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  • Writer's pictureJessica Morgan McAtee

Enneagram Coaching is Not Therapy

Updated: Feb 20

People often misunderstand what Enneagram Coaching is. In some cases, they think they do not “need” it because they are not struggling with a mental health issue or major life problem. This is a terrible misunderstanding.

There has been a recent shift in the physical health industry from treating an existing issue to preventing it in the first place. We now know an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Smart people focus on healthy life-styles. They value the benefits of not smoking, sleeping well, lowering stress, eating well and exercise.

In the same way, Enneagram work can help to avoid major complications. It can improve our ability to cope with life, our marriages, our work and our approach to our personal endeavors. It will not guarantee that bad things won't happen, but it can lessen the negative effects and prevent us from suffering more than necessary when tragedy strikes.

Enneagram work is for people who are pro-active and looking to better their lives and relationships. It is similar to working out regularly, eating healthy, having a spiritual practice, living within a financial budget or spending time building relationships with loved ones.

It is a preventative tool to help point out blind-spots you have endured, currently face or will suffer in your life. Responsible people take initiative for their lives. They learn and prepare and set themselves up for success with good practices and habits (they are response-able). Enneagram relieves human suffering, especially of the self-imposed type.

Enneagram helps you deal with issues that you didn’t even know you had, but you do. Everyone of us has lots of learning we could do. In fact, many of the clients I work with in my coaching practice are licensed and practicing therapists! Several of my clients tell me that they get more out of Enneagram Coaching than they did from years of intensive therapy. It is a breath of fresh air, a positive approach and a hopeful enterprise.

It is guaranteed that if you haven’t done deep inner work before you are largely unaware of your motivations, messages, false narratives and the story or framework you are a prisoner to. Worse, there are people out there who have done work and can see your issues in plain sight. In this case, ignorance is anything but bliss. It is needlessly going around the same issues and struggles again and again and again. It's the metaphor of the Israelites going around the same mountain repeatedly while wandering in the desert.

Now, if you have had extensive therapy, worked in recovery or studied personality psychology in depth, perhaps you are more clued-in than the average person. However, that isn’t saying much. The average person is mostly unaware of themselves. Average is far from ideal. That is because most of our personality constructs are unconscious. It takes deliberate work to uncover what is hidden in our psyches.

In America, being someone of “average” health is not a compliment. It is less than optimal. Likewise, being someone who is “average” in their personality is not pretty. In fact, it is really messy.

Enneagram Coaching is not therapy. Therapy can be defined as treatment of a mental disorder. It is for those who are clinically “mentally-ill.” Mentally-ill people have diagnoseable disorders affecting their behavior, emotions or thinking. These interfere with their work, relationships, ability to be productive, adapt to change and cope with adversity.

Enneagram Coaching is designed to promote mental health. Do you see the difference? Mental health is the primary basis for our emotions, thought patterns, communication, resilience, faith, hope, self-worth and ability to grow and learn. It is critical for our overall happiness and success. It heavily affects our relationships, personal development and emotional well-being. It enables us to live with meaning and contentment. It allows us to contribute to our communities and to human flourishing as a whole.

Most of my clients do not have mental health disorders. They are simply understanding themselves better so they can live their best life. The wisdom they learn from Enneagram Coaching can alleviate some of their issues, improve their relationships and sharpen their ability to be productive and successful in their personal life-goals. They learn to self-regulate, gain confidence, calm their fears, notice their patterns and make better decisions. They show up in more intentional ways and deepen their spiritual connections.

If you are interested in personal Enneagram Coaching, I would love to hear from you. Each 60 minute phone session will uncover significant elements about you. It is affordable and accessible. We can work on specific goals or developing a general understanding of your constructs. You won't be the same afterwards!

If you are interested in Christian Enneagram application, you can check out my book, Enneagram Grace.

Be the Light,


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