The word ‘Enneagram’ comes from the Greek ennea gramma, which means ‘nine-sided figure.’ – it’s a nine-pointed star inside a circle. In the 21st century, the Enneagram refers to a system of personality study based on nine types of human motivation: key character traits that are found in many traditions and cultures. Today the Enneagram is used by many organisations to enable people to understand themselves and others in community.The main idea of the Enneagram is that we all have a central motivational pattern, like an axis around which our personality turns. This pattern, formed in early life, has helped us to manage the world in which we live. If though it becomes habitual, automatic, it can also limit us: it may distort the world and hide us from the higher awareness of what really is. The aim of understanding more about our motivational pattern(s) is to help us know ourselves better and to reconnect with our true self that lies deep inside, beyond mere personality.
The journalist and writer Michael Goldberg writes that:
“By becoming conscious of our mode of attention, we discover how our worldview is limited, and how it differs from those of others. We see how their journeys, their personal experiences are different; we begin to understand their point of view. We also discover that others share the same perspective as us, and we then begin to understand the meaning of the word ‘compassion,’ both for ourselves and for others.”
If you want to go on an Enneagram course ……
The Enneagram is not trademarked, so anyone can set up and run an Enneagram course. If you want an in-depth approach to the Enneagram, you should enquire whether your teacher has trained with one of the schools below. You can find other questionnaires and schools online, but they focus mainly on personality studies.
The main narrative tradition school is Enneagram Worldwide (Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition) whose main founders are Helen Palmer and David Daniels. They offer certification courses in the USA www.enneagramworldwide.com
The other narrative tradition school offering qualifications in the Enneagram (in English) in Europe is Enneagram Training UK and Ireland. Enneagram Training workshops in the UK for 2019-2020 include:
Growth with the Subtypes 29 November-1 December 2019
Typing Process Training workshop 21-22 March 2020
Intensive Growth Journey 3-7 April 2020
Foundations of Spiritual Awareness 26-28 June 2020
The Enneagram Institute operates in a more didactic tradition, but has excellent credentials. Its main founders are Don Riso and Russ Hudson, https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/ and it also offers a certification programme.
To find out more about the Enneagram, visit:
www.enneagramalive.com – gives information about all traditions of the Enneagram and details of events in the UK.
www.meetup.com/enneagram-alive-sw – gives information on activities in all the Enneagram schools in the UK and Ireland. You need to join Meetup (free!) in order to get the information, but it is a reputable platform site which we have researched carefully.
There are also Enneagramalive local groups in South West, London, South East, North West (Manchester), East Anglia, West Midlands, Dublin (see also www.enneagram.ie ). These organise events and study groups in their areas. This initiative is growing as we speak, so if there is not yet an EnneagramAlive group in your area, contact Enneagramalive through the website and they will put you in touch with like-minded people in your region.
See also my workshops page for details of the Enneagram workshops I run, or email me to talk more about what the Enneagram might be able to do for you. firstname.lastname@example.org