Mike Cohen, mediation coach, Enneagram coach and friend of ours here at Continuum Healing, will teach Using the Enneagram in Relationships in Michigan April 3. If you’ve attended Micah’s workshops (or not), this class will be a great opportunity to learn how to put it to use in your personal relationships and shift from conflict to connection. Here’s a story Mike shared about how the Enneagram helped this couple.
“Our relationship is just not working,” she said mournfully. “I think we are struggling to communicate,” he assessed. “I don’t understand WHY you say such hurtful things,” she complained, ratcheting up the energy in the conversation. “I could say the same about YOU,” he retorted angrily.
A thick sense of despair hung over my initial mediation session with this long-time couple. They clearly loved each other…and they were driving each other bonkers!
As I began describing the Enneagram, the mood in the room slowly shifted into curiosity and a sense of wonder. Perhaps there was more to the story than this couple originally thought.
The Enneagram is a well-grounded personality type system that allows for deep and profound understanding of self and others. The shift came as they began to view their relationship through the lens of the nine Enneagram types. Here’s a very brief overview (from www.enneagraminstitute.com).
Both partners quickly discovered they resonated with one specific type. This wasn’t hard, as each type has its own values and expectations, decision-making and thinking patterns and argument and conflict resolution styles. At its core, each type has its own unique motivation.
Further conversation allowed us to see that many of the things that were driving each of them nuts were tied to a particular pattern of behavior clearly predicted and described by the teachings of the Enneagram. One pattern that was creating confusion and conflict was the way his Type 8 (Challenger) personality was overpowering her Type 9 (Peacemaker) personality. This caused her to react by being overly agreeable, then resistant.
The mood shifted as we discussed how each of the nine types have truly wonderful, as well as profoundly annoying, qualities – many of which are happening unconsciously. While it may seem the other is doing it on purpose, they may in fact have no awareness at all.
Our ongoing exploration of the Enneagram led to a gradual de-mystifying of their relationship. Over time each partner began to relax their unconscious assumption that the other should see the world as they do. What a relief! Now they could really see and understand each other in a new way and through more compassionate eyes.
Over time this couple reported decreased reactivity, a healing of accumulated hurts and relaxing of longstanding grudges. This allowed for greater compassion, conversation and more skillful and loving behavior and conversations.
Truly, the Enneagram is a powerful tool for building more resilient, compassionate and fulfilling relationships. While this example took place within an intimate relationship, the Enneagram is equally as potent a tool within the domains of friendship, work, family and parenting.
Find more information or register for the class here.
About Mike Cohen: Since 2002, Mike Cohen has coached hundreds of clients to take more effective and fulfilling action in the domains of work, parenting, friendship and intimate relationships. A Certified Integral, Somatic and Enneagram Coach, Mike has 14 years experience using the Enneagram with his coaching clients. Mike’s coaching, training and mediation programs offer a place in which clarity is gained, commitment is generated, fears are faced, obstacles are overcome, relevant skills are built and the capacity to lead is cultivated. In 2005 he completed a 100-hour certification as an Enneagram practitioner. Mike began teaching the Enneagram publicly in 2012. Mike lives in Boulder, CO. In his spare time he is an accomplished Kirtan artist and founder of the Kirtan Leader Institute. More info at www.MikeCohenKirtan.com.