Enneagram Practice Group – What are we practicing?

#2 in our series on starting an Enneagram Group

One of the ways Enneagram groups “practice” learning about the Enneagram, is to have “type panels”.

A type Panel is where those people who think, or know they are a particular type, sit together as a panel, and describe what it is like to be a type 3, type, 4 or whatever chosen panel type. There are many examples of this available on YouTube. A professionally presented  example of this is available from www.conscious.tv and their nine one hour shows are currently available to view on Sky 192. (Rosemarie and I are both featured; the six and the four panels..)

The Panel can be very effective when facilitated by a knowledgeable facilitator. Especially in highlighting when a person is sitting in the wrong groups and displays characteristics that are incongruent with the rest of the group. That of course has to assume that the bulk of the panel are the type they claim to be. Strange is it would seem, there are many “wannabe” types due to the over glamorisation of certain aspects of a type, and the poor characterisation of other types.

The other downside of panels, as the way of “practicing the Enneagram”, is that what get practiced, can become our dominant personality type. In the Riso-Hudson insight approach, we are working with our dominant type, to become free of its habitual patterns of behaviour. Of course being a healthy type 2, is probably better than an unhealthy type 2, but actually, what drives the unhealthy behaviour, is already our identification with the healthy type 2 behaviours. In other words, our drive to be a particular aspect of being—whether a Loving Two, a Strong Eight or a Responsible Six etc. In itself, the problem, and the solution is not in that direction.

That is not the same as seeing the truth of our drive. We are not denying , that is what we are doing, but as a practice, we will be better served, if we can catch ourselves in the act of our normal habitual drives—breath and stay close to ourselves, allowing something new, different or unknowing to arise in the moment.

So we a re not suggesting panels are bad– we utilise them ourselves in many of our workshops. What we are proposing, is that as will all insights, they can be more or less helpful at certain stages of learning and understanding. This series of blogs will offer a suggestion for how you might approach this form of enquiry.

Being part of a practice group, without attending a formal Enneagram course, may ,or may not fulfil participants ambitions for finding their type. It will however, provide valuable insights and material for eventually fulfilling that aim, and more importantly, actualise what it is to work with the Enneagram as a personal development approach.