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The Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition

The Narrative Tradition teaching method offers a unique and personally transformative experience of the Enneagram.

By listening to representatives of each Enneagram type share their personal stories and reveal their particular inner worlds and realities, you can discover how to recognize personality differences from direct experience, rather than simply learning about the Enneagram from a particular “authority.”

The Narrative Tradition promotes an open exploration of each personality type. In our view, there is no better way to explore, learn and teach than through this interactive method of panel interviews. Through a sophisticated enquiry method, the Narrative Tradition demonstrates the types, their struggles, dilemmas, strengths and separate paths of development. The types continuously teach us about themselves at ever deepening levels of awareness, and we learn from exploring with them.

Ultimately, the Enneagram is an “inside job” of determining your type and coming to know and understand your own focus of attention, core beliefs, coping strategies and path of development. The value of the Enneagram does not come mainly from identifying your type based on external behaviours, but mainly from understanding how behavioural patterns relate to each type’s focus of attention, motivation and personal experience. The active role each participant plays in noticing his or her own patterns helps create conscious awareness, which leads to conscious conduct.

The Narrative Tradition recognizes that implicit non-cognitive learning is at the heart of what we know about the world of relationships and meaning. We cannot fully understand the motivations, inner maps and integration of the psychological and transpersonal worlds without direct personal experience.

The panel interviews bring the Enneagram alive through meaningful conversation and insights. They are set within a rich context of self-observation practices, practical exercises for each type, directed meditations, movement exercises and facilitated interactions between the types.

Helen Palmer and David Daniels, M.D., are co-founders of Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition and Enneagram Worldwide. They created the Enneagram Professional Training Program (EPTP) in 1988. The foundational course is the Enneagram Intensive, offered as a stand-alone workshop or as the first section of the new Enneagram Narrative Curriculum. This is the most profound way to begin to experience the Enneagram in depth.

Self-discovery and self-expression are fundamental aspects in each participant’s path of development. The intelligent expression of body, heart and mind can best be grasped by direct energetic experience involving interactions and practices. The Narrative Tradition’s method of enquiry is further enhanced through explicit cognitive learning and written materials, both of which heighten clarity, facilitate discussion and are an important part of our trainings.

Acceptance and understanding often come from appreciating what something is not. Our teachings in the Narrative Tradition are not about history per se, although each type has its own history. The teachings do not refer to ancient roots or transmission, and there is no spiritual leader, oracle of knowledge or specific lineage attached to these teachings other than the grassroots philosophy of self-discovery.

See free videos of the nine Enneagram types

The London Enneagram Centre is an affiliate of Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition.

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