Why are people the way they are? What makes them do the things they do? Those questions have always fascinated me. I think that’s what really drives me to write fiction. I also love systems and seeing how one interfaces or overlaps with another. As a result, I’ve been studying and exploring psychology for most of my life, along with sociology, mythology, dreamwork, art therapy, the creative process, neuroscience, Eastern religion, and too many other areas to enumerate.
I was introduced to the Enneagram in the 1990s and began using and teaching it in 1995 when I was a substance abuse counselor. It has been the most consistently valuable and reliable tool I’ve ever come across, and I’ve witnessed the powerful and profound impact it’s had in so many people’s lives. I’ve taught introductory and advanced courses on the Enneagram and co-developed ENNEA-JOURNALING: Writing for Transformation with Elizabeth Libby. We co-presented on that topic at the International Enneagram Conference in 2001. We co-presented at the 2003 conference on the topic of The Creative Process and the Enneagram. I’ve also had two articles published in the Enneagram Monthly.
Several years ago, I developed and taught a series of long-term intensive courses combining the Enneagram and the chakras, beginning with The Vertical Path course. In addition to the Enneagram and Ennea-Journaling classes, I’ve also taught other journal writing classes and conducted workshops on the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Inventory), the creative process, Mind Mapping, and taming your inner gremlin. I presented “Using the Creative Process at Mid-Life” and “The Spiritual Journal: Tracing the Path with Heart” to local women’s groups. In the early 1990s, I produced a monthly newsletter, Avalanche: A creative collision of inquiring minds, and from 2000-2003, a quarterly newsletter, Soul Cycling: Traveling toward wholeness.
As a Type 8 with a strong 7 wing, it isn’t really in my constitution to simply accept a current body of wisdom, but I don’t automatically reject it, either. In terms of the Enneagram, I’ve had the very good fortune of working with a diverse group of individuals, both one-on-one and in groups, some of them over a considerable period of time. I’ve paid attention to what seems to fit and what doesn’t. Rather than force an issue, I’ve tried to look deeper in order to discover what the dynamic might actually be. As a result, while my views in many areas are consistent with the majority of teachers and writers, they differ significantly in other areas. For example, I don’t think Type 6 is the only type that has two variants (commonly referred to as phobic and counter-phobic); I’ve found the same to be true for Types 3 and 9. Not only has this been borne out by my observation and work with individuals of those types, it makes sense systemically and structurally.
I also have a particular interest in seeing how the Enneagram interfaces with other approaches, systems, theories, and processes. Looking at the creative process through the lens of the Enneagram was very enlightening and gave me a greater appreciation for and understanding of both. That’s the kind of thing I’ll be doing more of. I hope what you read here answers a question or two, provides a tiny bit of insight, or at least gives you an occasional chuckle.
I am forever grateful to Elizabeth Libby for her insight and her collaboration on all the work we have done together.