What is the Enneagram and Why Do I Need to Know About it?

The Enneagram has been making the rounds in recent years, and I have participated in some trainings and read a few books about it. I find it to be a useful tool or structure for personal and relational growth, and it’s worth looking into. To get you started, I’ll give you a few of my thoughts on it…

First, the name: “ennea” means nine and “gram” means figure. Thus, enneagram means nine-sided figure. The enneagram is formed by the lines that connect nine different personality types. The types are designated by their number as opposed to a name, which keeps each type neutral. For example, a “three” personality type doesn’t elicit any emotional response whereas an “achiever” personality type can have a negative or positive connotation. So, the enneagram is made up of types one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. A person’s type is their perspective through which they view the world… think of it as a "lens."

I’m not going to take the time here to write about each type because there are other websites that go into excellent detail about them. What I will say is that finding your type is NOT where the enneagram ends – it’s where it BEGINS! The whole point of the enneagram (and what I find most compelling) is that we are not supposed to stay stuck in our type, but, rather, we are to move between all types as needed. This is a dynamic structure that encourages growth and change.

Further, to fully know your own type you actually have to know five of the types. Here’s where it can seem complicated, but stay with me! You have your main number: your "lens." That main number is connected to two other numbers (see the figure). If the main number is the "lens," the two numbers connected to that lens are the modes of operation: a safe mode and a stress mode. So, now you have three numbers to describe yourself. To make it even more nuanced, you have two wing options. The wing is the number immediately to the left and right of your main number. For example, the wings of a type 1 personality are 9 and 2. Now you have five numbers to describe yourself!

Learning the enneagram can feel like trying to take a sip of water from a fire hydrant at first. Don’t be intimidated! It really is a lot of information to take in, so give yourself some time to digest it. You will absolutely need to go over the types multiple times for the information to stay with you. And let me encourage you to stick with it because I believe it’s worth it!

The enneagram identifies more than strengths and weaknesses – it identifies our motivators. When we know why we do what we do we have greater understanding and compassion for ourselves and for others. Ultimately this understanding can lead to change – and that’s really good news! The enneagram provides language to discuss some hard-to-reach subject matter. This is what makes the enneagram worth knowing.

If you are interested in learning more about the enneagram, feel free to reach out to me or to Mat Yelvington who is trained to give the WEPPS enneagram assessment.

Also, Mat and I are leading an enneagram workshop for couples on Nov. 2nd and would love to see you and your spouse there! Click here for more information.

Questions? Feel free to email Mat or me!


Online Men's Group

Men, do you have a group of guys that you meet with that challenge you to be a better man?  Most men simply do not have the time or connection to be a part of such a group.  We want to help! Join an online community that of men that will be meeting regularly to discuss the challenges they face in their jobs, marriage, family, etc.

Individuals will be grouped into communities of 6-8 guys. The great thing about this community is you do not have to leave your home to participate! This group will meet online in the evening after you have put the kids to bed and you have some time to connect with other guys who are in the battle with you.  

This group will be led by Mat Yelvington, a small business owner, entrepreneur, and coach. Mat has been helping people reach their goals in life for the past 20 years.

Email Mat Yelvington for more information or to sign up.

Think Happy Thoughts

When you read the word “family,” what feelings do you have? Some of you relaxed your faces and experienced joy, while others just got a knot in your stomachs as you felt the anxiety creep in. I want you to take a moment right now and figure out what you’re feeling. Seriously, stop reading and pay attention to what your body is telling you! I’ll wait…Ok, now that you know what you’re feeling, I’d like you to think about how satisfied you are with that feeling. Are you happy with your reaction or do you wish it were different?

Making Friends

The summer before I turned 6 years old, I moved from West Texas to Houston, and it was a little rough at first. Where I used to live, there were lots of kids to play with who lived on my street. We just walked to each other’s houses and ran around all day. At my new house, I knew nobody; and because it was summer, there was no way to meet anyone at school. I got super bored and lonely very quickly… like I said, it was rough !I used to ride my bike through the neighborhood looking for kids to play with; and even if I saw some, I was too embarrassed to just walk up and say, “Hi.”

Pillow Talk: Talking about Sex with Your Spouse

Sex. It’s one of the top three things that couples fight about within marriage. Why? I can think of at least two major contributing factors. The first is that sex is deeply personal and vulnerable. And the second is that very few people are actually taught how to talk about this sensitive topic in a healthy manner. If the couple happens to be Christian, then the chances are even slimmer that they’ve learned how to communicate their sexual desires or concerns to one another.

Adulting: Navigating Friendships

We spend lots of time trying to figure out how to do romantic relationships, but what about friendships? We have a lot more friends than we do romantic interests (or at least we should), so it makes sense to spend some time figuring out what a healthy adult friendship looks like.I’m going to give you a completely oversimplified way of categorizing every single person on the planet into only two categories - yes, just two categories for 6 billion people. Here they are - safe and unsafe.

Knowing Your SELF

In all of my experience as a psychotherapist, I can honestly say that I have never encountered a client who was not wrestling with some aspect of intimacy. Intimacy means a deep knowledge, which facilitates understanding and connectedness. Whether the client’s presenting problem was focused on decision making regarding career development or coping with extreme trauma, each person I have worked with has had to explore their knowledge of and connection to self and others.

Three Steps to Recovering from Relational Conflict

In any relationship, conflict is inevitable. Many couples want to know if there is a right way and a wrong way to resolve conflict. Relationship researcher, John Gottman, says the way couples fight is not as important to marital happiness as the way they make up. Gottman’s more than 25 years of observing and studying couple interaction has shown that three components of making up can make a huge difference in marital satisfaction.