Enlivening My Practice: Confessions of a Certified Enneagram Professional

June 1, 2015 | By Sheryl Cohen, PhD

I had been one of those fortunate few that looked forward to going to work most mornings, enjoying the mysteries and intensity of a private psychotherapy practice. Since my licensure as an independent practitioner 30 years ago, I had focused my continuing education efforts on digging into a few areas deeply like trauma work and couples therapy.

My interest in the interface between the psychological and the spiritual had a history longer than my professional history. The Enneagram study fit nicely as both an answer and an exploration for myself personally as well as for interested clients. Because I live in a community rich with Certified Enneagram Teachers whom I could send clients for typing and studying, I felt no need to become an Enneagram teacher or learn how to run Narrative panels.

The Professional Track changed all that. Working steadily (if not slowly!) toward certification added an intentionality and rigor to my sessions. Developing my own style and content of a typing protocol revealed both my strengths and weaknesses as a therapist. Learning how to use the damn technology to send interviews for supervision was a major victory over my technophobia.

Being in training with fellow seekers and learners is always a heartening experience for me. Doing this with other Enneagram learners offers an intimacy and a poignancy that reminds me why I entered the field. It is unlike any other learning environment I’ve been in. All three centers of intelligence are ENGAGED: the mind, the heart and the belly centers all come alive and inform. I am part of a community that feels sacred without any kind of prayer book or dogma.

The feedback that I have received from both group and individual supervision has made me a better therapist and allowed me to approach my work in some new and enriching ways. I’d like to think that this benefits both my clients and myself.

Being a healer in solo practice can be a lonely experience for many. Becoming involved with the ESNT community and training to become certified invites you to renew your own sense of mission and purpose in the company of good, like- minded learners. It is unparalleled in its intellectual curiosity, comprehensive in its teaching in all three centers of intelligence, and embracing in creating a sense of community among all the learners, teachers included.

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