The word Enneagram derives from two Greek words "ennea" (nine) and "gram" (drawing or figure) and refers to the nine points on the Enneagram diagram. The Enneagram symbol describes nine distinct but interrelated personality types. The Enneagram shows nine ways of seeing and experiencing the world as well as the relationships between personality and psychological development. The Enneagram is a great aid in self-understanding and seeing our habits of thinking, feeling and behaving. As we become more aware through self-observation we are better able to make empowering conscious choices.
The Russian teacher G.I.Gurdjieff introduced the Enneagram to the modern world in the early twentieth century through his concept of "self-work" in regard to the possibilities of human development. Oscar Ichazo furthered the work of Gurdjieff by developing nine personality types to match the nine points on the Enneagram thus originating the Enneagram of Personality. Ichazo elucidated the personality types and their principle features, motivations and concerns.
Psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo studied with Ichazo and eventually was able to describe the nine personality types in Western psychological terms. Naranjo brought his teaching of the Enneagram to Berkeley, California in the early 1970s. Since then, proponents of the Enneagram like Helen Palmer, David Daniels and others have made major contributions to the understanding and application of the Enneagram in business, psychotherapy, spirituality and other fields of human endeavor.
Deborah Ooten, Ph.D. and Deni Tato help bring the Enneagram alive through the Narrative Tradition. In this tradition the Enneagram is transmitted by seeing and hearing panels of people of the same type talk about their lives. The Narrative Tradition is also experienced in each and every day as we listen to one another from a place of receptivity and compassion. This transmission of the Enneagram expresses the power of the system beyond a written account of their words. The Enneagram is a dynamic system that lives and breathes, teaching us all how to speak to the "listening" of the other.