The Enneagram (pronounced ANY-a-gram)

by Inger Eiesland-Schultz, LCSW

Ever wonder why you seem to keep running up against yourself over and over again? Why do you do the things you know you don’t want to do but somehow can’t seem to rally yourself to do differently? All too often, these patterns are very familiar.

Like eating less or exercising more, we know what is good, so why don’t we do it? Or how do you handle your anger? Are you an explosive in-your-face person, or a slow simmering pot, ready to boil over with cutting remarks? Or perhaps you agree to do something but then you simply don’t.

The Enneagram is a system or a kind of map, that can help make sense of what’s going on inside of you. We can use this framework to engage in personal self-growth. The Enneagram points out what we want and how we settle for less.

The Enneagram is not a religion, nor will it interfere with your religious beliefs. It is an ancient tool to know yourself and best of all; it shows you how to begin that process.

The Ennneagram asserts there are nine distinct personality types. Each type uses a particular filter or lens to approach life.  No one type is better than any other; all have unique assets, liabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

The Enneagram helps us name the core issues that impact people, including basic fears or insecurities and gifts and strengths. The Enneagram can point out how we meet security and love, since each number differs in this regard. Consequently, the Enneagram provides extremely enlightening information for relationships. Instead of repeatedly addressing a variety of issues unsuccessfully, spouses or parents can get to the root of the issues with understanding and dignity intact. The Enneagram offers us a way to parent from our strengths and to build upon our children’s strengths.

"When you discover your type you will know it, says Riso & Hudson. Waves of relief and embarrassment, of elation and chagrin are likely to sweep over you. Things you have known unconsciously about yourself will suddenly become clear and life patterns emerge. When this happens you can be sure you have identified your personality type correctly." (The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, Bantam Books, June1999, ISBN 0-553-37820-1)