I believe that every person is a unique, complex being with reactions and responses that are impacted by many forces both internal and external. It may seem strange, then, that I would find such interest in a personality typing tool that, to some, can be used to place people in confined boxes or “types.” Instead of viewing the Enneagram as a static grid for typing and labeling people, though, I view it as a living matrix of energy that flows through human consciousness. Each person is born with a strong connection and certain rapport with one specific part of this living matrix-their personality drive.
This is key: YOU are not your personality drive. Your drive is simply a force that drives YOU (your thoughts, feelings, and ways of relating to yourself and others) if left unnoticed and unattended. I work to help people notice it and attend to it with the purpose of getting back in the driver’s seat, if you will, in their life. Not to get out of “the car” entirely, but to harness the power of that moving vehicle (your drive) to take them in directions that they want to go in life instead of just being “along for the ride.”
Since our perceptions are often what’s reality to us and since our personality drive plays a key role in determining those perceptions, discovering one’s drive is an invaluable tool for changing one’s reality-that is, changing one’s life. And that’s why people come to therapy in the first place: to change something about their life through healing and growth. Therapy’s purpose of providing a space and relationship for healing and growth, therefore, provides a powerful setting to work with the Ennegram.
Because I don’t believe that any healing or growth path-including psychotherapy- is “one size fits all,” awareness of a client’s personality drive is helpful to both client and therapist. Some clients choose to use the Enneagram as integral to their work and others don’t. I simply introduce it in the initial sessions and ask clients to take a short sorting test and let me know which drive seems to “fit” with their experience of themselves. I use this in work with individuals and couples.
There are many resources on the Enneagram, but the ones I work with most are from Riso & Hudson’s Enneagram Institute (www.enneagraminstitute.com), Daniels & Price, and Concept Synergy.
Contact: Metta Sweet Johnson, LCSW