The Enneagram in Psychotherapy
The other modality I incorporate into my work is the Enneagram. It is a powerful and dynamic personality system that describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. In essence, it shows us the nine varying inherent ways reality is experienced, how we relate to ourselves and others in order to feel loved and accepted, and the extremes to which the nine types go in order to be connected. Underlying each of the nine ways of being and doing is a basic belief about what we need in life for survival and satisfaction.
Understanding the Enneagram is useful in therapy for many reasons. It provides a pathway of growth and healing that is based on the simple concept of self-observation. Discovering your Enneagram personality type can help you learn how to bring positive change into your life, the way you relate to yourself and others, as well as give you a greater understanding of the circumstances and issues facing you.
Studying the Enneagram over the past 20 years has personally given me the ability to accept people for who they are. With an understanding of the motivations behind their personality type, clients have noted that they are better able to put things into perspective and take things less personally. This in turn has helped them greatly in overcoming their recurring struggles, enhancing and accelerating their process of healing and improving their relationship to self and others.
As a Marriage and Family Therapist and systemic thinker, I have come to appreciate the Enneagram as an additional approach to assisting clients in gaining a deeper understanding of their resistances to what is repressed in the unconscious. The Enneagram provides a gentle, respectful, and comprehensive guide to exploring what may at first feel overwhelming or unbearable.