One of the great virtues of the Enneagram system is its holistic view of people as spiritual and biological beings. Both personality type and character structure are formed through the activity and presence of all three centers of perception and intelligence: mind, heart and body.

The word “somatic” comes from the Greek “somatikos,” which means pertaining to the body, experienced and regulated from within. And in the words of Carl Jung, “Psyche depends on body and body depends on psyche.”

In the field of somatic (body-oriented) psychology, teachers and authors have described a core self that can be found underneath layers of armoring or social conditioning. In a close parallel, the Enneagram work describes an essential self that can be reclaimed from underneath the layers of personality.   

By integrating the Enneagram with somatic psychology, we gain access to a wealth of practical techniques to work on ourselves or support others. A somatic approach enables us to bring attention to the body and emotions in the context of type structure, to “ground” our intellectual study and spiritual interests, and to create an embodied approach.

To see somatic patterns for each Enneagram type, select one of the nine types shown in the drop-down menu below Tour the Nine Types (top-level navigation) and click on the “Somatics” tab at the bottom of each type description page. It’s important to note that, while there are general patterns for each type, there are also many individual differences. Body type, for example, greatly affects how people experience themselves somatically. A person with a large, muscular body (mesomorph) will have different abilities and challenges in life than someone with a more slender and sensitive body (ectomorph), even if they share the same personality type. Early experience in childhood has much to do with what kind of body armor we carry around. Plus, through therapy and inner work, people can make big changes in the way they inhabit their bodies and express their emotions.

For therapists, coaches, counselors and bodyworkers, the Enneagram also offers keys to understanding the major issues of each type, the shifts in structure as people move to their stress and security points, and how to best apply each method or technique to the individual. Our Narrative Enneagram Practitioner Certification Track gives professionals the tools they need to support their clients in feeling safe and supported.