The instincts of the Enneagram types are self-preservation (sp), sexual (sx), and social (so). They are traditionally used to define three instinctual subtypes or variations of a basic type (e.g., SP 6, SX 6, and SO 6). One of these three subtypes is called the counter-type because it can look different from the basic type. Below are brief descriptions of the three type 6 instinctual subtypes.
SP 6 - Warmth, Affection/Rejection: is warm and friendly as a way to show one is not a threat; cultivates protective and trusting alliances with others; resolves doubt through constant assurance and cautious around potential dangers and risks.
SX 6 - Strength/Beauty (counter-type): uses strength or beauty to be empowered within the world; stands against fear but more “bark” than “bite”; runs toward fear or danger with attitude of the best defense is a good offense.
SO 6 - Duty, Fellowship: knows and follows the rules to relieve anxiety; relies on ideologies or other systems of reference; can be precise, intolerant, and adhere to guidelines of authority to avoid ambiguity.
While an individual may be identified with type 6 in general, that same individual may be more specifically identified with one of the three instinctual subtypes as well.
A more recent approach to using the instincts is instinctual variant stacking which can be used independent of Enneagram type.