that I was a 6, but I also related to several other types to some degree. And the 6 descriptions just didn’t feel right.

    When I read Dr. Chestnut’s description of the self-preservation 6, a lightbulb went off for me. That’s exactly how I am! Though these tendencies were unknown to me at the time, they just made sense. I generally present a warm, friendly side of my personality as a means of self-protection. I can get a lot of different people “on my side” with this, and it does create a sense of safety. I can confidently blend into a lot of different contexts and social groups. When I’m around those I’m close to, I am a lot more up front about what is going on in my mind because I already trust the relationship that’s there.

    I suspect that other people may have trouble navigating their enneagram and/or MBTI if they have a more unusual combination. Enneagram 6 ENFPs aren’t even that unusual, I just feel like a lot of 6 material isn’t geared towards ENFPs.

    • Danielle
      Reply

      Thinking about how I match the self-pres 6 description, I’m reminded of what a good friend told me when I asked her if she saw me as extroverted or introverted. She said, “Extroverted, definitely. You’re extremely warm and can talk to anyone.”

      These could be traits of an introvert, albeit. I wasn’t looking for an expert opinion, just one of someone who knows me well. But her assessment definitely rings true to my own observations about myself and how I match the self-pres 6.

  • Alisha Mitchell
    Reply

    I was excited to see this podcast since I recently had a thought about the relationship between my enneagram type and MBTI type that made me a bit more confident in my types.

    —-NOTE: It was a long thought process I went over, and I even tried to cut it down, but keep things that seemed important, so this ended up pretty much an essay—
    I believe I’m an INFJ 9w1. For both of them, I feel like a lot of things resonated really well, but then a few things that seemed like very important things didn’t.

    For the INFJ, my biggest problem was that I didn’t feel like certain Ni aspects fit, even though it would be my driver/dominant. I’m confident in being an IxFJ. I really felt Ni when it came to things like pattern recognition and looking into meanings. But, a big piece seems to be this ability to have near-clairvoyant moments (at least occasionally) that are almost always described with a level of confidence in them. Like INFJs have things that they KNOW will happen. And I didn’t really feel that. I like to consider what may happen and try to help positive outcomes, but I tend to worry if I try to guess what happens. I often don’t have the confidence to assume a lot of things (I can ask a lot of questions about details at work) because I’m always pretty sure I don’t know all of the information. I can imagine the outcome being okay, but I can also imagine that there’s some detail that I don’t know or I’m forgetting that could make my decision look completely stupid.

    As for Si, I didn’t really resonate with much. Almost everything I relate to Si are things that I don’t really care much for. Traditions, rules, standards and loyalty (in the “ride-or-die”/”I’d hide a body for you” sense) are all things that I don’t inherently care for. It’s not that I’m particularly against them, but I need to see meaning to actually care for them.
    Also, even though Si isn’t necessarily about having a good memory, I’m sure it has some relation. Si values memories and past experiences, and it’s still a sensing function, so it still connects to the senses to reference them. Si seems like it would have a lot of memories, and remember vividly. Other mental and biological issues could affect it, but I don’t think there’s any defectiveness in my lack of memory. I’m just not usually in the moment. Very few memories I have feel sensory, if that makes sense. I feel like I make notes on memories, and “remembering” is essentially recreating the memory with my notes. Some of my childhood memories, I’m not even sure are authentic in how I see them. Like, it’s probably more of a mix between what my parents said happened, some picture I saw, and my imagination making the movie.

    That said, I tend to feel like I’m INFJ by process of elimination. Like every time I hear someone say “INFJs are often mistyped INFPs, ENFJs, ISTJs, etc.” I have to look into them again and MAKE SURE I’m my type.

    On the Enneagram side, it’s similar. I feel like the 9 resonates with me most. The core desire of peace, the “super power” of seeing all sides, the stress/growth arrows, feeling like I don’t know myself, having a separation between “Feeling/Thinking” and “Doing”, etc. But other things that seem important don’t fit well.
    The core fear (loss and separation) didn’t really resonate with me. I don’t fully agree with the “ignored anger” (except for with people; I’m frustrated until I can take time to see their side, then I have trouble being okay with staying angry.) There also tends to be a piece of “You don’t matter,” that I don’t agree with. I don’t feel I have “low” self-esteem or that I’m less than others, but equal. At the same time, I felt that putting someone else’s needs sometimes is a kind and caring thing to do. In action, though, I am usually happy to give to others, but need assured that they’re not inconvenienced when they offer to help me. I don’t think that I’m less than others, but I operate like I do.
    I also don’t truly resonate with any of the three subtypes. In every description I read, I agree with maybe half of each instinct. And even comparing it to the cognitive functions, I feel like I only resonate with the “inferior Se” side of SP9 (indulging in eating, sleeping; lack of deep feelings and ambitions). I think every description I’ve read also emphasizes that they don’t care much for the abstract, which isn’t me at all. I feel like I am drawn to routines and value them in theory, but I can never really stick to them. I either forget them or procrastinate on them after only a day or two.
    The SO9 is probably completely just high Fe for me. I don’t really desire to be part of the group. I just want other people to feel cared for. I’m nice, and have a habit of dropping my tasks to help others when asked, but it’s often because I feel like it’s a better use of my time, especially if I don’t put high value on my work (looking at any Te tasks).
    The SX9 is much like the SO9. I’m generally nice and unassertive (and I think some descriptions mention being more imaginative and dreamy). I don’t feel like I really “merge” with people so much, although I can be impressionable in some mannerisms. But, I feel like what I do connect to could just be contributed to Ni.

    In addition to all that, I know that for both typologies, the descriptions aren’t going to be completely accurate. So, on one side, I’m okay with some discrepancies, but the discrepancies that I see feel big enough to be potential mistyping, and I’m not sure what I’m reading into.

    In Riso & Hudson’s “Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery” book, they had a table with Jungian Correlations. They had the Nine corresponding to the Introverted Sensation type. I read that a while ago and it wasn’t until a few days ago that I considered the possibility that it could be why I’d be confused, and that it was probably more likely that I’m an INFJ 9. Odds are, if my MBTI type was Si dominant AND my Enneagram type was correlated with Si, then Si would be more obvious and relevant to me.

    It makes sense to me that having an Si-correlated enneagram type could account for me not feeling as strong as I should be in my Ni (while Se is the the “complete” opposite, Ni as 1st function means that Si is 8th function). IIRC, there’s also a component of “validation” in Si (I can’t remember if it was ever stated, or if I assumed it because experts are valued), and I felt like the fact that I’ve been really interested in ways to conclusively prove type* and that I could never fully trust that I typed myself correctly was a big push for being ISFJ over INFJ on it’s own.

    But, when trying to merge them and imagining them interacting, instead of dividing my traits between them, it makes sense to me that as a 9, who “falls asleep” to their wants, desires, etc, I wouldn’t have confidence in it. I’m aware that I don’t really know myself. I’m aware even people that are even more self-aware than I am tend to judge themselves inaccurately. I’m aware that my answer is based only on what I know and understand, and so it’s not using “expert-level” knowledge of either typology. So, even though I’ve thought it through and feel like I’ve got the right type, there are so many ways where I could be wrong.

    Then, I also realized that this is a thought process that happens a lot for me, and wondered if the future-predicting element if Ni wasn’t this feeling that goes beyond a person’s natural level of confidence, and it went into a whole tangent of “lack of confidence” vs “disinterest”. Essentially, I considered the idea that if I “didn’t want to do something” simply because I didn’t have the confidence to do it, that doesn’t actually mean I didn’t want to do it–I just didn’t want the risk that came with it. And maybe I don’t know what I want to do in life because if I’m not confident enough to do it, I immediately translate that to “I don’t want to”.
    In that case, the lack of skill in that area of Ni would be explained in that I try to make predictions, and then consider all of the factors that I know that I’m missing, and I cut myself off from trying to predict it, especially if I need to take an action that I can imagine will cause even a minor conflict (even just them thinking “Why would she do that?!”)

    *Like Dr. Nardi’s brain scans evidencing (if not actually proving) that we have definitive driver functions is super exciting to me.

    —–
    Separate note about cognitive functions compared to enneagram types, I was curious about a few things:
    (1) I though it was an interesting–and possibly a testament to how things can correlate in only one way–that, unless I missed it, the enneagram 9 and Ni weren’t really put together. I definitely notice a lot of differences, but it seems like a huge marker for both (the 9’s “super power”, and the Ni’s nick-namesake) is the ability to see from all sides. I believe people say 5’s also have that ability, but from a more analytic standpoint. Surface-level, it feels like INFJ 9s and INTJ 5s would be could either happen a lot, or just be really good at the “Perspectives” (maybe not the full Ni and just that piece of it)

    (2) Another enneagram 9 question–they say that INFP 9s are very common. Does the dominant Fi and “forgetting self” merge in an interesting way? I’m sure knowing yourself is more than just being in touch with your feelings, but as someone who’s not great at that, I’m curious as to what that means.

    (3) I haven’t been able to find much on people talking about Riso & Hudson’s correlations. (Granted, I tried “Riso Hudson function correlations” and didn’t get much, then I was searching for “Wisdom of the Enneagram” before realizing that wasn’t the audiobook I had. And when talking about Enneagram and MBTI correlations, the book name “Personality Types” is much less search-refining.)
    I noticed that you guys had some different correlations (and the book had a few odd ones). I wanted to hear your opinions/analysis/understanding of it, and if you already know, was curious if it’s considered “outdated”–that either they didn’t have much info when doing it, or the understanding of functions have changed, etc.

    For quick reference they had:
    One – Extroverted Thinking
    Two – Extraverted Feeling
    Three – Not compared to any
    Four – Introverted Intuition
    Five – Introverted Thinking
    Six – Introverted Feeling
    Seven – Extraverted Sensation
    Eight – Extroverted Intuition
    Nine – Introverted Sensation

    • Alisha Mitchell
      Reply

      I apologize for that LONG post. I pasted it in Word to save so I wouldn’t lose it and realized it was a literal 4-page essay (Arial 12, single-spaced)…
      It’s awaiting moderation, and if it’s way too long, you can remove it. There should be no way I shouldn’t be able to pare it down.

    • Matt
      Reply

      As someone who is a 5w4 INFJ, that is an interesting breakdown of the numbers going to each type. The wings certainly can play a factor in how people work with the system (i.e. – I am very much inverted intuition and drift into inverted thinking. I detest introverted feeling).

      I know it often can confuse people when they look at the enneagram, but you always have to consider the wings as well.

      Good stuff though!

  • milk
    Reply

    Thanks for this thoughtful look at Enneagram and MBTI and the explicit push back against attempts to reduce one system to the other, as many commonly do.

    In my mind it’s essential to emphasize how MBTI is first and foremost a model of cognition, even if it relates to behavior, just as Enneagram is primarily about core motives, instincts, and emotional patterns.

    As someone whose focus is split between personality type and astrology, I more often deal with astrologers who conflate the four functions with the four elements (fire-intuition, earth-sensation, air-thought, water-feeling) which do bear some similarities but also key differences: fire is assertive while intuition isn’t necessarily, air is sociable while thinking isn’t necessarily… And these are both fourfold systems, nevermind the distinctions of eightfold and ninefold systems

    I believe the similarities between these systems suggest how certain qualities tend to entail others regardless of the domain of lived experience you find them, but that doesn’t make them all the same. The cosmos is too complex for that.

  • Josette
    Reply

    I’ve thought about MBTI/enneagram connections as well. I’m Ne auxiliary. First, I have to say reading descriptions of INFPs on website, they sound very 692 (maybe not that order) tritype. The descriptions may say something about the INFP deep inner life, importance on relationships, the rose colored glasses. I’m INFP and 692 so/sx. So, there’s no doubt I can blur the two. I was even wondering as I listened to the previous podcast on how the loud cognitive function is not always the driver. My take is that MBTI can point to a path of flow or using our strengths but enneagram opens up our shadow and subconscious part of ourselves. The not so nice part. I suppose the loop in MBTI is operating out of weakness of cognitive functions but the whole enneagram focus seems darker. Therefore it makes sense to me that our not so confident functions may have helped shape our coping skills. As an aside I tend to think of type 4 as being very aesthetic focused, and it makes sense to have Se in the stack. But that’s more painting with a broad brush because I’ve noticed INFJ and ISFP 4s on celebrity lists.

    • Josette
      Reply

      I meant to say more about the loud functions correlation to enneagram. The tertiary for instance was talked about as being loud and enneagram is a lot about our defenses. As though the coping skills we create may be to protect our primary function. I can feel that for myself. I feel like when I’m in my loop, my six-ness is more obvious and I rely on my memory or comfort more than creating new experiences. Or perhaps I’m in a situation that is making it difficult for me to access my Ne in conjunction with my Fi. Which will be often since the world values Si and Te much more so.

  • Shawn K
    Reply

    Really thought-provoking stuff, as usual!

    I’m always extra excited for episodes that include Dr. Beatrice Chestnut (and Uranio Paes when he can make it), not only for their obvious expertise and the cross-pollination between them and PH, but also because I think that interchange is at the forefront of a more “formalized” synthesis of the best ideas of different systems. There has long been a push in that direction in the type enthusiast community, but lately there seems to be more of it starting to emerge on a more professional level (as another example, Dr. Dario Nardi incorporates some ideas from Dr. Viktor Gulenko, a Socionist, into his book “The Magic Diamond”).

    Back to the main topic though — as an INTJ and Self-Preservation 4, there are definitely some interesting ways that I’ve experienced that alchemy between the two systems. For example, I definitely come across as “softer” than many INTJs, even taking into account that INTJs aren’t typically as cold and harsh as stereotypes would have you believe. I’ve even had someone tell me that their first impression was of “a really odd version of INFP,” and ISFP was briefly considered during a type assessment after they had figured out my functions.

    On the plus side, I have a deep respect for my own and others’ emotional experience, and I don’t tend to lose myself in a role or aspiration that doesn’t truly resonate with me. On the other hand, my go-to solution for people who are hurting is to try and provide practical solutions, and it can be frustrating when that fails to really help them. Self-Pres 4s can have a particularly strong altruistic streak, so it’s a pretty common occurrence for me to really feel for someone, while making clumsy and ineffective attempts to comfort them in the way that they actually need.

    The perfectionist streak in INTJs and Self-Pres 4 is also really magnified, as is keeping my suffering to myself, trying to do everything on my own, and seldom getting any actual satisfaction out of my accomplishments (due to not reaching that nebulous and fleeting goalpost of “good enough”). What you guys were saying about growth path alignment definitely checks out — being more objective, more willing to “get my hands dirty,” and taking action even if I don’t feel 100% ready, all really tie in with both healthy Te development and integration from 4 to 1.

    On a side note, is there anything in the pipeline in terms of how less common type combos can cause mistyping, either of oneself or of others? Like, how might someone being a 7 obscure the fact that they’re an ISxJ (and vice-versa)? What red herrings might show up if someone has Te as a dominant/driver function, and yet is also a 2 or 9? It’s a lot of ground to cover in one episode obviously, but even just a few examples could really help others who are stuck on finding their type (it definitely would’ve sped things up for me). My hunch is that the less common (or even “impossible”) type combos are a bit more common than people think.

  • Sonja Balthasar
    Reply

    I have noticed that there is a lot of MBTI vs Enneagram “which one is better” rhetorics out there, and I am so happy that you take a different approach. My view is that it is not that important to fit the types of the two systems but that the models COMPLEMENT each other in a beautiful way. When using them together, I personally have got a lot out of it as a tool for personality development, thinking about both how cognitive functions AND how my core motivations, fears, instincts etc play in concert. One plus one equals more than two.
    I am confident that I got both my MBTI and my Enneagram type right and I have a combination that seems unusual (I am an ENFP sexual One). So, my Enneagram type explains why I’m not your typical ENFP and Enneagram work has immensely helped me grow toward joy and serenity, which I lacked in my life. And my MBTI type explains why I may not your typical One and helps me understand “my toolkit” to realize that development. Both systems help me in my relations to other people. I look very much forward to hearing more from you on this topic!

  • SWinn
    Reply

    Can someone from the podcast (Dr. BC, AD or JMW) give a definitive answer to the question: MUST THERE BE A CORRELATION BETWEEN MBTI AND ENNEAGRAM TO BE A VALID COMBINATION? Those of us in the wild west of the internet have been dealing with grifters and taxonomists of the world who strictly believe that, say if you are a dominant Fi user, for example, you absolutely cannot be a 3, 7, or 8 (basically an assertive type). For once, I’d like to have a solid source like PH to point back to for an unequivocal answer on less common type combinations that are still valid—or not.

    FWIW, I’ve been typed by Dr C and PH (Melissa Harris) so I’d be happy to contribute data.

  • John Doe
    Reply

    Last week we had Melissa, this week we have Beatrice. All the OGs coming out for these podcasts. Love the direction these podcasts have been heading in these past couple of months.

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