Mind Map of Enneagram ®
Carte mentale de l’ennéagramme ®
The mind map is a tool for visually representing ideas, information or concepts.
Also called cognitive map, heuristic map, causal or influence map, it is versatile and has multiple uses.
It takes the form of a tree diagram, allowing a synthetic presentation of more or less complex subjects.
It has been a long time since man understood the value of associating ideas with images, for communication and memorization.
This mind map can be adapted to the enneagram which is a model of the personality for personal development and management purpose.
Enneagram Mind Map ®
Principle of the mind map
The concept of the mind map can be dated for the first time in 1948. But its development really accelerated in the 1990s.
A mind map is defined as a graphical representation of the mental representation, of the formalization of thought, that a person has about a particular object, whether it is a business strategy or a personal strategy on life.
This map is supposed to reproduce the knowledge of the individual, his vision of HOS (Himself, the Others and the World), his reasoning.
Considered as a picture or a figure, a mind map is made up of postulates (concepts) and the links between some of them (Cossette and Audet, 1994, p15).
Using the cognitive map can be very interesting. It facilitates the awareness of the mental representations of an individual.
It is both a tool to help communication with oneself and a tool to help analyze our strategies. The map will attempt to make explicit the subjective representation that an individual has of his own reality. By presuming that it is on the basis of this, that he interprets events, makes decisions and that he acts.
It all starts with beliefs
The mind map adapted to the enneagram begins with a first concept, in this case a belief. This belief is the fundamental basis of an individual’s strategy.
We have chosen to use the term belief, but it would be more accurate to use the term of psychological schema. « According to Beck (1967) the content of the schema can relate to what one knows about oneself and others or to concrete objects, for example a chair. The schemas can be general or restricted, flexible or rigid, active or latent. Beck uses the term schema, in a broad sense to denote beliefs, attitudes, basic postulates and general rules of conduct. Schemas can be personal, family, cultural, religious, professional « (Jean Cottraux, 1995, 2006). In Coaching we talk about representation or strategy. Within the framework of the mental map of the enneagram, we will keep the term belief.
Conditional and unconditional beliefs
Beliefs can be conditional or unconditional. Conditional beliefs are presented as « If … then …. » postulates. For example « If I don’t always try to please people, then they won’t like me« . Which is the typical characteristic of the enneatype 2.
Unconditional beliefs are final judgments. For example « people never listen to my opinion« , which is characteristic of Enneatype 9. These beliefs are part of daily life and are easily activated by common situations. They automatically take the place over more realistic schemes.
An unconditional belief will generate one or more conditional beliefs in reaction. They themselves will generate automatic thoughts and behaviors. All of these diagrams form a constellation represented by the Enneagram mind map ®.
This constellation orientates towards certain events to the detriment of others and obliges to make choices which may not be favorable to the individual, nor related to logical considerations.
In the enneagram approach, certain beliefs generate few specific filtering mechanisms and their corresponding compulsion (basic fear). For example, the compulsion of Enneatype 9 is to avoid conflicts over all else.
The mind map gives meaning
The mind map makes possible to give meaning to our strategies. It represents conscious aspects of our strategy but also unconscious aspects. Thus its visualization makes it possible to identify the unconscious side by implicit causal relations (Huff, 1990). In this case, it can challenge our thought schema, hence its interest.
So it represents a reality, with a meaning. It is a reality that we perceive in the present moment or a reality known for more or less time, that we have in memory. It is ultimately an operator of meaning, of values which is essentially heuristic (Martinet, 1990).
Even though this frame is imperfect, because the map represents a subjective reality, it is better to have a partially erroneous representation than no representation at all. The map is then a means to help move forward in thinking. It is also evident that this representation is not a finished product of this reflection. In conclusion, the mind map does not seek accuracy but rather has an objective of abstraction and simplification.
This is why it is very suitable for the enneagram. The enneagram does not place an individual in a box, but suggests a pattern of automatic thoughts more or less activated by each individual.
Popularized in the 1970s in the mainstream of humanistic psychology, the enneagram is a method of personal development and management.
9 ways to interact
The Enneagram describes nine different ways of approaching the world, and consequently nine very different ways of interacting with it. Ennea means 9 in Greek. Each of the 9 Enneatypes has its strengths, its weaknesses. Each of us privileges certain information and leaves others aside, in an unconscious way, limiting ourselves to one version of reality. Don’t we say in NLP that the map is not the territory ?
The enneagram highlights these more or less unconscious irrational fears and a « compulsion », a fierce desire to avoid over all else what one is afraid of. This compulsion will structure 9 personality patterns and relationships with others: the way of behaving, the way of communicating, the expectations, the motivations. This personal development tool allows you to know yourself better and to free yourself from certain sometimes limiting automatisms, and thus improve your interpersonal relationships and well-being.
The enneagram is today a teaching unit (EU) in the Stanford MBA (1994), one of the most highly rated commercial diplomas across the Atlantic, but also in other American (Chicago …) and Canadian universities, but also at HEC (France). Its recognition is well established.
Its cognitive and emotional structure can be a useful and powerful guide.
To know more about the enneagram.
Applying Mind Map to Enneagram
As we have seen, the enneagram describes 9 personality schemas or 9 enneatypes. Each of these schemas is based on beliefs specific to a personality type, to an enneatype. Each of these beliefs generates automatic thoughts, emotions and behaviors depending on the situation encountered. These same behaviors reinforce the initial beliefs thus forming a loop represented below by a cognitive pentagram.
(Adaptation of the cognitive pentagram from Jean Cottraux & Al., Psychothérapies cognitives des troubles de la personnalité, 1995, 2006, p164)
Adapted to the enneagram, the mind map will describe from the initial beliefs of an enneatype and the corresponding compulsion, the appearance of automatic thoughts, emotions and specific behaviors of an enneatype.
The intensity of these automatic thoughts can vary from one individual to another. This may explain, among other things, the differences between several individuals of the same enneatype. So even if they share personality schémas of the same enneatype, each person is unique.
Ego Fixations & Passions
We all react selectively to information. Even before we consciously sort out the information that seems relevant to us, our attention itself is selective. We see what we need to see to survive and forget about the rest. This will strengthen us in the vision of the world that is specific to us.
For example, if we enter a room full of people we don’t know, everyone will react according to automatic schémas. While some will stand in a corner to observe, others will look for an excuse to leave, when others will feel open and start interacting with people.
We are not looking at events in the room objectively. So our attention is narrowed to capture only the information that seems essential to us, especially in a new situation.
Naming the concerns of an Enneatype is not difficult. Our focus points or filtering mechanisms can assess what is right or wrong in a situation (Enneatype 1) or seek to maintain privacy (Enneatype 5).
Focus points of Enneagram (according to Helen Palmer)
Consequences of filtering mechanisms
I am used to identify mistakes and to correct them. I easily compare myself with others. However I think there is only one right way to do it. When I notice deviations, and they can’t be corrected, it frustrates me.
The needs of others
I am used to take care of others, focusing on their needs at the expense of my own.
I am used to focus on results, adapting myself to the situation and showing a good image, as recognition will depend on my performance. So I move forward without paying too much attention to my feelings and those of others if they do not interfere with the results.
I look for the ideal or the circumstances that will make me feel like I am fully loved for who I am.
By doing that I can protect my privacy to think and recharge my batteries because the world is intrusive and invasive. My autonomy and self-sufficiency favors my survival.
I have great doubts about myself and tend to attribute actions or intentions to others that they may not necessarily have. Mainly I want to clarify the situation by defying security and facing danger (counter-phobic style) or seeking safety and avoiding danger (phobic style)
I am used to plan fun and positive projects, and to consider several options to limit the constraints. So I take advantage as far as I can of every pleasures.
I have to be strong to gain respect and uphold justice. But it can be at the expense of others.
I got into the habit of ignoring my basic needs. When I realize it from time to time, it generates an inner frustration where I position myself as a victim.
Ego fixation and passion
The advantage of our filtering mechanism is that we become an expert in one area. Enneatype 3 can become a good « performer », focused on the best efficiency. He is always looking for a solution, stays positive and is full of energy.
The downside is that our mode of attention helps keep us in touch with only one type of information that feeds our survival concerns and neurotic concerns. Enneatype 6, who always imagines the worst, has trouble seeing the best and the positive in a situation. The type 3 in his search for efficiency can forget his own needs, become a hard worker with always lots of projects in hand. He can also forget the well-being of his team or those close to him.
In certain situations where our filtering mechanism obscures the rest, we can have unsuitable behaviors.
These maladaptive behaviors are linked according to the enneagram to a compulsion generated by our filtering mechanism. These behaviors are most often unconscious and automatic. Enneatype 1, for example, has the compulsion to avoid mistakes.
The enneagram calls these preoccupations Ego fixations and passions. Fixation is the specific extreme and mental concern of an Enneatype. For example type 3 will always present his actions in a positive and beneficial way. The risk is that he becomes vain about it. Passion is the emotional part of our concern. It is according to Claudio Naranjo (one of the fathers of the enneagram) linked to the 7 deadly sins (they were 8 originally). Thuis the enneatype will have the risk of distorting « reality » in order to avoid his compulsion, leading him into stereotypical, automatic, unconscious behaviors highlighted by his ego fixation and his passion.
The mind map of enneagram ®
The mind map of Enneagram ® allows us to fully understand the flow of thoughts that generate the ego fixations and passions of each enneatype.
It begins with an unconditional belief specific to each enneatype. This unconditional belief generates a conditional belief, which itself generates a filtering mechanism and ultimately a compulsion.
From this compulsion are generated automatic and more or less conscious postulates (concepts). The chaining of his thoughts can lead to inappropriate behavior in certain situations that highlight the ego fixations and passions of each enneatype.
See below an example of enneagram mind map ® for the type 9.
Cognitive and behavioral therapies (CBT) have largely revolutionized psychotherapeutic practice, long confined in France to the sole psychoanalytic frame. CBT has thus become, in the space of 2 decades, a major and widely used field in psychotherapeutic support.
In parallel, coaching is still strongly inspired by models from psychotherapeutic practice, by transposing them of course to its own purposes and procedures (Michael Pichat, 2014).
Mind maps are a good example. Their use to better apprehend and understand the behavior of organizations in terms of decision-making and strategic action reveals strong potential (Jacques Lauriol, 1998).
The contemporary approaches to the enneagram of Oscar Ichazo and especially the Chilean Claudio Naranjo benefited from the approaches of humanistic psychology in the 1970s.
In 2020, mind maps applied to the enneagram allow us to better understand the flow of thoughts of a person, according to the different enneatypes. The birth of dysfunctional behaviors, from beliefs and the corresponding filtering mechanism, appears even more logical.
The use of the mind map of Enneagram ® in coaching allows to work on beliefs and automatic thoughts. By this way the causal links highlighted are easier to understand and modify, for the coach but also for the client.
For every enneatypes there is an Enneagram mind map ® that has been determined and validated. These maps are accessible through online training (in French today – translation on going) or used in the international Modern Enneagram Network.