Enneagram Monthly: What's your opinion on possible correlations between the Enneagram and the Myers-Briggs system?
Tom Condon: The Enneagram describes nine species of ego-nine ways the human unconscious creates and organizes subjective experience, Your ego generates your map of reality, and your sense of identity along with your core motivations, values and defenses. It offers guiding assumptions, giving you a general sense of direction and immediate ways to proceed. To me, the MBTI and the Enneagram don't describe the same things at all. If the article described an Enneagram style as merely a defense I think that would be a little off. There are clearly healthy expressions of Enneagram styles; each offers abilities and gifts as well as defensive limitations. To me the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs typing system don't describe the same things at all.
EM: We think Pat Wyman (see "The Enneagram and MBTI in Affective Therapy" in the April 1999 issue) is right on target in regarding the two systems as different entities, tather than trying to find correlations.
TC: The Enneagram is describing a central orientation, a core strategy. Within that core strategy, the MBTI describes what amounts to subtypes. The sensory, mental orientations and emotional orientations that are possible within your core Enneagram style. If you try to evenly correlate the two systems, or to identify the one MBTI combination that always goes with each Enneagram style you would be attempting the impossible. There's a book by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele [Are You My Type, Am I Yours?] with a section in the back on MBTI-I think that book has the combination just right.