Working with the Enneagram ll By Rich Brodt

Keeping in line with the themes from my previous piece, I want to take a closer look into the Enneagram and why it can be so useful for healing professionals to use with their clients. I believe that the Enneagram is a tool that can be useful for most people. For those who are unfamiliar, the Enneagram is a personality-typing tool that allows the individual to self-assess and decide which of 9 different personality types they fall into. With further screening and study, the typing becomes more specific, and each type is broken into its own sub-types. These become more important for advanced study, however, I believe most people can benefit by simply learning more about their general type. 

There are many reasons why the Enneagram is helpful for personal growth.

To me, the most important thing this tool provides is increased awareness. There is a variety of literature on the Enneagram, ranging from spiritual, to philosophical, to academic – this means there is a point of entry for just about anyone who is interested. In reading literature about one’s type, patterns of behavior begin to present themselves. While it is rare for someone to engage in every single behavior of a certain type, this knowledge of general behaviors allows one to identify the unhealthy patterns they have developed over the course of their life. 

As awareness increases through work with the Enneagram, it becomes easier to challenge those negative behaviors. 

Since we have already established that the individual identifies with certain behaviors, the language of the Enneagram makes it easier for the healer to address and challenge those behaviors with a mutual vocabulary. Additionally, each type has places where they become stuck or unable to push through some difficulty. The Enneagram gives the healer the ability to focus more directly on what may be causing the difficulty. 

Additionally, the Enneagram helps the individual understand who they are. 

The behaviors outlined in the plethora of Enneagram material are not meant to define who each of us is individually. They are meant to show how a person changes over time and develops certain behaviors as a way to avoid pain. Through talk therapy or coaching, an individual then is able to become more aware of when their behavioral crutches are impeding their progress as a person, or limiting them in relationships, career or life in general. They can make the choice to be more aware, and perhaps break those behavioral patterns that previously defined them.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Enneagram also helps us to understand each individual’s ego response. These responses vary from type to type, but are often similar within specific types. Identifying the ego response is important, because it helps us to understand an individual’s attachment to a particular type of behavior. Generally, we are attached to behaviors that have helped us in the past. The Enneagram differentiates the person from the behaviors and, tells us that our behaviors, though we are attached to them, may no longer serve us. This level of awareness is where change seems to happen rapidly. 

About Me, I provide therapy and counseling for individuals. My style integrates various techniques, but I tailor my approach to each client’s unique needs. I am committed to helping people that experience anxiety resulting from trauma, work-related stress, legal issues or major life transitions. Together, we will work to calm your mind and create lasting change.