The importance of the Enneagram in integrated medicine

Abstract: The Enneagram of Psychological Types is a system for identifying personalities. It is, however, a somewhat reductive definition as it also serves a balanced inner evolution. In Greek ennea means ‘nine’, while gramma means ‘sign’. The graphic symbol is that of a nine-pointed star where each one represents a personality.

In fact, the Enneagram describes nine different personality types, nine strategies for relating to reality. It has remote historical origins: the last chronicles date back 2,500 years.

The origins are unknown although there are historical references to Babylon and the Middle East. Later, there is evidence in the 14th or 15th century from the ‘Sufis’. From them came the training of G.I. Gurdjieff (1910) to whom we owe the spread of the Enneagram in Europe. Later there is more testimony from Ichazo (1960) who claimed to have learnt the technique from the Sufis and not from Gurdjieff. Here a division is created: Gurdjieff’s teachings remain within his own study groups; while those of Ichazo pass through the Institute of Arica; from this is formed Claudio Naranjo who in turn will teach the Enneagram to the Jesuits.

Currently the Enneagram has been greatly re-evaluated as it has proved to be a practical and powerful system for identifying personalities. It is assumed that every person, at birth, encounters difficulties. Depending on the type of difficulties or problems and how he reacts to them, he creates a strategy that he will tend to preserve throughout his life.

For example, if in childhood an individual suffers violent aggressions by significant adults, especially in moments when he is weak and fragile, he will tend to develop strategies to respond to these aggressions: he will tend to be strong, violent if necessary, he will never show himself weak and fragile. He will build an “armor of “strength” that will preserve him from external aggressions. It prefers one strategy over nine available. In fact, the Enneagram shows nine different ways of reacting to reality. We choose one by giving up the other eight. Family history has a fundamental importance in the creation of the typology….

Taken from: Biointegrated Medicine – Dr. Vincenzo Fanelli

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