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The term Tritype refers to a theory regarding the Enneagram of Personality and was coined by Enneagram researcher and coach Katherine Chernick Fauvre.[1] The word tritype was formed from Latin, with the prefix tri meaning three,[2] and the word type added referring to the Enneagram types. The theory was initially inspired and developed as the result of research studies Fauvre conducted in 1994-1995 on the internal experience and personal image of the 9 types. Later, in 1996, Katherine met a teacher from Arica that referenced Oscar Ichazo's teachings on a similar theory that he referred to as the "tri-fix",[3][4] but there was nothing published on Oscar Ichazo's "tri-fix" work. In December 1996 and January 1997, Enneagram Monthly published an interview with Oscar Ichazo that included the concept of tri-fix. This validated Fauvre's research findings that individuals have not just one, but 3 Enneagram types. In 2008, Fauvre coined the term Tritype in order to distinguish the Fauvres' vast research and resulting theory from both Ichazo’s teachings, as well as from the teachings of Arica.

Tritype theory suggests that while individuals primarily utilize one of the main Enneagram types as their "core type", everyone actually employs three central Enneagram types - the one that is the most dominant within each center of intelligence (the Head (567), Heart (234) and Gut (891) centers respectively). According to Katherine Fauvre, individuals use their main Enneagram type along with two other types in a consistent and cascading manner, to produce a kind of ego intersection among all three types.[5] Therefore, while each type within the Tritype is employed separately, the combination of all three types coming together gives each Tritype a unique defense strategy (or way of defending against reality) and a focus of attention. The Tritype is used to explain the distinctive way in which each individual manages life using various combinations of ego strategies and coping mechanisms, yet Tritype (like the Enneagram) still remains a theory of motivation and not one of behavior.

Fauvre frequently refers to the "high side" and "low side" of these Tritype interactions and distinguish each as having a separate purpose. The high side of the Tritype intersection is that it gives direction, focus and purpose to the individual ego. The low side of this Tritype intersection is that it creates a blind spot which can narrow a person's ability to accurately self-assess and may even prevent a person from achieving a higher level of self-awareness by keeping them stuck in habitual and self-defeating patterns.[5]


Head center[edit]

The head center or the "mental triad" consists of Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7.

Heart center[edit]

The heart center or the "emotional triad" consists of Enneagram types 2, 3, and 4.

Gut center[edit]

The gut center or the "instinctive triad" consists of Enneagram types 8, 9, and 1.


Katherine Fauvre’s major body of work on the Enneagram and Tritype began in 1994-1995. At that time, she had initiated her research study on Enneastyle: The Nine Languages of Enneagram Type, which examined the internal experience and self-image of the nine Enneagram types. This research began with the Enneastyle Questionnaire. Initially this questionnaire was sent to 400 participants that were already familiar with the Enneagram, so that Fauvre could examine whether or not individuals with the same Enneagram types described themselves using similar language and symbology. Although Fauvre suspected some questionnaire similarities among those with the same type, what she discovered was the likelihood that Enneagram type was possibly determinable by simply examining word choice in self-description categories. In order to test this hypothesis, Fauvre then gave the questionnaire to 100 participants that were unfamiliar with the Enneagram, and subsequently and successfully determined their Enneagram Types based on the language similarities that she had observed in the first set of questionnaires. Participants were followed for one year to verify the validity of Fauvre's original typings. In 2003, following Fauvre’s initial research, Katherine and David Fauvre developed the Enneacards Enneagram test.[6]

Tritype theory was born of the results of the research gathered from Fauvre's initial explorations into instinctual subtype, self-image, language, spirituality and intimacy. After her analysis of the Enneastyle Questionnaire responses – in conjunction with the Enneacards Enneagram test from her first research study on Enneastyle – Fauvre noticed that individuals with the same Enneagram types described themselves similarly. These individuals also used the same lexicon to communicate their internal states, self-image and motivation strategies. Once Fauvre became familiar with the communication styles and word usage of each type, she also began to notice another pattern emerging in her research. Fauvre states that each individual expresses himself or herself using the language combinations that are distinct for the three different types that come together to form the Tritype. Analysis revealed through the use of the Enneastyle Questionnaire, Enneacards test results (measuring one’s dominant personality type, and Tritype), and follow up interviews, that Enneagram Tritype is an integral part of Enneagram Theory, as the two supporting types are illustrated and evident in the questionnaires through participants’ language and self-conception descriptions.[6]

In 2004, David Fauvre commissioned the creation of an algorithm to code software that would detect the complex patterns of language use found in the Enneastyle Questionnaires. Since that time, both David and Katherine Fauvre have tested the Language Classifier to determine type and Tritype using a variety of forms of written communication. The Language Classifier has been used to statistically validate that the language responses in the Enneastyle Questionnaire not only demonstrate that each Enneagram type speaks in its own lexicon, regardless of age, sex, education or culture, but also that individuals use the lexicon of all three dominant types in their Tritype and instinctual subtype.[7]


Katherine Fauvre has published her research in Enneastyle: The 9 Languages of Enneagram Type, The Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes, and in The 27 Tritypes Revealed: Discover Your Life Purpose and Blind Spot and, to date, over 16,000 people have taken the Fauvres' Enneastyle Questionnaire, Instinctual Subtypes Test, and the Enneacards Test.[7] In addition, Fauvre has written articles for the "Enneagram Monthly", including one that documents her experiences and understanding of a workshop she attended with Claudio Naranjo in 1996.[8]

Both Katherine and David Fauvre have presented and published their research on Tritype at the International Enneagram Association and in the International Enneagram Association's Enneagram Journal in 2012. Their article is titled Exploring Enneagram Tritype : Theory and practice.[5]


The Tritype theory has been presented at the International Enneagram Association's annual conference, and aspects of Tritype have been presented every year from 2008-2012.[9] In July 2011 at the IEA conference, Katherine Fauvre presented on the Tritype archetypes she has observed as well as how they relate to the instinctual subtypes.[10]


Katherine Fauvre states that the Tritype may or may not consist of the types in the lines of connection, or next to the dominant type on the Enneagram, however the first number in the Tritype is always the dominant type, followed by the next preferred types in the other two non-dominant centers of intelligence.[4][11] Therefore, having a "Tritype" means having one dominant Enneagram type in each center of intelligence.[3]

For example: the 548 or "The Scholar" Tritype[12] leads with the dominant Type 5 (in the mental center) and then utilizes Type 4 (in the heart center) and Type 8 (in the gut center) in that order. A Type 5 may or may not have Type 4 in their Tritype, despite it being a possible wing for the Type 5. Tritype types are employed to support the dominant type.

Fauvre states that research shows that the other types in the Tritype are employed for use when the dominant patterns and defenses are no longer effective. The Tritype is therefore usually only engaged when the defenses of both wings and all the lines of connection have been exhausted.

Another example: a person could be the 927 or "The Peacemaker" Tritype,[12] and after utilizing the dominant Type 9 strategies the person may move to their lines of connection (Type 3 and Type 6) as well as to their possible wings (Type 1 and Type 8). However, if these connections are not effective for the person, they may move to Type 2 and become more helpful, effusive and relational, and then move subsequently to Type 7 to utilize positive reframing, escapism or future planning in order to achieve desirable results.

Another 9 may have the 935 Tritype or "The Thinker" Tritype,[12] and this Tritype will present very differently from another 9 Tritype. The 935 will utilize the Type 9 strategy as dominant, but after exhausting wings and lines of connection, will move to Type 3 and become more expedient, professional or image focused, and then to Type 5 and become more cerebral, remote and concealed. This Tritype combination will seem significantly different from the 927.

Fauvre also states that aside from the employment of the other types in the Tritype, an archetype (see below) is created that illustrates why types of the same type, instinctual stacking, and wing can present differently.[13]


Fauvre believes that there are two main ways to work with Tritype material. The first is to study the differences within type by looking at the Tritype relationship to those sharing the same dominant Enneagram type. The other is comparing the similarities between people with the same Tritype across different core Enneagram types. Either way, a person is referencing the Tritype archetype.[13]

For example: Type 1 has nine different possible combinations (125, 126, 127, 135, 136, 137, 145, 146, 147). Through observation of how these different combinations of the Type 1 conceptualize and navigate the social world, distinctions may be noticed depending upon the types in the Tritype. The other method is to recognize the archetype of each Tritype combination. Fauvre posits that each of the 27 Tritype combinations illustrate a particular and individual archetype. These archetypes were observed out of the recognition of the similar core triggers, core fears, life purposes, blind spots and “growing edges” that seemed to personify how each Tritype navigated the world.[13]

Example: the 468 (486, 684, 648, 864, 846) has been deemed “The Truth Teller” by Fauvre.[12] Most research participants who identified this as their Tritype combination reported similar archetypal patterns that, according to Fauvre, warranted this title, such as the desire to track inconsistencies and call off hidden agendas and ulterior motives. According to Fauvre, each of the 27 Tritypes have a corresponding archetype that gives a "snapshot" into the archetypal life path of that particular Tritype combination.

27 Tritype Archetypes[edit]

Tritype Archetype
125, 251, 512 The Mentor
126, 261, 612 The Supporter
127, 271, 712 The Teacher
135, 351, 513 The Technical Expert
136, 361, 613 The Taskmaster
137, 371, 713 The Systems Builder
145, 451, 514 The Researcher
146, 416, 614 The Philosopher
147, 417, 714 The Visionary
258, 582, 825 The Strategist
259, 592, 925 The Problem Solver
268, 682, 826 The Rescuer
269, 692, 926 The Good Samaritan
278, 782, 827 The Free Spirit
279, 792, 927 The Peacemaker
358, 583, 835 The Solution Master
359, 593, 935 The Thinker
368, 683, 836 The Justice Fighter
369, 639, 936 The Mediator
378, 738, 837 The Mover Shaker
379, 739, 937 The Ambassador
458, 548, 845 The Scholar
459, 549, 945 The Contemplative
468, 648, 846 The Truth Teller
469, 649, 946 The Seeker
478, 748, 847 The Messenger
479, 749, 947 The Gentle Spirit


In October 2012, Tritype officially became a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Television show[edit]

In 2011, a grant was provided to create the TV show Types: Your Personality Revealed by the Mid-peninsula Media Community Center of Palo Alto, California.[14]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]