Have you ever heard of the Enneagram? From church groups to corporate development, the Enneagram is a tool used to help find your personality type. Increasingly, church groups are adopting the tool in their small groups and leadership development. But what if, like so many personality systems out there, the way we understand the type numbers are filtered through a particular gaze? Jessica D. Dickson joins me for this episode to discuss decentering white hegemony in the Enneagram, in search of a more embodied and holistic perspective of self. Jessica challenges the implicit bias and assumptions wrapped within “typing” individuals. Your community, environment, and who you even learn the Enneagram from will impact how you perceive yourself through the tool.
“…so the Type-8…the reason it’s taught often like a white male with a lot of power, is because the Type-8’s focus is about who has power, are they wielding it well, my autonomy, who to keep it, how to make sure I don’t get it. There’s a focus on me controlling my destiny and having an impact on the world. That wasn’t really encouraged in community, especially white evangelical community…but you can serve. Twos (2) can serve. A lot of women who come to the Enneagram through white evangelicalism think they are a twos (2s) at first.
The reason why I (Jessica) don’t recommend tests is because often when we are testing there’s an ideal we are holding of ourselves, and it takes a good amount of self-reflection and the ability to be real with our selves, to be vulnerable, that it takes to answer that binary test with a level of honesty. Test also have bias, so its description of Types will describe the people that they know.”
We end our discussion on the Enneagram as a tool unto anti-racism, and how we may wrap embodiment into our discovery of self. Enjoy!
Jessica Denise Dickson is a life empowerment coach who teaches and coaches for the reclamation of our full humanity, equity, justice, and freedom through the intersections of the Enneagram, antiracism, and embodiment. She does this in one-on-one coaching, in groups and workshops, and with organizations. To this work, Jessica brings a Master’s degree in Counseling, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a career counseling certificate, and embodiment training with several teachers. She also has over 15 years of experience in diversity education; 9 years as an Enneagram student and teacher; years recruiting, training, and providing professional development for staff; and a commitment to her own personal and professional growth . . . and more. She believes when we do this work, we live more authentically with self-trust, self-safety, and fully-embodied freedom. When we do this, we change the world.
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