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What are Tritypes?

education enneagram May 18, 2020

In Episode 6 of Your Enneagram Coach: The Podcast, we mentioned Tritypes. What are Tritypes? We're so glad you asked!

Tritypes are a deep and complex part of the Enneagram­– so complex that we could create an entire course on this subject. Today, however, we'll give you a simple introduction.

In 1995, Katherine Fauvre conducted a research study and found that people do not have just one Enneagram Type, but rather three Enneagram Types. Sound complicated? Stick with us.

These three Enneagram Types each reside in one of the three Centers of Intelligence: the Gut Triad (8,9,1), the Head Triad (5,6,7), and the Heart Triad (2,3,4).

We all use our gut, head, and heart, but some numbers, like Type 7, never access the heart center with their Enneagram lines or Wings. Likewise, Type 2 never travels to or touches the head triad. So, does that mean Type 7s don't have a heart and Type 2s never think? Of course not!

Your main Enneagram Type is your preferred defense strategy to avoid your core fear and obtain your core desire. However, when your dominant Type fails you, you will utilize the strategy of the other two numbers within your Tritype (we call them the sub-main types). You do this in a preferred order, always starting with your dominant Type. And you will continue to deploy the strategies of your Tritype, in cascading order, until you solve the problem at hand.

How do you discover your Tritype? 

Finding your Tritype can take time. First, start with finding your main Type. Then look at the two remaining triads and see which type you resonate with and use the most in each of those two remaining triads. Then pick the type you most relate to. 

Here is an example for a person who’s dominant type is Type 9 and resonates with the Tritype 972:

When this Type 9's (gut triad) defense strategies aren't working to protect them from their core fear, this person will use the type 7’s (head triad) strategies to help them. If the type 7’s strategies don't solve the problem, this person will move to Type 2 and use its strategies to avoid the core fear of the dominant type. 

It's important to remember that each person always remains their dominant Type, and in this example, it is a Type 9. But this person uses the strategies of Type 7 and Type 2 to help combat their Type 9 core fear and obtain their Type 9 core desire.

How do you name a Tritype? 

You always start with your dominant Type and then list the next two numbers in the order you use them. 

Here are two examples:

  • Sue's dominant Type is 7. She then moves to the Gut Triad and uses Type 8. Lastly, she moves to the Heart Triad and uses Type 2. Therefore, Sue's Tritype is 782, which is called The Free Spirit.
  • Bob has the same dominant number as Sue (Type 7), but he moves to Heart Center and uses Type 3 and lastly to the Gut Center to use Type 1. Therefore Bob's Tritype is 731. This Tritype is called The Systems Builder.

As you can see, Type 7 has many possible Tritype combinations. This further illustrates why no two people are exactly alike, even if they have the same Main Type.

When you align with the Gospel, you can access the strengths of all three numbers in your Tritype. But Tritypes also have weaknesses. When you are struggling, these weaknesses can collide, causing blind spots in your life and relationships. By resting in your identity in Christ and humbling yourself to feedback from others, you can get back on a healthy path.

If you're new to the Enneagram, you're probably feeling confused. That's OK! Few people are Tritype experts. But Tritypes have one additional benefit that you don't want to miss. They can help you discover your main Enneagram Type. By choosing one number from the gut, the head, and the heart, you can more easily determine which best describes your core fear and core desire.

Tritypes are far more complex than we can address in this blog post. Below we’ve listed the 27 Tritype Archetypes and the name descriptors Katherine Fauvre has given them. If you want to dig deeper, check out Katherine’s website https://www.katherinefauvre.com/tritype

  • The Mentor | 125, 152, 251, 215, 512, 521
  • The Supporter | 126, 162, 261, 216, 612, 621
  • The Teacher | 127, 172, 271, 217, 712, 721
  • The Technical Expert | 135, 153, 351, 315, 513, 531
  • The Taskmaster | 136, 163, 361, 316, 613, 631
  • The Systems Builder | 137, 173, 371, 317, 713, 731
  • The Researcher | 145, 154, 451, 415, 514, 541
  • The Philosopher | 146, 164, 461, 416, 614, 641
  • The Visionary | 147, 174, 471, 417, 714, 741
  • The Strategist | 258, 285, 582, 528, 825, 852
  • The Problem Solver | 259, 295, 592, 529, 925, 952
  • The Rescuer | 268, 286, 682, 628, 826, 862
  • The Good Samaritan | 269, 296, 692, 629, 926, 962
  • The Free Spirit | 278, 287, 782, 728, 827, 872
  • The Peacemaker | 279, 297, 792, 729, 927, 972
  • The Solution Master | 358, 385, 583, 538, 835, 853
  • The Thinker | 359, 395, 593, 539, 935, 953
  • The Justice Fighter | 368, 386, 683, 638, 836, 863
  • The Mediator | 369, 396, 693, 639, 936, 963
  • The Mover Shaker | 378, 387, 738, 783, 837, 873
  • The Ambassador | 379, 397, 739, 793, 937, 973
  • The Scholar | 458, 485, 548, 584, 845, 854
  • The Contemplative | 459, 495, 549, 594, 945, 954
  • The Truth Teller | 468, 486, 648, 684, 846, 864
  • The Seeker | 469, 496, 649, 694, 946, 964
  • The Messenger | 478, 487, 748, 784, 847, 874
  • The Gentle Spirit | 479, 497, 749, 794, 947, 974

Going deeper with the Enneagram can be fun and exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming and challenging. If the complexity of the Tritypes overwhelms you, simply focus on your main Type’s Core Motivations. Ask God to meet you there, and He will align you with the truth of the Gospel where you’ll find true freedom. 

Even though going deeper with the Enneagram can be fun and exciting, it can also feel overwhelming and challenging. If you feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the Tritype or other layers of the Enneagram, simply focus on your main Type’s Core Motivations and simply seeking God to help you to remain aligned with the truth of the gospel and allow it to set you free. To see the Core Motivations for each Type, simply go to www.yourenneagramcoach.com/coremotivations.

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