The Enneagram is a system for comprehensively assessing your personality type. Many people would be familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality testing, often used in the workplace, which classifies each of us into sixteen personality types based on four dichotomies. In recent times the Big Five character assessment, based on the 5 key traits of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, has been a popular self assessment tool. The Enneagram, however, provides a much broader and versatile personality assessment.
What makes the Enneagram unique is that, as well as promoting self-understanding through personality typing, it also explains the ‘why’ behind our traits and behaviours and provides a map for future growth and development.
While relatively new to Australia in it’s current form, the Enneagram dates back thousands of years to early Asian, Middle Eastern and Celtic cultures. The modern version was developed in recent times in the US by Don Riso and Russ Hudson who established the Enneagram Institute.
Businesses use the Enneagram to gain insights into team dynamics and improve working relationships. Some people use it in their spiritual growth as a pathway to enlightenment. Individuals can use it to increase Emotional intelligence (EQ) through better understanding the relationship they have with themselves and how they interact with others.
As a counsellor, I find it to be an excellent tool for improving communication and conflict resolution and in promoting healthy personal growth. The Enneagram helps us identify our response patterns to situations, what drives and motivates us, and our fears and avoidance behaviours. This information is an important ingredient in any mentoring or coaching process.
There are different schools of thought among Enneagram teachers, therefore their ideas on some theoretical aspects are not always in agreement. In Australia there are now local trainers who probably bring a unique local perspective, though the basic premises are still the same.
Click on this link for a brief and simplified explanation of the Enneagram that I have used with adolescents and parents.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I do not claim to be an Enneagram trainer. However, I am an experienced therapist who uses the principles of the Enneagram to help clients become more intuitive about their personal style, to promote more effective growth and change.
For information about the Enneagram, training and formal assessment, please check the following links: