Training therapists

“If a client’s mental [concerns] represent a conflict of disintegrated

personality constituents, then the unification of these constituents by

some systematic ideology, regardless of what that ideology may be,

would seem to be (an indispensable ingredient) for a successful therapeutic result”

(Duncan et al., 2014, p. 11; Rosenzweig,1939).

There are indications that the Enneagram contributes to therapy in ways that other models do not. Thousands of practitioners are using the enneagram worldwide with reports of it enhancing therapists’ and their clients’ self-awareness, promoting greater understanding between practitioner and client, explaining transference and counter-transference, explaining client issues in meaningful ways to the client that helps them integrate and feel whole, tailoring treatment, and overall enhancing the therapeutic relationship. The Enneagram can develop therapists’ self insight, self-analysis, self-refection, self compassion, self-integration and self-regulation. This will result in therapists who are most attuned, centred and present for their clients, and for themselves.

I am passionate about the Enneagram’s contribution to effective therapy and have therefore developed insight workshops for Therapists, Counsellors, Allied Health Professionals and Coaches.


Developing Therapists’ insight & contribution to effective therapy :

An introductory 2 day self-awareness and insight workshop for health professionals using the Enneagram

Sunday 21st April & Sunday 28th April, 2024 10am-4.30pm

(includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)

Venue: The insight Agency, 10-12 Logan Road, Woolloongabba, QLD.


Day One : A Map for understanding The Human Conditionyourself and others


Day One Learning Objectives : What you will take away…

1. Thinking differently – understanding a universal framework that helps organise your observations & thinking, and helps you make sense of yourself, the people around you, and your clients. Knowledge of the different Personality Developmental Pathways (PDP’s)

2. Feeling differently – feeling inspired about a method for deepening your self awareness, with compassion, and a new confidence about understanding motivations and behaviour

3. Doing differently – an invitation to practice self observation, self inquiry process for reflection and personal ownership

Day One Agenda:

Morning 10am-1pm (includes morning tea break)

    • Bringing our whole self & heart to our work

    • What is personality

    • What the Enneagram is, and is not

    • The Enneagram’s origins

    • Science behind the Enneagram

    • Evidence for the Enneagram’s efficacy in deepening our self-awareness & self-understanding, making sense of our lives

    • Temperament to Personality – A comprehensive map of human nature – our essential qualities and the 9 PDPs

LUNCH 1pm – 2.15pm (at Mr Badgers Cafe, Woolloongabba)


Afternoon 1.30pm – 3.30pm (includes afternoon tea break 3.)

    • The psychological elements that make up each of the 9 internal character structures

    • Understanding thinking, feelings and behaviour accurately,  awareness of the beliefs and motivations underlying behaviour

    • Determining our PDP accurately- Enneagram clinical typing assessments/interviews

    • Caveats for the Enneagrams ethical use

    • The power of self observation

    • The levels of personal development


Day Two: Deepening self-understanding


Day Two Learning objectives: What you will take away…

1.Thinking differently – Understand the importance of personality integration. Knowledge of your true nature, ego and shadow.  Insight into why you do what you do. Identifying the super powers you have as a therapist based on your personality. 

2. Feeling differently – empowered by increased self-awareness,  and knowing your ‘gift’ to others and your work. A feeling of self validation – I make sense.

3. Doing differently – an enhanced awareness of your attentional bias and how you can choose what you attend to – over time enhancing your ability to choose your responses, knowing many of your life strategies are automatic.

Day Two Agenda:

Morning 10am-12.30pm (includes morning tea break 11.15 – 11.25)

Your True nature and Ego

What are the 10 essential aspects of Personality? 

The first five aspects:

1. Your core beliefs

2. Your core motivation

3. Your attentional bias

4. Your self-identity/ego

5. Your shadow/blind spots

LUNCH 12.30 – 1.30pm (at Electric Avenue, Woolloongabba)


Afternoon 1.30pm – 4.45pm (includes afternoon tea break 3.15-3.30)

 The next five aspects:

6. Your core vulnerabilities

7. Your primary needs (and childhood unmet needs)

8. What triggers you

9. Your personality’s automatic strategies – including your primary defence mechanisms

10. Your essential qualities/virtues and growth

Includes exercises and dyad work  to explore these aspects


FUTURE WORKSHOP DATES to be arranged :

Deepening Self-Awareness

Know your personal growth path/potential 

Clinical applications for the Enneagram – day workshops and a week intensive

– including a LIVE PANEL of exemplars of each of the personalities – a facilitated panel of the 9 personalities to explore thinking, feeling and behavioural differences

Understanding The Couple D.N.A Method – for couple therapists


Workshop fee : $250 per DAY – includes morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea

PLUS, $100 for a private Enneagram Clinical Typing Assessment Interview – via zoom 45 mins (worth $250). I strongly suggest an interview prior to the workshops if you do not know your Enneagram PDP or if you are not sure….it will make the workshops more meaningful for you.

RSVP : or 0410 778 084 to register interest and get payment options.

10% of proceeds will be donated to Buy one Give One (B1G1) (The insight Agency is a Business for Good) – for every person who registers- a child gets food, water and a counselling session…so thank you!!

ONLY 12 places so if interested please apply by contacting me to discuss the training



Why train in the Enneagram? What can it add to our therapeutic work?

Research into what predicts effective therapy has consistently revealed that the factors one might think predict good outcomes for our clients, in fact, do not. As many of you would know, therapists use of an empirically supported treatment, length of experience, therapeutic orientation, professional development, training, or own personal therapy, all make no significant difference to therapists’ ability to produce good results for their clients (Duncan, 2010; Hubble, Duncan & Miller, 2007; O’Donovan & Dyck, 2001; Wampold, 2005). Research over the past 7 decades has consistently concluded that what IS most important in therapy is the therapist’s relational capacity. This capacity is primarily the result of:

a) the effect of the person of the therapist on the client.

The most effective therapists create a strong therapeutic alliance with their clients: They are those who know their personal characteristics, are self-aware, have the ability to self-observe and self-regulate, recognize the patterns in their own thinking and behavior (Norcross, 2010), focus on their awareness of, and response to, their own psychic processes and commit to their own personal growth (Duncan, 2010, Horvath, 2001). Those who have a clear assessment of how they come across to others, can adapt themselves, can self-assess accurately, can critically analyse their strengths and limitations in their work, and know their own transferences,  are most effective with their clients (Donati & Watts, 2005; Wampold, 2011).

b) the therapist’s understanding of, and responsiveness to, their client’s personality, and

c) the therapist’s ability to provide a systematic basis for achieving some sort of personality organisation or integration for their client. That is, unifying the various aspects of the client into an understandable whole (Duncan et al., 2014; Lambert & Barely, 2001; Wampold, 2011).

Overall, most effective therapy appears to rely on the therapist’s self-awareness, and their understanding of, and ability to integrate their own and their client’s personality (Behrends, 1986; Duncan et al., 2010; Hayes, Gelso & Hummel, 2011 Norcross, 2002; Rogers, 1957; Wampold, 2011). Therefore, the capacity of models of personality in the therapeutic context to enhance insight, and integrate personality is critical.

Granted this research there are two challenges to overcome

1. The challenge associated with developing insight

Although “the therapist is the most robust predictor of outcome of any factor ever studied”, and their personal impact on therapeutic change 6-9 times greater than any model or intervention (Hubble, 2010, p. 38; Norcross, 2010; Duncan, 2010), enhancing ‘the person of the therapist’ has been found difficult to teach (Green, 2004). Therapists need to own and manage unconscious reactivity that can negatively impact the therapeutic relationship (Bartlett, 2003; Nutt & Williams, 2008), yet, research has shown that people tend to be unaware of unconscious thoughts and motivations that drive their behaviour (Bargh & Morsella, 2008). Training programs for therapists were consistently found to be ineffective in their attempts to teach self-awareness, and therapeutic alliance building (Chrits-Christophs, Constantino, Boswell, Morrison, & MacEwan, 2013; Green, 2004; O’Donovan & Dyck, 2001; O’Donovan et al., 2005; Pompeo & Levitt, 2013). Guiffrida (2005) argued that although capacity for self-reflection was a key ingredient, as many as 50% of mental health practitioners in his counselling supervision programs were found to be ‘unreflective’. Sande, Goethals, and Radloff (1988) argued that people may be unconscious of self-information because they have access to so much information related to thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that they can be challenged in consolidating this evidence and noticing patterns (Vazire & Carlson, 2010). Overall, ways to develop therapists’ self-awareness, such as professional development, supervision, and clinical training, were found to be limited in their ability to enhance therapists’ self-insight and personal growth (Del Moro, 2012; Falkenstrom, 2012; Horvath, 2001; O’Donovan, Bain, & Dyck, 2005).

Update : I have been recently liaising with Harry Aponte In the USA, as I discovered he and a colleague developed a new training program they have been trialing called Person of the Therapist Training (POTT) (Aponte & Kissil, 2017), as there is clear recognition of the importance of developing therapists personal awareness and presence. See this Research Gate article for more information:,do%20the%20work%20of%20therapy.

2.Most personality models used in therapy are limited

During my PhD research I conducted a review of the leading personality models used in therapy, including the five factor model(FFM) (Costa & McCrae, 1987), Myers Briggs and the 16PF. What became apparent was that almost all personality models are trait based and have no underlying theories that could account for the beliefs and motivations underpinning the traits. It is fascinating that ‘personality’ is defined in a way almost all personality models don’t account for. Personality has been defined as the intra-personal pattern of traits, motivations, and core beliefs (Funder, 2007), and  “…a complex pattern of deeply embedded psychological characteristics that are largely nonconscious and not easily altered, expressing themselves automatically in almost every facet of functioning” (Millon, 1996, p. 4). Seeman (1983) states that personality consists of an integration of behavioural subsystems that transact interdependently to enhance an individual’s functioning. Personality research seeks to understand, predict, and categorise the psychological triad of thought, feeling, and behaviour, and account for individual differences.

Numerous personality researchers argue that simply identifying traits is insufficient because most models do not explain why and how traits configure with other aspects of personality, such as beliefs, values, and motivations, in understanding the whole of a person (Asendorpf, 2013; Boyle, 2008; Langston & Sykes, 1997; McAdams & Pals, 2006), and can’t explain how traits configured together in meaningful, predictable ways, in order to integrate personality. In support of this position, Asendorpf (2013) argued that “… if we wish to take the concept of personality seriously, a person-centred perspective is required where the unit of analysis is the person, not a trait … and a coherent explanation [is provided] that includes a person’s beliefs, values, and affective responses” (p. 4). McAdam & Pals (2006) argued for an optimal integrative model to enable a coherent explanation of personality.

A less well known model, yet one that is a closer fit to what Asendorpf (2013) and McAdams and Pals (2006) argued for, is the Enneagram system of personality. The Enneagram has capacity to enhance insight and integrate the differing aspects of a person into a meaningful whole.

So what is the Enneagram and how can it help?

The Enneagram is a theoretical system, based on centuries of observations, that describes 9 character orientations, personality ‘types’ or ‘personality developmental pathways’ (PDPs) (Daniel Seigel’s term (that I use) in his 2010 book The Mindful Therapist). The enneagram system is not pop psychology as those unaware of its depth can assume. It is a sophisticated, comprehensive map of the human condition. It not only describes clustering of traits per PDP, but also describes motivations and beliefs, and needs per PDP – with explanations for not only WHY the traits exist, but also explaining thinking, feeling, and behaviours that will result from those clustering of traits. 

The Enneagram has been in existence for centuries, initially regarded as spiritual wisdom pointing out peoples differing limitations or ‘vices’ that became barriers to psychological and spiritual growth. You could also say it describes and explains in depth 9 Ego states and the aspects of ourselves we repress – our blind spots and shadow. This is so critical – as its our egos that get in the way of Love. And most people do not know the structure of their Ego. Its hard to take ownership of what you don’t know about yourself and is unconscious. 

As mentioned the enneagram system is novel in comparison to other personality models that predominantly describe a person as a ‘clustering of traits’. Where is the spiritual in that understanding. It doesn’t  account for the basic fact that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts  We are not simply a clustering of dimensions of high to low in conscientiousness, openness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness.  Other per3osnality models do not have explanation of WHY the levels of traits exist as they do in a person and how they are internally structured. 

Each enneagram PDP has a set of core beliefs that directs a person’s attention and their sense of what they need to stay safe and loved in the world. This attentional bias becomes a habit, noticing some things in life and blocking out others (which become blind spots). Where attention goes, energy follows … so we develop a set of strategies that become automatic and unconscious, that limit us. These automatic strategies get in the way of making mature healthy decisions, using out head, heart and gut based on a range of ways of responding.

There are indications that the Enneagram contributes to therapy in ways that other models do not (Chestnut, 2013, Bartlett, 2003). Thousands of practitioners are using the enneagram worldwide with reports of it enhancing therapist’s and their client’s self-awareness, promoting greater understanding between practitioner and client, explaining counter-transference, explaining client issues in meaningful ways to the client, and tailoring treatment.

It has been proposed that if a client’s “mental [concerns] represent a conflict of disintegrated personality constituents, then the unification of these constituents by some systematic ideology, regardless of what that ideology may be, would seem to be (an indispensable ingredient) for a successful therapeutic result” (Duncan et al., 2014, p. 11; see also Rogers, 1957; Rosenzweig,1939).

Overall, It is argued that the Enneagram can help with the challenge in developing therapists’ self insight, self-analysis, self-refection, self compassion, self-integration and self-regulation. This model has been shown to help therapists understand their clients in ways that are meaningful and helpful, deepens the client’s insight, and enhance the therapeutic relationship.

For all these reasons I have developed insight workshops for Therapists, Counsellors and Coaches


Advanced Workshops for therapists –  Dates to be advised. 


The Ethical, Compassionate Application of the Enneagram in Therapy : A week intensive Program for therapists

    (please note : There will be an application process to enroll in the Program)


Days One and two

    • Applying the Enneagram in clinical practice

    • Enhancing the therapeutic alliance

    • Live panel of exemplars of each of the personalities – what works for each PDP in therapy, what might not

    • Discussion and cases– predicting client issues


Days three, four and five

    • Therapist’s insight into their own personality’s barriers/challenges with differing clients

    • Transference and counter-transference

    • Case studies – Contributing to accurate case formulations and treatment plans

    • Accurate Typing – The Typing Interview Method (I will offer ongoing supervision as this is a skill that takes development)