Putting the Enneagram Basics to Work in Your Life

Part 1:  Deepening Self-Understanding (Fall, 2019)
Four weeks from Weds, Sept 18 to Weds, Oct 9
4:30 to 6pm at Christ Church

Benefits from knowledge and understanding of the Enneagram can include, yet are not limited to:

  • Identify unconscious belief, thinking and behavior patterns that always seem to trigger unwelcome reactions and impact your quality of life.  Discover Soul-inspired alternatives and move beyond the triggers.
  • Discover latent talents, gifts, abilities, and chrisms which can help speak to your purpose in life today and assist in discerning God’s Will and Calling for the future.  How else can you serve God and the world?
  • Assist in further clearing your emotional core of beliefs and reactions that interfere with experiencing more joy, peace, and a sense of deep fulfillment and purpose.
  • Further illuminate your basic God-given essence and goodness – and provide a modest roadmap to help live into some unfulfilled possibilities, including meeting all the challenging transitions still remaining.

Suggested contribution: $75 per person.  Scholarships are available.  Independent purchase of book “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” (about $16 plus shipping) and a $12 fee to take the Enneagram type assessment at the Enneagram Institute.

For more information see the “Frequently Asked Questions” section below.

About Richard Gibson
Richard is a trained spiritual director and a professional leadership coach.  He recently designed and led the well-received “Contemplative Practices in Challenging Times” for The Spirituality Center.  He began using the Enneagram in his coaching practice 20 years ago and with directees in spiritual direction 5 years ago.He can be reached at: 313/822-6148 or richardgibson@earthlink.net.

This is a highly acclaimed personality framework of 9 basic preferences or types.  The Enneagram has its origins in ancient traditions:  Christian, Judaism, Islam, Sufi, and others.  Significant contemporary figures that developed the 9-type circle model include:  G. I. Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and Claudio Naranjo.  Numerous other contemporary authors, including Helen Palmer, Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson, Richard Rohr, and Elizabeth Wagele, began publishing widely read books on the Enneagram in the 1980’s and 1990s.  Users, practitioners, and coaches of the Enneagram now cover the world.

Wide Applications
The Enneagram is widely used in business, government, and non-profits.  In business contexts, it is often used as a typology to gain insights into workplace interpersonal dynamics.  It is also applied effectively amidst the intensity of home, family life, and relationships. Especially prevalent in the 20th and 21st centuries are applications in spiritual contexts such as: a path towards transformation, discerning one’s unique interior essence, doing Soul work, and opening up to listening to God’s call.     In all contexts, it is regarded as a proven tool for increased self-awareness, self-understanding, and self-development. And there is “The Big Picture”--  From Richard Rohr:  “While self-discovery is important, it is not the Enneagram’s final objective.  The Enneagram’s purpose is to help us uncover the traps the keep us from living fully and freely as our True Self so that we will us our unique, authentic gifts for the good of others and the world."

Using the Resources of The Enneagram Institute
Founded by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Enneagram Institute is a superb resource for beginners, intermediate, and more advanced Enneagram learners.  I ask all registered participants to take 3 easy steps to prepare for our first session on Sept. 18
1.    Purchase Riso and Hudson’s book, “The Wisdom of the Enneagram”.  Go to their website https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/ or to Amazon.  We will use it in the Fall, Winter and Spring Enneagram offerings.  The cost is about $16 plus shipping.  It is well worth this addition to your bookshelf.  Please order it in time to at least scan the Preface and Table of Contents before we first meet on Sept 18.  We will only be using parts of it this Fall.

2.    Take the “The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator test (RHETI version 2.5) on line at https://www.enneagraminstitute.com.  (Unfortunately, we do not yet have a “promo code” to give you).  It costs $12.   It takes about 40 minutes to complete. As you respond to each item on the test, know that there are no right or wrong answers, none!   Immediately after completing the test, your email address will receive a full report.  I hope you feel comfortable sharing the confidential report with me.  If you have 2 or 3 types that are closely grouped, I’ll give you some pointers on how to discern which one is most who you are.  Read and study your profile. And bring it to our class regularly.   This is one of the most well-regarded and reputable Enneagram type tests in existence.  Your tailored report will be very informative and thorough.

3.    Once you have a sense of your type/preference, sign up for the Daily Type alert from the Institute.  It is a great way (it’s free!) to keep focused,and will provide much wisdom on your type and, most important, best practices in applying that wisdom on a daily basis.

Frequently Asked Questions
I’m just not sure I need more “self-awareness” tips.  Your thoughts?

Most Enneagram learners report that the understanding how to use the tool can go well beyond superficial “self-awareness tips”.  Whether it does is up to you, the learner.   I’d encourage you to see this as a “want to” for yourself, not another “need” or “have to”.  It’s flexibility allows a learner to easily “keep it light” or “take it deep”…whatever is most comfortable and helpful to you.

Is it legitimate?  In other words, does the Enneagram work?

“Yes”.  The most powerful case for the Enneagram’s helpfulness is the consistently high enthusiastic response (for over 50 years) of individuals all over the world who experience some combination of: greater clarity of purpose; improved relationships with others; a deeper sense of what their unique “Soul” is all about; and, perhaps more joy in knowing who they are, their gifts,  and what else they feel called to in life.

I don’t like to be “pigeon-holed” or categorized by these kinds of tools.  How is the Enneagram different?

Most of us find we have a preference for 1 of the 9 Enneagram types.   What is often missed is that we also have a great deal of flexibility insofar as each of us actually has some part of all 9 types already in us.  Because of that we can be more versatile, tapping into any type that we think is appropriate for a particular situation.  To quote Richard Rohr: “…[it is] a “dynamic system”…one that recognizes that humans are far too complex and nuanced to fit easily into simple categories; it supports the evolving, maturing human journey.”  This is an accurate and perceptive view from my perspective.  In fact, working with the Enneagram may free you from the boxes that are of your own creation!

It seems like there is a fair amount of over-statement and hyperbole when I read descriptions about “how great” the Enneagram is.  I’m concerned about that.

I understand your point. Yet, it is my experience that the Enneagram is one of the few self-assessment tools that can actually live up to expectations – especially when a learner takes full advantage of the resources offered them and brings a dedicated spirit.  In my 25 years of working with the Enneagram, I’ve never had a participant report a gap between the “marketing language” and what is offered them.  It really helps, as well, if the participant sees him or herself as a “life-long learner” regarding the Enneagram.

I know of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)   What’s the difference between that and the Enneagram?

Over the years I have found the MBTI to be a very helpful tool, as well.  Yet, for me and many others, the Enneagram takes me to a deeper level of self-awareness and self-understanding.  It also makes important distinctions (for each of the 9 types) between “healthy” and “unhealthy” behavior, beliefs, and values in a very supportive and yet objective way.  Generally speaking, many authorities believe the Enneagram tends more toward “nurture” while the MBTI leans towards “nature”.  The Enneagram is regarded as more holistic and the MBTI more analytical.  There’s more but that’s a start.

I’ve heard about the Enneagram from others.  I barely understand what it is about.  Do I need to “study up” before I decide to “sign up”?  

Not at all.  Bring “where you are” right now.  If you have some skepticism, bring that as well as an open mind and an open heart.  If you have some doubt about your ability to absorb and use the information, you can relax about that and know that you’ll be with others on their own Enneagram journey.  The basics are fairly straightforward.  We’ll use a lot of visuals, group discussion, and reading to help each other along.  Come and try it out!

I’ve studied the Enneagram on and off for some years.  I know my type/preference.  What could I receive from signing up?

That’s great.  We’re offering 3 sets of workshops in 2019-2020.  The first is focused on you.  The second set, in the Winter is focused on your relationships, and the third set, in the Spring, focusing on you, your spiritual journey and your relationship to God.  I’d hope the first set will be a good reinforcement and affirmation of what you already know.  The second and third set will, hopefully, be a welcome further exploration into understanding and applying the wisdom of the Enneagram .

I welcome additional questions at any time.  Call me or email me at: Richard S. Gibson, 313/822-6148, richardgibson@earthlink.net.  Never any “sales pressure” whatsoever.