Aug 16, 2021
Whitney and James Owens join the show to talk about the origins and usefulness of the Enneagram. They explain how identifying your Enneagram type will be beneficial in your life and the importance of understanding how this impacts your clinical work. Understanding relationship patterns within the lens of the Enneagram will allow the therapeutic relationship to thrive as the clinician helps the client or clients see their own personality within the relationship. Tune in as we chat about meeting treatment goals and having success in work and relationships through the Enneagram.
Whitney Owens (MA, LPC) and James P. Owens (MDiv, MA) are helping professionals with a passion for empowering others.
Whitney is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Private Practice Consultant. She is the owner of a group private practice, Water’s Edge Counseling, in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to running her practice, she offers individual and group consulting through Practice of the Practice. She hosts a weekly podcast called the Faith in Practice Podcast to help clinicians start and grow their practices with a faith-based background. Whitney has presented multiple times at professional counseling and practice conferences throughout the United States.
James is an Enneagram teacher and founder
of Working the Enneagram, LLC. He received
his Enneagram certification through the Enneagram Spectrum
Training with Jerome Wagner. James holds a Master of
Divinity, as well as a second Master's degree in Christian
Practice. As both a pastor and teacher, James helps churches, small
businesses, and other organizations understand how to utilize the
Enneagram to positively impact their members and missions. James
has been interviewed on several podcasts and has spoken to multiple
groups on the Enneagram specifically in conjunction to
counseling/psychotherapy practice and clinical work.
Whitney and James have been married since 2007 and together they are the parents of two beautiful girls.
You can spend many hours, days, and years understanding the Enneagram. One of the unique things about the Enneagram is it expresses the motives behind people's behaviors. As a therapist, we have to know ourselves to do good work. If you know your Enneagram, it helps you understand your motives in therapy. Whitney is Enneagram type 1, which means she is the reformer and is very controlling. When Whitney started as a therapist, she wanted to know exactly what to say at all times. Since Whitney knows that about herself, she found ways not to control the sessions and not to control her clients.
The Enneagram will help identify the motives behind your actions. In addition, the Enneagram will assist you in determining your strengths and weaknesses and identify the ways you behave when you're doing very well and the ways you act when you're not doing so well. The system is not static; it's a dynamic system. The Enneagram acknowledges that we all are different when in stressful situations vs. happy and secure situations. James is a type 5; he can take on a leadership role when he is doing well. However, under stress, James tends to move towards the characteristics of type 7. As you learn your type and discover more about yourself, you'll identify the directions that you go in when you're doing well and doing not so well.
If you understand your client's Enneagram number, and they're sharing things going on in their life, then you can listen to where they're coming from to know where they're at. Clients might act like they're doing okay, but then they share something that's moving into other numbers that you know are not the healthy place for them. So, you can help clients bring their positive characteristics to the table. The Enneagram is a great way to evaluate your client's levels of emotional health. Each Enneagram type also has its own levels of functioning. As you become familiar with each type, you'll be able to see those characteristics in your clients.
Each Enneagram type has a deadly sin. So, you actually want to find the spiritual discipline that is the opposite of your sin. When you go into your root sin, you need to practice the opposite to find a healthy place. Here is a list of the deadly sins and what spiritual discipline will help you get to a healthy place:
- Type 1: Anger. You should practice serenity and letting go.
- Type 2: Pride. You should practice humility.
- Type 3: Deceit. You should practice authenticity.
- Type 4: Envy. You should practice balance.
- Type 5: Avarice. You should practice being non-attached.
- Type 6: Anxiety. You should practice courage.
- Type 7: Gluttony. You should practice sobriety.
- Type 8: Lust. You should practice innocence.
- Type 9: Complacent. You should practice action.
The Enneagram can allow you to help your clients with their relationships. The Enneagram is extremely helpful for marital counseling. Once you understand your partner's Enneagram, people can find a new appreciation and patience for their partner. When your clients understand their own number, it helps them understand how they interact with other people in their lives. Whitney says she does Enneagram work in her group practice. In fact, Whitney says they discuss their Enneagram types and how much they understand themselves during the interview process. Plus, knowing people's Enneagram types helps you appreciate your employees.
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Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast wherever you listen to it. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn, and Pinterest, “Like” us on Facebook.